Four weeks ago I sent off my set of envelopes, 3×5 cards enclosed, ticket requests numbered on the outside of the envelope, multiple postal money orders (no others accepted) enclosed within to the Grateful Dead Ticket Office in Stinson Beach. I wasn’t alone. That morning in Sebastopol four other people were doing the exact same thing in the few minutes I was there. The lines at the Chicago post offices stretched out the door.
And that was just the beginning. Within a few days, 350,000 ticket requests were received in the tiny Stinson Beach post office (which in a typical day might receive a couple thousand letters). The total number of tickets available for the three 4th of July shows is probably around 180,000.
In the course of two to three days, nearly $70 million dollars in cash flooded into that PO Box. Needless to say, I and my pack of friends received nada. Online presales were cancelled as they struggled to figure out how to accommodate more people. And the package tickets going on sale later in the month are creeping up in price.
That’s cool. It tickles to be part of the zeitgeist. It was nice to have one last opportunity to tuck a 3×5 card and a prayer into an envelope and hope for the best. And just the thought of a Wonka ticket was enough (I still remember when our tickets to the 1991 New Year’s shows, all beautiful in their large purple sparkly glory, arrived in the mail).
And now comes the looming fore and aftermath.
Are you going for the Sunshine Daydream Hotel Package ($2200) or Steal Your Face ($4600)? Renaissance Hotel or the Hyatt? I actually don’t mind the prices – the Stones were running a lot more – and at this stage there’s little room to complain about staying in a fancy hotel. I’m sure Mickey Hart isn’t sleeping in a van. Besides, a lot of the boomers are in the process of cashing in what remains of their 401(k)s. And lastly, it’s not like we’re actually going to see the Dead. If we do see actually get into Soldier’s Field, what we will hopefully kind of get is the memory of the Dead and a last hurrah before an ever growing number of us actually become Dead.
Which kind of makes the comments on the ticket site a little funny. Folks are talking as if they’ll just mosey onto Ticketmaster sometime on the morning of February 27th, submit their orders and call it a day.
Let’s just say, that probably won’t happen. Picture several hundred thousand (perhaps over a million) individuals (and lets not even count the bots) trying to simultaneously score one of 50,000 $59 seats.
I can’t see it.
And the bottom rack hotel package deals ($1600)? Count those as already gone. And the $6000 VIP packages that come with catered food and a private tent? Let’s just say that there’s a lot of money being minted in the Bay Area right now. For enough folks it’s chump change. Just count the Teslas while you’re driving around shopping for an affordable apartment.
The best comments are from the folks exuberantly announcing they’re not even going to mess with hotels. They’re camping.
Yep. And I understand it. Whenever I get the urge to pitch a tent and rough it for a few days, I ponder for a few moments and then think, “Hey! How ’bout downtown Chicago!”
I know, I know. There’s the parking lot. But if anyone has a moment, take a look at the footprint. And then note the 8 story parking garage adjacent. Yeah. That’s where the bulk of the people park at Soldier’s Field.
Which doesn’t mean we shouldn’t all head to Chicago. The Field Museum has a lot to offer. Chicago dogs by the dozen. The fireworks over the lake will be spectacular. The parking lot scene will always be the parking lot.
And we’re doing it not for just a spot of music. We’re doing it because we loved them. And we loved what they came to mean for us. And because a half million of tie dye strong, young and old, freaks every one, will be wandering the Loop marveling over how wild the Trip really has been.