The year 2015 marked 50 incredible years on the road to unlimited devotion with the Grateful Dead. To close out this remarkable musical career, the band billed a series of five farewell shows to close this chapter of their legacy. Two shows in Santa Clara, then three shows in Chicago, over the Fourth of July weekend. Aside from the “core four” members, the Fare Thee Well lineup also consisted of Jeff Chimenti (keys), Bruce Hornsby (keys & vocals), and the most intriguing free agent acquisition, Phish guitarist, Trey Anastasio.
As Boulder resident Ben Baruch was watching the live video stream of the first Santa Clara show, he turned to a friend and exclaimed, “Let Trey sing!” Baruch’s frustration was a result of Anastasio only taking lead vocals on two of the opening night’s songs. After he and his friends had a good laugh, he decided to take it upon himself to make some “Let Trey Sing” t-shirts.
What we haven’t discussed yet is that Baruch is in the music management and festival promoting business and is very close with various people within the Phish and Grateful Dead teams. Initially, Baruch saw this shirt as a little joke that he would give out to some industry friends in the parking lot (which he did the first two nights).
On the morning of the last show, Ben still had at least 50 shirts left in his hotel. At breakfast, Ben was eating with some friends who were very close to Bob Weir, and several requested shirts of their own. That night, Baruch enjoyed a glorious evening under the stars, as the boys on stage played their final show.
When the encore came around, Baruch’s phone started buzzing like never before. Anyone watching the video stream at home could see that Bob Weir was coming out for the encore in a “Let Trey Sing” shirt. It wasn’t until the cameras at the show put it on the big screens that Baruch saw it and, in his own words, “pretty much lost it.” One of his favorite musicians of all time was wearing the shirt he made as a fun little idea.
At that point, Baruch texted his assistant and had her make a website (LetTreySing.com), sent her the picture to put on it, and asked her to put them up for sale and they would order the quantities later. After that final show, Baruch found himself at an after-party where some of the band members and industry folks were hanging. Baruch gave his remaining shirts to some of the musicians. Once Baruch decided to sell the shirts, he immediately saw fit to donate all of the profits to charity. To this day, there have been thousands of “Let Trey Sing” shirts sold, and more than $20,000 raised for Phish’s Waterwheel Foundation and Grateful Dead’s Rex Foundation.
” It was pretty surreal to say the least, and still is to this day I see so many people wearing them at every festival I go to and the many concerts that I attend.” – Ben Baruch