Two Years Ago Today ‘Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead’

By Stu Kelly / July 5, 2017

On July 5, 2015 the core four members of the Grateful Dead played their final show together, joined by by Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio as well as keyboardists Jeff Chimenti and Bruce HornsbyPhil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart and Bob Weir previously decided they wanted to close out the encore with their ballad “Attics Of My Life.” With little preparation, especially since the core four members live so far away from each other, there was a lot of speculation from Anastasio about who would sing each part since the song had a three-part harmony.  

In an interview with Guitar World Anastasio outlined how the final version of “Attics” came together.

“Here’s one that even Bobby [Weir] and Phil [Lesh] don’t know. The three of us sat down to discuss what to play and Phil said, ‘All I know is, I want to end with ‘Attics of My Life.’ I’m like, ‘Great, I’m crying already, but when are we gonna learn the harmonies?’ Because that song modulates and it’s a capella three-part harmony! I offered to write a chart and they were like, ‘That’s kind of geeky. We’ll figure it out.’ We sat down at a piano and it was cool but I knew everyone would forget his parts and lo and behold, we tried it again and nobody was taking Jerry’s melody.”

These guys don’t rehearse much because they don’t really hang out, so we had five days for five shows and never got to ‘Attics.’ Phil said ‘We’ll sing it in soundcheck every day.’ Soundchecks came and went, and we still didn’t know it. So I called [Trey collaborator] Jeff [Tanski] and said, ‘I need an exact transcription of the album version.’ I didn’t even tell the guys. I just handed a copy to Bruce: ‘This is your part and this is my part. I’ll hit the highs and the other guys will fill in the notes.’ I was reading off the chart because I wanted someone to sing the melody!”

Watch fan shot footage the final version of “Attics” with photographs of the Grateful Dead, former members of the band, and the portraits of the Fare Thee Well lineup shot by legendary bay area photographer Jay Blakesberg

About the author

Stu Kelly