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Thursday, January 29

Editorial: More Tickets for the fans. Why The Grateful Dead 50th Shows had to change their ticketing rules and what it means for you the fan.

So as soon as it was announced that The Grateful Dead would be putting on a three night extravaganza in Soldier Field in Chicago over the 4th of July weekend all of the rumors had finally been put to rest. We had concrete instructions and descriptions on who would be playing i.e. Phil, Bob, Mickey and Billy with dead-head and dead contributor Bruce Hornsby on Keys/Vocals with Jeff Chimenti also on Keys and Trey Anastasio on Guitar/Vocals.  How to get those tickets; as they immediately offered an oldschool mail order where you send in your money orders and a self addressed stamped envelope to their PO Box in Stinson Beach in Marin County California.  This was supposed to last three days and then a band pre-sale on Feb 12th and the remaining tickets through Ticketmaster later in February. 

The problem the band had was that they received an overwhelming amount of envelopes in the first few days, so many in fact that by the morning of the 22nd they cut off mail order. Then after a number of changes, they ended up saying that there would be no more Dead Pre-Sale, those tickets would go to fill the mail-order lot, and they got rid of seats on the floor so there is a pit which you can ONLY get if you get it through mail order.  There is a GA Field behind the pit which could be broken into price ranges, the more you paid the closer you get,  I cannot confirm exactly where your $215 reserved tickets will put you if you get them.  So when I discussed the possibilities here with fellow Grateful Music staff member Michael Stein we believe the whole floor will be GA, aside from the GA Pit, but I wouldn't discount some high priced cordoned off VIP sections somewhere down there for the high roller experience. Maybe the ($215 reserved) are the closest reserved seats to the stage? We broke this down at the bottom of the editorial to give you the information as we know it with some good speculation as well.  

So what does mean?  It means a lot of things and in the biggest of pictures it means all good things.  First off if you were so lucky to have a grand saved up and you got off an envelope decked out/or not and it's dated the 20th of January you have a very good chance of getting your order filled, they can't fill them all but they have pushed back the on-sale date so that they can tell you if you won or lost in this lottery of ticket seeking, I am anxious to see what the Mail Order Tickets look like, the artwork used to be pretty awesome and Phish has taken it up a notch over the years, I'm sure in this case the tickets will not disappoint, as for what they look like and where they get you in the show.

From most perspectives it is the biggest concert event of the decade so far and that says a lot. Speaking of the lot, it will be a shit ton of fun with gates opening at mid-day there will be three last Shakedown's, where I see fans from all walks of life meeting up, some that haven't seen each other for months, others decades.  It will damn near in itself be worth the price of admission.  Back to the price, so because we speculate they have made the entire floor GA, aside from the GA Pit, it will add room for a few thousand more tickets if not more.  I'm no expert but they might even open up the back of the stage area though I'm glad they have so far decided against selling these (behind the band tickets).  The way that the organization of the Grateful Dead kept dynamic and Shapiro and Madison House made these changes will guarantee more tickets get in the hand of fans, which means less scalpers which will drive the price down, usually true heads sell their extras for face value. 

 Ticketmaster will be a very hard bet, at least to get the good seats, they will go on Stub-Hub for hundreds of dollars in the secondary market but it is of my belief that nose-bleed tickets will be easily obtained for all three nights and to say you were there is a big part of going, then there is the epic music and the lights and dancing and the backdrop of Chicago.  

One added last point, why no updated seating chart?  This would answer a lot of these questions and since they had such a huge mail-order turnout that they are trying to increase the venue size and if that means selling seats at a lower price behind the stage so be it, but I think they are STILL waiting to hear back from the Fire Marshall's okay on how many people can safely attend each night before they make a final seating chart.  This is my speculation, I have no source but my intuition and educated guess on this only.

I have heard rumors that because of the amazing turnout that some members of the band are going back on their word and that these wont be the last ever, maybe a 55th anniversary? Or maybe an even sooner reunion, but this is speculation and really I don't care at this point.  I will continue to see these guys play, I love seeing Mickey's band, Bobby's Ratdog, when it's hot nothing can beat it.  Billy and his Kids is a fantastic spread of musicians and of course Phil and Friends. As I am lucky enough to live within commuting distance of Terrapin Crossroads, I can go a few times a year and speaking of Terrapin, just try and imagine the Terrapin Station that will be played over the three night run! So summing it up, they did the right thing.  They adjusted to keep the fans the one's with tickets in their hands and this is why we love the band, The Grateful Dead.
See you down the road in July!
Sammy Martin

 To recap the 3 changes in the last 2 days:
There is no longer a Grateful Dead fan club presale on 2/11, This means barring aftermarket ticket purchases. There are now 3 way to purchase tickets.

  • Mail order (now over, must have been postmarked Jan 20th)
  • CID Ticket/Hotel Packages (on-sale February 11th at 10AM CST)
  • Ticketmaster Public on-sale: (Sat February 28th 10:00 AM CST)We now learned as of today 1/28 that the only way to purchase/obtain GA Pit tickets are through Mail order only. No Pit tickets will be available via the Public on-sale viaTicketmaster. (However GA Pit will also be available in limited numbers via the CID packages.) GA Field behind the GA Pit will be available through Ticketmaster.
  • We have also learned the the section behind GA Pit is now GA Field. No reserved field seating. Just GA Pit, and GA Field. Per our interpretation of the dead50.net website.

Michael Stein
 ©Grateful Music LLC