LETTERS

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Publisher’s note:

After becoming aware of last week’s Stew’s Views column [Re: “Ladies and gentlemen, not the Grateful Dead,” March 5], “Fare Thee Well” promoter Peter Shapiro called me and we chatted for the better part of an hour about the issues raised in the article. I found Shapiro to be sincere in his desire to create a memorable event for those who are able to attend — despite the challenges he has faced, for which he acknowledged, “there are no perfect answers.” The conversation was very friendly and extremely positive — the kind of interaction that upholds the principles of community that “Deadheads” aspire to maintain.

According to Shapiro, the percentage of mail order tickets being fulfilled for the event that was reported by Grateful Dead Ticket Sales, and that I, in turn, reported in my column, is not accurate. Grateful Dead Ticket Sales had informed the public that 10 percent of the ticket requests received would be fulfilled; according to Shapiro, the actual percentage is between 16 and 30 percent.

Stewart Sallo, Publisher

Short and to the point 

From Henceforth, they shall now and forever be known as “The GREEDFUL DEAD!” [Re: “Ladies and gentlemen, not the Grateful Dead,” March 5].

Mr. CJ/via the Internet

Dead on 

I recently read the article by Stewart Sallo [Re: “Ladies and gentlemen, not the Grateful Dead,” March 5]. He nailed it. I went to my first Grateful Dead show in 1974 and have seen over 60 shows while Jerry Garcia was alive. Though not as fervent a Deadhead as many, I still consider myself in the family. All things change. Sadly, this last show is going to be marred by greed and corporate interests; a sad legacy for the finest band in the land. Peace.

Scott Provost/Seattle, WA

I read your diatribe Stewart, now you can read mine…

[Re: “Ladies and gentlemen, not the Grateful Dead,” March 5] Let me preface this by saying I am not a writer. I just write down my thoughts, and right or wrong they are my own and come from the heart. I wrote this yesterday after all of the Blame and Fuck You threads started popping up but decided not to post it — but fuck it. I am sure I will get ravished for various reasons, but this is how I feel about it all, and I just wish the blaming and bitching would stop. We are all better than that. It’s long, and I don’t expect many to read it but here they are: my thoughts.

You want somebody to blame?

Blame yourself. This is all YOUR fault.

Way back in 1965 when Jerry

About that GD article 

I guess the Boulder Weekly has a very low standard of fact checking to allow the Stewart Sallo article to print [Re: “Ladies and gentlemen, not the Grateful Dead,” March 5]. The guy misinterprets or just downright lies about facts surrounding the event. Maybe he’s just really dumb. I don’t know, but considering this article is gaining your “paper” attention you should consider a retraction. It leads me to believe that the Boulder Weekly is just an independent zine with faux reporters and writers.

Garcia put this little rock and roll band together he had no earthly idea that 50 years later the music, the “scene” and the phenomenon that he and his friends created would still be alive. There was no way in hell to know that.

For the last 50 years YOU have been listening to this music. Almost every single note that has been played up to this point has been seen live, recorded, traded (for free), bought and sold by hundreds of thousands and probably millions of YOU. Together they have played thousands upon thousands of live concerts that YOU went to.

YOU followed them around the country and even the world. YOU payed for tickets to their shows and bought their merchandise. YOU listened to their music for countless hours, days, weeks, months, years and decades. YOU made them who they are and it was because of YOU that it has lasted as long as it has. They drove the bus but YOU are the fans who jumped on it.

YOU want to talk about the money they have made? It’s their job and just like YOU, they work and have worked their asses off for 50 years almost non stop to keep playing for YOU. Think about that for a second… without YOU this could have all ended long ago. So they had a rough go of it financially for a number of years and now they are cashing in. Do they not deserve to after 50 years of hard work?

Just like YOU, of course they do…wouldn’t YOU want to? What will YOU be doing when YOU are in your 60s and 70s? Will YOU still be hard at work or will YOU be thinking about how YOU would like to spend the twighlight years of what life YOU have left? Do YOU think they really need the money? They play music because that’s what they do, and they know people sill enjoy it and will still pay money for them to play it and come and share the music together just like YOU and they have always done.

N. Horsman/ via internet

Jim Helton/via Internet

More Dead 

Dear Stewart, thank you so much for writing this article [Re: “Ladies and gentlemen, not the Grateful Dead,” March 5]. I was one of the people that tried to mail-order. I live in California. And today me and my brother answered an add on Craigslist for three-day passes that I’m pretty sure is scam. How disheartening to witness this unfold. The word that came to my mind after reading your article was ‘fraud.’ It’s not the real deal, It’s a fake thing as you were outlining…

I think that it would be a great idea to hold an alternative event, like in California, and make it a big gathering as a tribute to the band, to Jerry Garcia, to the magic and love in all its authenticity.

