The long awaited Grateful Dead event, appropriately titled the Fare Thee Well concert, sold out in mere minutes, according to Billboard. The event, which is set to take place at Soldier’s Field in Chicago from July 3-5, probably sold out faster than any Dead show in history, since the Fare Thee Well concert event was the only Dead show to take advantage of internet technology to sell tickets. Their last concert tour was in 1995, when internet use was still in its infancy.
In addition to online ticket sales, the producers of the Fare Thee Well show were also buried under a mountain of mail order ticket requests and VIP packages. Although ticket requests were estimated to be in the millions, the final total for ticket sales to this final Grateful Dead show reached to approximately 210,000.
“This is f****n’ nuts,” said Peter Shapiro, 42, who is producing the show in conjunction with AEG-owned Madison House Presents. “It would have sold out in an instant, the only thing that took a little time was the computers and stuff.”
Shapiro added that, although there were computer delays, Ticketmaster handled the requests extremely well without any failures on their part.
This Dead show will feature Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio aiding the remaining Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, 67; Phil Lesh, 74; Mickey Hart, 71; and Bill Kreutzmann, 68, on a 360 degree stage configuration, which will allow Soldier’s Field to be filled to its maximum capacity.
Anastasio doesn’t feel at all out of place, mixing it up with the original band members. In fact, to hear him talk, he looks on the experience as a sacred duty.
“To me, it’s a labor of love. I’m learning so much. I kind of went away from this [in 1984]. Now I’m coming back to it, a little bit older, and rediscovering some great little gems. I’m providing a service…The cool thing is it got me back inside the guitar. I thank them. And I thank Jerry.”
Recognizing that there are still millions eager to witness the 50th anniversary Grateful Dead show, Shapiro and company are looking into pay-per-view options that will enable them to deliver the Fare Thee Well concert to venues across the country. Rolling Stone reported that Shapiro is looking into simulcasting options that will enable producers to deliver the Fare Thee Well concert with quality audio and video. His hope is to bring the same vibe into these other venues as actual concert goers will experience seeing The Grateful Dead live.
Deadheads with tickets to the show are already making plans to take over a nearby field, where they hope to be able to camp out, throughout the festival.