Never let subtlety get in the way of a good press release. Much like the Grateful Dead's interminable shows, a release sent out yesterday about the band's “farewell” concerts in Chicago (and now also Santa Clara) is overblown hyperbole, to put it mildly. The release goes so far as to suggest those shows will be the biggest concert event “of all time.”
Maybe the most costly concert event…
The surviving members announced in the notice — which repeatedly refers to the band as “Grateful Dead Original Members” — that the shows will be broadcast live via Pay-Per-View on cable, satellite, and online streaming devices. It'll also be in movie theaters around the country.
Yup, pretty much anything that has a screen on it can transport you to the last Grateful Dead Original Members concerts, which take place nearly 20 years after the Dead last performed with Jerry Garcia, the band's late lead guitarist, singer, and songwriter.
[jump] Aging Deadheads who spent their youths following the group around the country, but are now confined to their couches, will be happy to know they can pay $79.95 to watch a lineup similar to the one that's been playing festivals since Garcia died (with the addition of the guy from Phish) perform all five farewell concerts. As an added bonus, the concerts will be hosted by CNBC reporter Steve Liesman (WHY?!) with special guest Bill Walton (NBA star of the Portland Trail Blazers in the mid '70s and a longtime Deadhead). The intermission will feature live fan interviews (sure to be insightful), aerial shots of the concerts, and a short documentary on the Grateful Dead directed by Dead spawn Justin Kreutzmann, son of drummer Bill.
The Chicago concerts, which feature a 360-degrees stage setup, instantly sold out of all 210,000 tickets, which included $2,200 “Golden Road” packages featuring floor seats all three nights and access to a private lounge with free drinks and fancy food. According to Billboard, the shows are expected to gross somewhere in the ballpark of $30 million, with another $5 million or more from merch sales.
Because of the demand for tickets, the Grateful Dead Original Members band announced two more shows at Levi's Stadium June 27 and 28, as a final homecoming of sorts. Billboard says the show may “go down in rock history.” Since the Levi's stadium dates are the same night as Pride, which will draw a lot of the creative types away, the show probably will more likely go down as the most frat boy-ish Grateful Dead(ish) concert your iPhone screen has ever seen.