I would love to support something like that. I told my brother today that I’m not even interested in being in Chicago for that event…

When I got my ‘rejection’ for mailorder for just two tickets for one of the nights; I thought I would just wait it out, let things unfold, you know? Thought for sure there would be some humanity involved somewhere. Naive to the think the GD company would make themselves known and not allow this ridiculousness? But alas, it’s not about the artists… or the fans… or anything that makes sense for that matter!!!

Thanks for receiving the feedback! 

Karen Gabai/California

Sallo was Dead on 

My whole hearted thanks to Stewart Sallo who espoused what I have been telling all my friends around the world about the GD50!

He could not be more accurate on every aspect [Re: “Ladies and gentlemen, not the Grateful Dead,” March 5].

When they announced this idiocy, my immediate reaction was, this is a money grab and will be three nights of New Year’s Eve when every idiot in the world comes out to party with nearly all of them are amateurs. Furthur, I knew Shappy could do pay-per-view with ease, if he can put Phil Lesh on pay-per-view with a band of younger players who are still developing reputations, he could persuade broadcasting powers to jump in as the producers must set up video with large screens in the venue for those more than 100 yards from the stage. I was and I am totally comfortable with being in my lovely apartment in SF with good friends dancing up a storm, freely using the bathroom and drinking beer of my choice without lines to stand in. And now, Shappy may go the close-circuit- TV-in-movie-theaters route… this is a bad idea cause movie don’t allow for the party. I saw three folks thrown out of the AMC in downtown SF during the GD meet up at the movies last year and forcing us into sterile environments like that is plainly ignorant of the audience.

What makes this all worse, the others who are now cashing in like Don Was. I appreciate his tribute concert program, I have seen several and recorded several. His Jerry Tribute in May at Merriweather Post is not a celebration of the music of Jerry, it is the cashing in on the GD50 momentum and that purely sickens me as a Deadhead since 1981 as well as a professional Deadhead who has been selling officially licensed merchandise for 11 years. Another sickening cash in is all the tribute bands to the GD, in ’96 there were two. DSO and JGB. Today, everywhere you turn another one has sprung up eager to draw crowds, make money and claim they are paying tribute. Throw that in with the many festivals that are using the GD tribute theme to attract concert goers and now you have a whole GD industry based on money not the music. Yikes, time to hit the bathroom and puke.

The reality is stone cold — avidly practicing Deadheads are a rare breed today and most of them will not, could not, would not be in Chicago.

At the GD Conference in December at San Jose State, Steve Marcus, founder of the GD ticket service, said clearly at the end of his presentation: Jerry Garcia never wanted the GD to be a corporate brand. It was about music and people and higher consciousness. Later that day, Mark Pincus, who oversees all GD things at Rhino blatantly told those in attendance: We are branding the Grateful Dead in every way we can. What has happened in the days since Jerry’s moral compass left us: money matters, the mainstream music industry has moved in, the soul of the band members met the devil and, like Robert Johnson, sold what they had and it is no longer about the music or people. It simply wants to make me cry, they have forsaken our spirit, and for many, our religion.

Thanks for articulating the reality so perfectly Stewart…

John Bergan ( JB) Peace Dog, Sundog/Not Fade Away/via internet

Remember Jerry 

Well said [Re: “Ladies and gentle men, not the Grateful Dead,” March 5].

This whole thing has alienated the Dead and its family, not brought them all together. I couldn’t care less about what they play. I remember Jerry. They obviously do not.

Concert Joe/New York City

Dead left me in limbo 

Agree that the ’70s were the best concerts [Re: “Ladies and gentlemen, not the Grateful Dead,” March 5]. To this day I am one of the unfortunate “in limbo” fans who sent in $862.00, did a drawing of the girl from Live Dead and two dancing bears, which took me two hours, and I have not received to date my mail order refund or an email. I have written.GDTS 3 emails and no response!

So daily I now go on Philzone, Jambands Relix for connection. You are an excellent writer — right to the heart of this clusterf-k topic!

Randi Seligman/via internet

We get it, you couldn’t get tickets 

It sounds to me like Stewart is upset that he didn’t get tickets [Re: “Ladies and gentlemen, not the Grateful Dead,” March 5]. From the announcement of the “Fare Thee Well” shows I think everyone knew this would be a tough ticket to get. None of the arguments in the article seem to have any weight to them and come off as someone whining. I think anyone who is familiar with pre-sale tickets knows that not all of the tickets are available during the pre-sale. It is so that there are tickets available when the regular sale is scheduled. This does help ticketing companies make money but it’s how the system works, and I don’t see how this is an evil scheme by the band to make more money.

