THE LOOP — If you got stuck in a long line behind Grateful Dead fans at the post office last week, know this: You were not alone.
The band said more than 60,000 individual envelopes flooded into the California post office box collecting orders from Deadheads trying to get tickets for the band's reunion shows in Soldier Field this summer.
It's the first time since guitarist Jerry Garcia died in 1995 that the band is playing under the name The Grateful Dead. And band members said the three shows — July 3-5 — will be their last as The Grateful Dead.
Soldier Field's capacity for football games is 61,500, although more can pack in for concerts. Relix.com reported that the 60,000 fans who mail-ordered for tickets asked for more than 360,000 tickets in total, meaning many fans will be left disappointed and get their postal money orders back.
Because of the influx, the Dead canceled all other preorders, leaving just a Feb. 28 Ticketmaster ticket release. How many tickets made available to Ticketmaster was not disclosed.
As is the custom, the band offered advance tickets sales for fans willing to jump through a series of hoops and send away for tickets. Fans had to pony up money for money orders in all the different combinations of costs associated with the tickets. Then they had to send a self-addressed stamped envelope and a 3-by-5 index card detailing what tickets they wanted.
The process led to long lines at post offices around Chicago — and around the country — as fans methodically had postal clerks print out their money orders.
As is also the custom, the band encouraged fans to decorate their envelopes, leading to brightly colored submissions. Fans jockey for the fanciest envelopes in hopes of getting better tickets.
The reunion shows will unite original Grateful Dead members Mickey Hart, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann. Joining them will be Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio, keyboardist Bruce Hornsby and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti.
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