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Peter Shapiro: “We’re working on a way to bring the show to fans who aren’t in Soldier Field”

March 03, 2015

Fare Thee Well co-promoter (and Relix/Jambands.com publisher) Peter Shapiro has revealed that plans are currently in the works to bring the experience to as many people as possible. Citing concerns about the high price of secondary market tickets for the event, Shapiro told the Chicago Tribune, “Those numbers aren’t real, and they have nothing to do with the music. …. (But) with the technology and bringing the show to fans who couldn’t get tickets, to enable them to see it, we want to do a reverse jujitsu against the secondary market.”

As of now, the format of the broadcast—whether it will be pay per view, an online stream, a simulcast—has not been confirmed. Shapiro elaborated on the plan, saying, “We’re going to try to create ways to experience the show outside the stadium, using technology… Whether you’re at home, or out in the community, we’re working on a way to bring the show to fans who aren’t in Soldier Field with high-level audio and video… We’re exploring all ideas. But this is a way that technology we didn’t have in the ’90s can really help make this event as Grateful Dead-fan friendly as possible. They couldn’t beam shows in the ’90s into your house, your phone, another place where people gather. And we’ll have that.”

Speaking about the high demand for the shows, Shapiro told the Chicago Tribune, “It’s just nuts. This thing has taken on a life of its own. The response to these on-sales, both online and mail, shows the power the band had, and the music. It made everyone say, ‘Whoa.’ No one expected how big this has turned out to be.”

Regarding the high price of tickets on the secondary market, he added, “I wave my hand at these prices. When you post (an asking price on the secondary market), it doesn’t mean you definitely have the ticket on you. Doing this in 2015, technology has its benefits and challenges. The benefits are that I hope we can share this show and many can experience it as if they were there. The challenge is the secondary market — you create a false impression of what these tickets are worth. I can’t control it. We’ve talked about what we do about it.”

Shapiro also gave some details on the stage configuration for the shows, saying, “It will be a GA (general admission) floor and a 360 set-up. The stage will be at one end zone, but it will be open and there will be seats behind the band. Those were the cheaper seats. The sight lines won’t be the same, but you’re in. They made a decision to get as many people as possible into the show. There will be (video) screens and sound back there.”

Additionally, Shapiro explained the band’s reasons for reuniting at Soldier Field, noting, “They each wanted to do something to celebrate the 50th anniversary. To get them all to agree, that took a minute, but they’re all excited by this response. The idea of doing the shows on July 4th weekend, going back to where it ended (the band’s final shows were in Soldier Field in July 1995), bringing in Trey as the next generation, and Hornsby, who had been with them off and on for years, and doing something in the middle of the country enabling east and west to come, they all embraced it.”

When asked about the potential for other core four reunion shows in the future, Shapiro responded, “I’m not going to go there. There’s no extra dates planned. For Chicago or anywhere else.”

As previously reported, the core four surviving members of the Grateful Dead will reunite for a three-night run at Chicago’s Soldier Field on July 3-5. They will be joined by Trey Anastasio, Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti.

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