Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Show Ends With Rainbow, Prompting Conspiracy Theories
Rainbows were seemingly everywhere last week: all over social media, the White House and even in the sky during the closing moments of the Grateful Dead's first 50th anniversary reunion show on June 27.
Unlike the other rainbows, the Dead's wasn't intended as shorthand for a sociopolitical statement, but it still couldn't avoid controversy. According to Billboard, the timing of its appearance — at the end of a 17-minute, set-closing rendition of "Viola Lee Blues" — prompted an "insider" to allege that the band paid $50,000 to beam a fake rainbow across the sky at just the right moment.
Consequence of Sound recounts a bit of the online debate that erupted after that accusation made the rounds, including speculation from one observer who points out that Santa Clara, Calif., where the weekend's festivities took place, is in the heart of Silicon Valley — which is "full of Deadheads with more money than they know what to do with."
Regardless of whether or not it would be technologically possible to beam a rainbow over a stadium, it appears that in this case the Dead came by their perfect show-closing moment honestly. Some commenters have pointed out that the rainbow didn't just "switch on," although others were sent into a tizzy after some well-timed trolling from the band's lighting director, Paul Hoffman, who's quoted in the CoS article as quipping that they made it happen with "600 Varilites on a building two miles away" before coming clean with the joke, saying, "Guys. The rainbow was real."
Grateful Dead Albums Ranked Worst to Best
Watch Bob Weir Play ‘Me and My Uncle’ With RatDog at Mountain Jam