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Grateful Dead get farewell from Obama

US president hails icons’ cultural contribution as they play last-ever show

US president Barack Obama paid tribute to the Grateful Dead just before they played their last-ever show.

He spoke of the late Jerry Garcia and his colleagues’ cultural contribution as they brought their career to an end in Chicago over the weekend.

Surviving members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir bowed out on Sunday after three final appearances to mark their 50th anniversary.

Obama said: “Here's to 50 years of the Grateful Dead – an iconic American band that embodies the creativity, passion, and ability to bring people together that makes American music so great.

“Enjoy this weekend's celebration of your fans and legacy. And as Jerry would say, 'Let there be songs to fill the air.’”

In another salute, the Empire State Building was lit up in sync with the Dead’s performance of US Blues in Chicago. Their set included material from throughout their career, and it was the only time they’d ever played 80s and 90s music alongside material from the 60s and 70s.

The Fare Thee Well shows – with some tickets sold for as much as $10,000 – were recorded with a release planned for November.

The Grateful Dead final setlist

Shakedown Street (1978)

Liberty (1999)

Standing on the Moon (1989)

Me and My Uncle (1971)

Tennessee Jed (1972)

Cumberland Blues (1970)

Little Red Rooster (1981)

Friend of the Devil (1970)

Deal (1971)

Bird Song (1981)

The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion) (1967)

Lost Sailor (1980)

Saint of Circumstance (1980)

West LA Fadeaway (1987)

Foolish Heart (1989)

Stella Blue (1973)

One More Saturday Night (1972)

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