As previously reported by Billboard, three of the Dead’s “core four” players — guitarist Bob Weir and drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann — plan to continue the party, with John Mayer on guitar. Their first performance as Dead & Company is set for Halloween night (Oct. 31) at New York’s Madison Square Garden, where the Grateful Dead had played more than 50 times since its formation in 1965. Joining the group on bass is Oteil Burbridge of the Allman Brothers and Aquarium Rescue Unit and Ratdog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, who played all five Fare Thee Well shows alongside Bruce Hornsby. Dead bassist Phil Lesh will sit out this incarnation, but continue with his own side outfit, Phil and Friends. “Those songs weren’t done with us,” Weir tells Billboard of a decision that came with little deliberation. “It was a matter of who wanted to get back out on the road and keep doing it.” Mayer’s enthusiasm, he adds, “was the cherry on the sundae that made this project look like a good idea.”Back in May, Weir told me at the Garden that he and the group would play MSG again. “We’ll be back,” Weir said when The Dead was inducted into the MSG Walk of Fame. Asked if they would return as The Dead, Weir said, “We’ll see, we’ll see what’s shakin.'” He added: “This place is going to keep calling us back forever.” Between 1979-94, the Grateful Dead played 52 sold-out shows at the Garden — ranking them third all-time in Garden performances behind only Elton John and Billy Joel. In both 1988 and 1991, the band had sold-out runs of nine concerts.