By Mike Reynolds — Special to TVWeek
The five Grateful Dead reunion shows are long sold-out, but for those not lucky or rich enough to own ducats there are options to see four of the band’s original members and guests without draining the bank account.
Live Alliance is broadcasting the “Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead” goodbyes from Chicago’s Soldier Field on July 3-5. MultiVision Media is distributing the live shows, which will be available to satellite and cable operators.
According to MultiVision executive producer Brian Ricco, the three shows from Chicago will run five hours apiece from 8 p.m.- 1 a.m. (ET), with an intermission, and a pyrotechnical conclusion. Pricing is $29.99 per night. Ricco said MultiVision is all making the three-show package available to distributors for $69.
Fathom Events will also host the trio of Chicago shows in select theaters over Independence Day weekend.
For those who want to savor all five of the last performances of Dead survivors Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, along with Phish’s Trey Anastasio (guitar), Bruce Hornsby (piano) and Jeff Chimenti (keyboards), the two shows from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on June 27 and 28, will also be available via streaming. The web streaming package for all five nights will be available for $79.95 during a May 1-15 presale period.
The PPV shows will be helmed by CNBC reporter Steve Liesman, flanked by noted Deadhead, the old redhead, basketball great Bill Walton. During the intermission, the PPV telecasts will sport live fan interviews, taped segments with special guests and a short Dead documentary from Justin Kreutzmann, the drummer’s son.
The events also will be available through video-on-demand for 45 days.
These options will expand the audience for the shows, promoted by Mark Shapiro, beyond the 210,000 ticket-holders at Soldier Field and the 130,000 at Levi’s Stadium. The concert quintet sold out immediately and have left those on the outside without a way in beyond high-priced secondary market entry.
The band members vow that the Chicago shows will mark the end of their long strange trip, and come 20 years after Jerry Garcia last performed with his Deadmates in the Windy City in July 1995. A month later, Garcia died of a heart attack.
Ricco said the Fare Thee Well shows will start at 8 p.m. and run through 9:30 p.m. After taking a 45-minute break, the band will return for a two-hour second set, finishing at 12:15 a.m. or thereabouts. An encore will follow.
Shapiro owns Brooklyn Bowl, as well as the revamped Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y., a favorite haunt of the Dead during their early days. Since opening the refurbished venue in September 2012, Shapiro has attracted Dead members in various iterations, including Lesh and Weir’s now disbanded Further, on multiple occasions.
Lesh held a New Year’s Eve concert there last year, which involved Live Alliance, MultiVision and In Demand conducting a PPV event.
Live Alliance and MultiVision also released Lauryn Hill’s July 2014 concert from Brooklyn Bowl.
The author of this piece, Mike Reynolds, is a veteran media and sports reporter and was most recently the news editor at Multichannel News. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-320-6532. We appreciate Mike making this original piece available to TVWeek.