Since things went so well during the weekend reunion of the Grateful Dead’s surviving members, the band has decided to go ahead with a fall tour.
“All I can say is that the fall tour was set and approved contingent on a good weekend and since it was a far better than good weekend I am certainly confident the shows will go,” said Dennis McNally, the band’s publicist and biographer.
McNally said Monday he didn’t know when tickets would go on sale for the 15-show tour of the Midwest and East Coast in November and December.
Thousands of Deadheads converged on East Troy (pop. 2,600) – a small city tucked between farm fields 40 miles southwest of Milwaukee – to see the remaining members of the Grateful Dead, now known as The Other Ones.
Saturday was the first time Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir joined forces for a major concert since founder and lead singer Jerry Garcia died of a heart attack in 1995.
The show suffered a setback in June, when Walworth County officials denied a permit for the concert, fearing authorities couldn’t handle the estimated 200,000 people it might draw for a venue that can only hold about 35,000.
The promoter, Clear Channel Entertainment, submitted a new plan with tighter security and emergency procedures and officials changed their minds.
The band sold out all 35,000 seats each day over the weekend at about $60 a ticket and officials thought that most bought tickets for both days.
The weekend was an “amazing, stunning success,” McNally said, adding he could see the band’s excitement when they did a group polka dance during Sunday’s encore.
“I am watching them hop up and down for half a minute – it was one of the most striking things I ever seen,” McNally said. “I can confidently say they had a good time.”
A total of 141 people were taken to jail during the weekend, mostly for drug possession and use, said Walworth County Sheriff David Graves said, who added that number is about normal for a concert of that size.
Fans were excited about the prospect of a fall tour.
Shane Eicher, 31, of Toledo, Ohio, who’s seen more than 90 shows, said he’ll go to the shows, but won’t follow them from venue to venue this time around.
“Now I have a daughter,” he said. “I’ll see shows but I won’t tour.”
But David Doppelt, 41, said he’ll likely use vacations and sick days to travel to see the band in the fall.
“When they get together, there is something,” said Doppelt, a Chicago health care consultant who has seen more than 100 Grateful Dead shows.