Fare Thee Well: iOS Apps for Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead

The band beyond description is back at it, and while I may keep my fingers crossed that it's not really the last time these phenomenal musicians play together, it finally seems like we are at the end of the road on what has been one heck of a long strange trip. But hey, we've still got the Grateful Dead's final shows in San Jose and Chicago this summer to look forward to! The Fare Thee Well mini-tour (June 27 and 28 and July 3, 4, 5) celebrates 50 years of transformational, life-changing music as well as the end of an era. In appreciation of all that the traveling circus that is a Dead show has given my life and the lives of millions of others, I figured I'd put together this here little roundup of some of my favorite Dead-related iOS apps to help celebrate the occasion.

Now on Netflix (Free, with subscription)

Fare Thee Well. Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead with Your iOS Apps.

Be sure to check out the new Netflix-produced original movie; an hour-and-a-half documentary about the Dead's rhythm guitarist, Bob Weir. It's called The Other One: The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir and it's available to stream now with any Netflix subscription. The Other One takes its name from a psychedelic opus penned by Weir. The Other One was an homage to Neal Cassidy, one of Ken Kesey's band of Merry Pranksters who ushered in the age of Aquarius and hosted the notorious Acid Tests back when LSD was legal. It was penned while Bobby was high on acid, on the same night Cassidy mysteriously died on the railroad tracks in Mexico. It embodies the magic adventure the Dead were on as they followed their fans around the country and around the world. Some say the name also alludes to Bobby's status as the "number two" man in the band, but I don't see it that way. As far as I'm concerned it was such an equal partnership in creation, led perhaps, by Garcia's buoyant, yet addled spirit, but definitely a case of the sum being far, far greater than its parts. It's an insightful look into one of the most popular, most underrated, and yet most deeply influential bands that ever was.

Something for the First-Timer's: Weir's World ($1.99)

Speaking of Weir, you can keep the kids entertained on the way to and from the show with this fun and educational app for little ones. Weir's World offers Weir's Picasso-esque twist on storytelling for children, through song. From alphabet games, to his takes on classics like "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "Old MacDonald's Farm," Bobby's quirky vision shines through in this entertaining and interactive Dead-themed kiddie app.

Streaming Now: Listen to the Dead (Free)

Fare Thee Well. Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead with Your iOS Apps.

Back in the old days, when I first started attending shows in the mid-'80s, we rallied around this new thing called the Internet (anyone remember Prodigy?) to find like-minded misfits to trade tapes of our favorite, one-of-a-kind, live shows. Well, that was then. Nowadays, finding any show out of the thousands the Dead put on has never been easier. Whether you love the extended, drawn-out, noodling improv of the '70s shows or the funky psychedelic steamroller that epitomized the '80s shows; whatever you'd like to listen to can be found online. And my favorite iOS app that taps into the vast body of Grateful Dead shows online is Listen to the Dead.

Granted, there's great services like Spotify (free), which let you build unlimited playlists and happens to have an extensive catalog of live gems, as well as Amazon Prime Music (free, with subscription), which lets you store GD albums for offline listening. In fact, I regularly use both Spotify and Amazon Music to get my dose, but when it comes to truly immersing oneself in the music, the experience of the live show, nothing can compete with Listen to the Dead. Powered by ListenToTheDead.com, it's your best iOS app resource for just about any show that's ever been; complete, uncut and in relatively high quality digital audio. Features of this app include:

  • Thousands of concerts (1965–1995) in the palm of your hand.

  • Allows users to listen to music in the background.

  • View taping source and quality.

  • View concerts categorize by ratings or venue.

  • Unlimited streaming, no skip limits.

Fare Thee Well: On Safari (Native iOS App)

Fare Thee Well. Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead with Your iOS Apps.

I remember one time listening to a live radio broadcast of a late-'80s New Year's Eve show, and Jerry came by the broadcast booth and spoke to all of us during intermission. He said, "Why go out and risk your life, when you can stay home and risk your sanity instead?" as he laughed his mad-hatter laugh. Well, for those of us who can't make it to the Cali or Chicago Fare Thee Well shows, we can stay home and do just that, while being able to watch the show, live-streamed, in close-up, high definition.

If you can't be there to shake yer bones in person, what better way to attend the shows than via Couch-Tour? The producers of the show are live-streaming all five shows so you can stay home and still experience the fullness and wonder of this magical event. With the portable convenience of our iDevices always at the ready and equipped with the most powerful mobile browser, Safari, we can truly enjoy these shows in comfort anywhere in the world and wherever we are! And as the saying goes, we are everywhere.

Fare Thee Well. Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead with Your iOS Apps.

Live Dead, on YouTube (Free)

I'd be neglect if I didn't mention the fact that when it comes to watching Dead shows online, its hard to beat YouTube. I've got many hours of amazing, full shows on my YouTube Grateful Dead playlist, including two of my favorites; one a classic Garcia/Grisman show from 1991, live at The Warfield, and another being a show I caught on my second summer tour back in 1989, a smokin' hot performance recorded at Alpine Valley.

Photo by Siva. Fare Thee Well. Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead

Speaking of YouTube, the name of this final celebratory concert event; Fare Thee Well, derives from the classic Grateful Dead ballad, "Brokedown Palace." It's a poignant song, one that sums things up for the Dead nice and neatly. So I've included a YouTube, nature-themed video of "Brokedown Palace," complete with snapshots from the Dead's storied career of unorthodox and unusual adventures in sound and space.

If you can't see the embedded video, click HERE.

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Author Details

Dig Om's picture

Author Details

Dig Om

As Senior Gear Editor at iPhone Life, Dig reports on the latest and greatest accessories built for the iOS ecosystem. From rugged gear and Bluetooth speakers, to headphones, unique iDevice cases, and iOS remote controlled vehicles, Dig's articles cover a wide range of great gear for the iPhone and iPad. A core gamer for over three decades, Dig also writes iPhone Life's Game Centered column, which focuses on the best iOS games and game related news. Additionally, Dig's company, iDoc Tech Support, offers web design and administration services as well as iPhone and iPad repairs. When not at his work desk, Dig loves spending time with family and enjoying the wonders of nature. You can follow him on Twitter @idoctech