WGN at 75: Jerry Garcia & Grateful Dead’s last concert


CHICAGO – Just as they had for decades before, fans of the iconic band made their way to the “Windy City” to watch them perform at Soldier Field on a pair of warm summer days.

Little did they know it would be the end of an era for the Grateful Dead.

Jerry Garcia, the band’s co-founder, main songwriter, vocalist, and lead guitarist, would play his final concerts on Saturday, July 8, and Sunday, July 9, 1995, in Chicago. He would die of a heart attack one month later on August 9 in Forest Knolls, California.

This was the last performance for the Grateful Dead as they decided to disband after Garcia’s death. Since then, there have been reunions with surviving members along with other spinoff groups.

It was the last stop on a 16-show tour of east coast and midwest cities, with the two performances at Soldier Field bringing it to a close. Die-hard fans in the seats at the stadium had the privilege of seeing Garcia’s & the band’s final performances those two evenings.

On Sunday, the encore performances of “Black Muddy River” and “Box of Rain” closed out not only a show but an era for the band that started performing in 1960.

WGN News was on the scene for the Grateful Dead weekend at Soldier Field, and we’ve found some of our coverage from June 1995 as we celebrate Channel 9’s 75th anniversary.

You can watch this latest installment of “WGN at 75” from January 17’s WGN Morning News in the video above.

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