The author also seems to find it amazing that tickets were put on StubHub shortly after tickets went on sale and seems to direct the blame at StubHub. StubHub is a web site that people or unfortunately sometimes tickets brokers use to resell tickets. So I don’t understand how it’s StubHub’s fault. I have used StubHub to buy and resell tickets. I have had nothing but good experiences on both ends. I don’t sell my tickets for more money then I need to make my money back, but I have bought tickets for way over ticket price. If I can’t get tickets or realize I want to go to a show after the show is sold out I expect to pay more. Again, I think everyone knew this was going to be a tough ticket, and I’m not surprised to see tickets going for huge prices.

I also think the swipe at selecting Trey Anastasio as a guest guitar player is unwarranted. Yes, I am a Phish fan. I think any of the guitar players listed in the article would have been a great selection, but Trey did play with Further last year at the Lockn Festival and has played with Phil and friends numerous times, so I don’t see that as an attempt to add to the fan base. I’m sure Trey was the guitar player that the remaining members of the Grateful Dead wanted to play with.

You also mentioned the fact that the shows will be broadcasted or streamed on the Internet for purchase. I’m happy about that, and I’m sure many others are, too. I have streamed Phish concerts and have always enjoyed the experience and don’t believe that the price typically charged for streaming shows is unreasonable. As someone who had no intention of going to the shows but would love to see them, I am looking forward to the chance to view them from the comfort of my home.

To me this article just seemed like a bunch of unwarranted complaints from someone who either couldn’t get tickets and wants to vent or didn’t have anything to write about this week or maybe both. Cheer up, Stewart, and watch it from home. You can have some friends over, split the price and have a few beers. The beers will be cheaper, too.

Evan Turner/Boulder

There is no Grateful Dead Conspiracy 

Shall we talk about why the Grateful Dead toured for so many years [Re: “Ladies and gentlemen, not the Grateful Dead,” March 5]? Shall we talk about why the Grateful Dead had to play stadium shows? Shall we talk about the relatively small amount of secondary tickets available in comparison to the 60,000 capacity for each night?

In reality, debt and drug addiction, fueled the machine that was the Grateful Dead throughout the ’80s and ’90s. This is all very well documented. To add to it, regarding the Fare Thee Well shows, there are very, very few secondary tickets available in comparison to most major concert events. The percentage is miniscule, less than 5 percent. So your theory about promoters and such hoping to sell tickets on the secondary market is blasphemous at best.

This article is nothing more than a biased, misinformed representation of one author who clearly does not understand how the music industry (nor how StubHub or eBay) works, reducing himself to finger pointing, grasping only at the negative, as if there is some sort of massive conspiracy behind the whole thing.

The numbers regarding mail order are skewed, as is your “interpretation”. About the only thing you got right is this: It’s not the Grateful Dead, this much is true. It’s a 50th Anniversary Celebration. Sorry that you were hoping this would be the same event as Winterland in ’77. Clearly you are still living in that moment, and your disdain for Trey wipes clean any credibility regarding logical guitar choices. No mention of Bruce to support your tin foil theory?

I guess you have never heard of DEMAND. I guess you failed to consider that more people (hundreds of thousands) wish to attend than the stadium can hold. I guess you do not understand simple things, like the size of the GDTS staff, how to manage stadium shows, ticket sales, etc. I guess because this event does not align with what YOU think the Grateful Dead is/ was about, your disdain clouds your reality, to the point where all you can see is a cash grab. As old as you are, you probably should know better, although its fairly evident you choose not to.

Lastly, sorry you missed out on tickets. Truly, the only “colossal rip off ” you speak of appears to be you misleading the public with biased and sensationalized theories. I saw the Grateful Dead, and I’ll be going to these shows, along with hundreds of my friends lucky enough to get tickets (whether through mail order or TM onsale). All in honor, and spirit, of the Grateful Dead.

Andy Blanton

Another bitter deadhead 

Thank you! Your article [Re: “Ladies and gentlemen, not the Grateful Dead,” March 5], just summed up, in perfect prose-like terminology, the bitterness I felt after receiving my mail-order rejection notice last week. Despite high hopes my order would be filled, I was the guy queued at spot 499,999 on Ticketmaster day attempting to ensure my attendance at this final act would be certain. We all know how that turned out.

I now imagine a 21st century Wall of Sound in Chicago adorned with hundreds of corporate sponsorships and tidy logos, giving the finest album art of yesteryears a real run for the money!

Older and now bitter. 

Chris Huber/San Diego,Calif.

 

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