The Grateful Dead reported to have spent £30,000 making artificial rainbow appear during live show

The US band are performing five final shows to mark their 50th anniversary

The Grateful Dead are the subject of speculation over the ending of a recent live gig.

The US band played the first of five final shows marking their 50th anniversary. They performed at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California on Saturday (June 27), with the set finishing to the backdrop of a rainbow in the sky above.

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Some have accused the group of artificially making the rainbow. Billboard reported that an “insider” confirmed that the man-made rainbow cost the band $50,000 (£30,000).

The publication later backtracked on their claims, writing: “upon further investigation appears to have been real. Turns out this band really does jam with God”.

However, there are fans that still remain unconvinced. The band’s lighting director, Paul Hoffman, told a commenter that the rainbow was made by placing “600 vari-lites on a building 2 miles away”. He too later appeared to withdraw his comments.


The band teamed up with Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio for the first of two gigs at Levi’s Stadium. Three more gigs will follow next month at Chicago’s Soldier Field, where the band’s last performance with frontman Jerry Garcia took place on July 1995.

Jerry Garcia died in August 1995 of a heart attack during his stay at a drug rehabilitation facility in California. The remainder of the band (Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann) have not performed live under the name since, instead touring as ‘The Dead’ or ‘The Other Ones’.

The band’s final outing in Chicago will be shown at 250 cinemas across the UK on July 6, the day after the gig in question. Venues are still to be announced, with tickets going on sale next week (May 13) here.

The trio of gigs will take place at Chicago’s Soldier Field from July 3-5, with the band playing warm-up shows in their hometown of San Francisco on June 27 and 28.