The last-ever performances as the Grateful Dead took place in honor of the band’s 50th anniversary last summer, with two nights in Santa Clara, CA and three more the subsequent weekend in Chicago, IL. For five days, the world shared in the Deadhead passion, with transcendental shows at Levi’s Stadium and Soldier Field.

It seems that the moment may live on longer than we anticipated, as a Virtual Reality company called Jaunt Studios, based out of Silicon Valley. With the Grateful Dead’s performances in Santa Clara just a short drive away, the band allowed them to experiment with the cutting edge recording equipment. Of course, the Dead have always been about experimentation; even in their equipment. From the Wall of Sound and beyond, the Dead have always kept an open mind. 

According to a report in Rolling Stone, a 12-minute VR video of “Truckin'” made its premiere at the elite Tribeca Film Festival. Jaunt president Cliff Plumer said, “You’re not just looking at a screen… With VR, you can look anywhere. If you weren’t able to get a ticket or lived in a part of world where you can’t get access to these concerts, this is the next best thing.”

The technology works with five cameras – three on stage and two in the crowd – to allow viewers to essentially look in all directions. The report describes the experience, saying, “you’ll find yourself standing almost directly in front of the stage, only a few feet away from Phil Lesh, Bob Weir and Trey Anastasio. (You can see, up close, the moment when Lesh looks at Weir for a nudge when it’s time to launch into the bridge.) Look behind you (and up and down), and you’ll see the stadium full of dancing, cheering Deadheads as well as cameramen and security guards.”

While the entire Santa Clara shows were captured – a total of nine hours of footage – only “Truckin'” debuted at the festival. Fortunately, the band and studio are in talks to release more of the footage. As VR technology becomes more accessible, having the opportunity to watch those shows in such an immersive environment will be nothing short of incredible.

Until then, we’ll have to settle for regular, two-dimensional YouTube videos:

[Via Rolling Stone]