Now that the Grateful Dead's 50th anniversary "Fare Thee Well" shows are on the books, it's time to take a look back at — and behind the scenes of — the concert event of the season.

Of course, we already gave you everything you needed to know before the Dead took the stage for their first reunion set in Santa Clara on June 27, but all that background information couldn't really prepare us for the massive scale of the shows, which drew tens of thousands of fans out to say goodbye while capping a half-century creative journey that's so prolific it could only be contained in an 80-disc box set.

The music continued in Santa Clara on June 28 before the surviving members of the Dead migrated to Soldier Field in Chicago for the three-night stand they've billed as their last-ever live performances together. Augmented with auxiliary players Bruce Hornsby and Trey Anastasio, the band took the stage July 3, July 4 and July 5, retracing the steps of their long, strange journey along the way.

In addition to reading the show reviews linked in the above paragraph, you can check out our Fare Thee Well set list recap page — and start counting down the days until Nov. 20, when the concerts make their way to CD, DVD, Blu-ray and digital formats in a variety of editions that include an exhaustive, multi-disc Exclusive Complete Version as well as a complete overview of the July 5 show and a truncated audio "highlights" set spread out over two discs.

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