I've never been a jam band kind of guy, and I know only a handful of songs by the Grateful Dead, these being the band's "hits," and thus largely unrepresentative of what made the group famous in the first place.
Steven Hyden's essay at Grantland strikes me as a genuinely fair and balanced overview of last week's coda, the Fare Thee Well concerts. It isn't negative, as the title implies. The good coexists with the monetized, and the notion of a band as a business should surprise no one.
While the music itself always has eluded me, the cultural milieu of the Grateful Dead's career is something I find disproportionately fascinating and worthy of exploration. For 50 years, a community; that's something to strive for in any line of work.
Full disclosure: I was listening to the new album by Florence + The Machine while reading Hyden's piece.
Not Fade Away: The Dubious End of the Grateful Dead