ITHACA, N.Y.—Former Grateful Dead members Bob Weir and Mickey Hart returned to Barton Hall on May 8 to kick off their Summer 2023 farewell tour with band Dead and Company, which also includes John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti.
The show took place on the 46th anniversary of one of the Grateful Dead’s most memorable and widely celebrated performances of the band’s career, commonly known as “Cornell ’77.” That concert has taken on a mythic quality for dedicated fans of the band, living on in crude recordings over the decades.
Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Recording Academy’s MusiCares organization, a non-profit that offers a wide range of health and welfare services resources to musicians, as well as Cornell University’s 2030 Project, a sustainability initiative to develop climate-change solutions.
Tickets for the show were hard to come by. They were allocated by lottery systems for both students and alumni at a much lower price than being sold on the retail market. For locals unable to participate in the lotteries, ticket prices reached into the high hundreds.
For the non-ticket havers, the State Theatre of Ithaca held a live-stream event that was open to the general public for $40 a head, the largest such event held around the city. But even without a ticket to the actual show, locals and alumni both enjoyed the live-stream and felt a part of the excitement.
Chris Devenpeck, a long-time Ithaca resident, volunteered at the State Theatre for the event after being hesitant to return after the pandemic.
“I started volunteering 3 or 4 years ago and I took a break when the pandemic hit,” Devenpeck said. “When I found out they were doing this Dead show, it was like super secret. No one really knew what they were signing up for. It was just rumors.”
Devenpeck said he had a feeling he was signing up to work the Dead show. And he was very glad he did.
Use the arrows on the left- and right-hand side of the pictures to scroll through the gallery of the scene at Barton Hall before the show and for the first few songs, after which media access was scheduled to be reduced. All pictures were taken by Casey Martin for The Ithaca Voice.