The three Chicago shows sold out through Ticketmaster in minutes, the long-defunct Grateful Dead suddenly a hotter summer ticket than the Stones or Taylor Swift. But among the “Deadheads,” the group’s hard-core fans, all was not well.
“An outright tragedy,” Stewart Sallo wrote in the Huffington Post, “that perhaps the most beloved band in history has put itself in a position to be remembered for participating in the biggest money grab in music history.”
That’s when a very Dead thing happened. Promoter Pete Shapiro, who organized the multimillion-dollar gigs, tracked down Sallo’s cell number. They talked and e-mailed. By the time the band announced two additional shows in California a few weeks later, Shapiro used a lottery system, outside Ticketmaster, to handle the hundreds of thousands of requests.
“I’m convinced Pete Shapiro’s heart is in the right place,” Sallo says now, “and I don’t think you can expect these guys to work for free.”
The path to “Fare Thee Well,” kicking off June 27 in Santa Clara, Calif., and wrapping July 5 in Chicago, would be one of the strangest musical stories of the year, except it concerns the Grateful Dead, a band that’s rarely done anything normal. In their heyday, they seriously considered selling all of their music from roaming ice cream trucks, blew a fortune gigging at the base of the pyramids in Egypt and took their lead from guitarist Jerry Garcia, a brilliant, heroin-addled addict who proudly called the band “leaderless.” Now, with Phish singer/guitarist Trey Anastasio and singer/keyboardist Bruce Hornsby enlisted, the four remaining members — guitarist Bob Weir, 67, bassist Phil Lesh, 75, and drummers Bill Kreutzmann, 69, and Mickey Hart, 71 — have set aside their differences to celebrate the group’s legacy and say goodbye.
Jolie addresses women’s rights
At an African Union summit in South Africa, actress Angelina Jolie, who is also a United Nations special envoy on refugee issues, spoke Friday about rape as a weapon of warfare and asked African representatives to support women’s rights. Jolie shared a panel with the African Union Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, former British Foreign Secretary William Hague and other delegates.
Unsold: Six letters by “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee to one of her close friends failed to sell at auction Friday. The archive had been expected to bring as much as $250,000 at Christie’s, which said the bidding did not reach the reserve price. The signed and typed letters were written to Lee’s friend, New York architect Harold Caufield.