With the Grateful Dead wrapping up its final reunion tour, everyone seems to want to get in on the end of the band’s long, strange trip. Ferocious tie-dyed fans (both the aging originals and the Gen Y throngs who started flooding concerts long after the death of founding band member Jerry Garcia back in 1995) snapped up all the tickets in less than an hour when they went on sale back in February.
The show, featuring the surviving members — Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzman, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, a.k.a “the core four,” supported by Bruce Hornsby, Phish vocalist and guitarist Trey Anastasio and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti — opened this week in Santa Clara, Calif. to glowing reviews. And it’s headed for its last hurrah at Chicago’s Soldier Field over the July 4th weekend.
The event, which has been promoted as the last time the four original members will perform together live, has gotten brands interested, too. Some are predictable: Ben & Jerry’s may have started making Cherry Garcia, its first band-related flavor, back in 1987, but it hasn’t stopped showering the band with love since.
Others are less so, like the ramble-on roses from FTD, which partnered with Peter Shapiro and Madison House Presents, the tour’s promoters, to hand out close to 50,000 tie-dyed roses, celebrating one of the band’s most famous symbols. The flowers -- in a mix of yellow, blue, green, purple or pink -- are available to the rest of the world, too, on the company’s Web site.
And then there are U.S. Blues cupcakes, from Baked by Melissa. To celebrate the band’s 50th year, the New York-based bakery is cooking up red, white and blue tie-dyed mini cupcakes for $1 each.
But the biggest winner is probably brand Chicago: Orbitz is reporting that the city is the No. 1 destination for Fourth of July travelers this year. The online travel booking company says hotel bookings are up 112% from last year’s holiday weekend, at prices that are 77% higher.