Grateful Dead tickets being scalped for crazy prices; shows may be streamed nationwide
The Grateful Dead's three 50th anniversary shows at Chicago's Soldier Field (July 3-5) with surviving members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, plus Phish's Trey Anastasio, RatDog's Jeff Chimenti and Bruce Hornsby, went on sale to the general public on Saturday (2/28) after the pre-sale already resulted in more than 60,000 people mailing in envelopes requesting tickets (and a total of over 350,000 tickets requested). The Ticketmaster on-sale was met with closer to 500,000 people attempting to purchase tickets -- and probably more folks than not trying for the four-ticket maximum. It sold out in about an hour, and it would've happened even faster if the demand levels weren't slowing down servers (Ticketmaster never crashed though). Almost immediately after the sell-out, tickets went up on StubHub for crazy prices.
Mashable points out that Chicago Bears season-ticket holders had first dibs on seats, and suggested that may have meant several people with no interest in attending but the ability to easily purchase tickets would use that opportunity to scalp them. The highest ticket on StubHub was going for $1 million, but that one's since been deleted, and right now the average price is around $2,000. A StubHub agent told Mashable, "I've been doing this nine years, and I would say this is going to be the biggest one I've seen. The Super Bowl is always going to be bigger than anything. But this is definitely the biggest concert. By far. By far."
Though there's been plenty of chances to see Dead members play Dead songs in the time since Jerry's death (in fact, Phil Lesh has four NYC-area shows coming up, one of which is still on sale), it's perhaps not surprising that the one billed as "The Grateful Dead" would cause this kind of hysteria. You might not have necessarily predicted it in their final year as a band (1995), when shows weren't selling out like this, but then again being away for 20 years, the excitement of a reunion, and scalpers creating even more demand will do that sort of thing.
And some of the scalpers could be frauds too, as nobody gets their actual hard tickets until June, and some people are offering specific seats, but reportedly no seats have been assigned yet.
The Grateful Dead 50 Facebook page posted the following:
Thank you to all of the Deadheads for the amazing support that you have shown for the Fare Thee Well shows in Chicago! This morning you broke Ticketmaster's on-sale record when nearly half a million of you queued up to buy tickets. If you do not have tickets, please know that we are working on various ways to help everyone experience these shows in a way that will help you share this special moment with us. Stay tuned, and thank you for showing your love, we feel it!
One way they may allow everyone experience the shows is live streaming. The show's co-producer Peter Shapiro told Billboard, "We want to provide video and audio, the best shit out there, and try to bring it to people with the same vibe as being there." He says they'll be pay-per-view events that will potentially be available nationwide. Rolling Stone also points out that Shapiro "is working on simulcasting the shows around the country; Shapiro is already holding the dates at his venues, including the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, and the Brooklyn Bowl."
Right before the on-sale, GDTS TOO, the site handling the mail-order presales, posted the following:
We've been submerged in a sea of mail and are coming up for a breath of air to give you an update on where we stand right now. We are 75% of the way processing all of the orders, working 24/7 to get your money orders back to you. There were many, many times more order requests than anyone imagined, thousands and thousands with beautiful art. We are trying to let as many folks know their status if possible before the onsale date. Emails will go out to the winners starting in the next two days. You still have a small chance if you do not receive an email from us by the on-sale date, however, you may want to consider on line ticket sales to increase your chances. Tickets will be mailed out in June. Please do not email us at this time as we will not be able to answer your inquiry.
Were you one of the lucky ones who got tickets?
In related news, The National and friends are working on a Dead tribute.