The hoopla surrounding the Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary shows has reached mythic proportions. Three-day passes for the “Fare Thee Well” festival, a trio of very sold-out concerts at Chicago’s Soldier Field over Fourth of July weekend, have climbed to $114,000 on Stubhub. The band lineup for the mega-concerts consists of Phish’s Trey Anastasio filling in for late front man Jerry Garcia, along with the surviving members of the Dead. And the venue of Soldier Field wasn’t picked at random—it’s the place where the Dead last played together as a complete band in July 1995, just one month before Garcia died of a heart attack.
Now, a source close to the production informed The Daily Beast that the “Fare Thee Well” Dead shows will be filmed by none other than Martin Scorsese, who helmed arguably the greatest concert film of all-time in The Last Waltz. Joining Scorsese in shooting the music festivities will be Amir Bar-Lev, the acclaimed documentary filmmaker behind The Tillman Story. Back in October, it was announced that Bar-Lev would be helming a feature-length documentary on the Grateful Dead in honor of their 50th anniversary, executive produced by Scorsese.
“The Grateful Dead were more than just a band. They were their own planet, populated by millions of devoted fans. I’m very happy that this picture is being made and proud to be involved,” Scorsese told Deadline at the time.
The source claims that the footage shot by Scorsese and Bar-Lev of the 50th anniversary shows will be folded into the documentary, which will be released sometime in 2016.
When the doc was first announced, the surviving members of the Grateful Dead—Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart—released the following statement:
“Millions of stories have been told about the Grateful Dead over the years. With our 50th Anniversary coming up, we thought it might just be time to tell one ourselves and Amir is the perfect guy to help us do it. Needless to say, we are humbled to be collaborating with Martin Scorsese. From The Last Waltz to George Harrison: Living In The Material World, from Bob Dylan to the Rolling Stones, he has made some of the greatest music documentaries ever with some of our favorite artists and we are honored to have him involved. The 50th will be another monumental milestone to celebrate with our fans and we cannot wait to share this film with them.”