Although it strongly opposes North Carolina's controversial HB2 restroom bill, Dead & Company will still play Charlotte on June 10 to open its summer tour.
But the group will use it as a platform for protest, donating $100,000 to Equality North Carolina and the Human Rights Campaign, which are fighting the law and seeking to overturn it and also hosting a Participation Row "social action area" for "local organizations fighting discrimination and national organizations dedicated to voter registration and protecting the planet."
In its statement, the band explains that "we feel the most effective way to move forward is to perform as scheduled...Dead shows have always been a safe place for all of our audience to come together through music no matter how they appear or self-identify. History shows these values of openness and inclusiveness have served us -- and the world around us -- well. We've never been a band that's spoken many words when we're not on stage. But we hope that our actions, and the actions of our fans, will ring louder than ever before."
The group will play 24 shows this summer, including a June 12 performance at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Tennessee.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.