The New Year opened with an exciting revelation for Deadheads across the nation: The Dead will tour for the first time in four years with a round of spring 2009 dates. The legendary jam band’s Spring Fling arena tour will open April 12 with a gig at Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC, and run through a May 10 show at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA.

“Happy New Year, everybody!! Hope and change are in the air! So what better way to kick off 2009 than to confirm what’s been buzzing in the rumor mill for some time,” began the January 1 announcement on the group’s official Web site.

The Dead will play two-night stands on April 18-19 at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA; April 28-29 at the Izod Center in E. Rutherford, NJ; and May 1-2 at Wachovia Spectrum in Philadelphia, PA. Other notable stops include an April 25 set at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY, a May 5 jam at All-State Arena in Chicago, IL, and a May 9 performance at The Forum in Los Angeles, CA.

Ticket presales will begin on January 13, followed by nationwide public onsales on January 23. Further announcements and tour information will be made on the band’s Web site.

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The 2009 touring lineup will include the “Core Four,” surviving Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. They will be joined onstage by guitarist Warren Haynes, of Allman Brothers Band and Gov’t Mule, as well as RatDog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti. Both musicians jammed with The Dead during the 2004 Wave That Flag tour.

After the death of Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia in 1995, the band’s remaining members toured in various incarnations under the name The Other Ones before officially renaming themselves The Dead in 2003. After an August 2004 performance in Atlanta, GA, the band’s members went their separate ways and refocused on their solo careers. However, the group reformed for two benefit concerts for President-elect Barack Obama during his 2008 campaign, beginning the speculation about an upcoming trek.

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The Dead itinerary:
(Dates are subject to change.)

April 12 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum
April 14 Washington, DC Verizon Center
April 15 Charlottesville, VA John Paul Jones Arena
April 17 Albany, NY Times Union Center
April 18 – 19 Worcester, MA DCU Center
April 21 Buffalo, NY HSBC Arena
April 22 Wilkes-Barre, PA Wachovia Arena
April 24 Uniondale, NY Nassau Coliseum
April 25 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
April 26 Hartford, CT XL Center
April 28 – 29 E. Rutherford, NJ Izod Center
May 1 – 2 Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Spectrum
May 5 Chicago, IL All State Arena
May 7 Denver, CO Pepsi Center
May 9 Los Angeles, CA The Forum
May 10 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheater