Deadheads are still alive and well! And though Dead & Company had to cancel the band’s remaining 2017 dates after John Mayer’s emergency appendectomy, Pollstar now has the band’s complete 2017 data, which clearly show the vitality of the band’s active fanbase.
For the uninitiated, Dead & Company consists of Grateful Dead vets Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann and Bob Weir with good “company” in Mayer, Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti. It isn’t called the Grateful Dead, but it’s the closest fans can get since the death of Jerry Garcia and their 2015 “Fare Thee Well” 50th anniversary reunion shows..
Dead & Co played 33 headline shows on the year, reporting 613,025 tickets and grossing $51,775,904, meaning the group averaged $1,991,380. Their full schedule essentially was split into two routings: one that started May 27 in Las Vegas and ended July 1 in Chicago; and the other starting Nov. 12 in New York and ending in Austin’s Frank Erwin Center. The first leg was a mix of arenas, amphitheatres and stadiums, while the second was purely arenas.
The group also appeared at one festival, Band Together Bay Area at AT&T Park Nov. 9 in San Francisco to benefit Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund and organizations helping low-income communities recover and rebuild after the North Bay fires, though that data hasn’t yet counted towards any of their totals.
The most profitable markets on the year were the ones that got two-night stands at sizeable venues: Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles; Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif.;
The biggest gross was at Wrigley Field, were they reported a whopping 79,489 tickets June 30 and July 1, earning $6,357,746. Tickets for those shows ranged from $65-$85.
One thing that stands out about Dead & Company’s spring/summer routing is that venue sizes varied widely. Some of the baseball stadiums had max capacities in the 20,000-30,000 range and Wrigley capped at 43,428 for two nights, with 91 percent attendance.
Yet in other markets the guys often plateaued around 10,000-12,000 attendees per show. This meant that in venues like Ak-Chin Pavilion in Phoenix they reported 12,662 tickets. For pretty much any act in the world those are respectable numbers, but the max capacity was 19,250, meaning there were 6,588 empty seats.
That said, no one can accuse Dead & Company of stiffing as even for their smaller shows they were grossing more than half a million dollars. The lowest gross on the year was KeyBank Pavilion June 15 when they moved 13,514 tickets and earned $689,530. Ticket prices also swung widely at that show, with the low end rounding up to $25 and the high end $150.
In general, cheap seats were nearly always available throughout the summer, with most shows featuring a low-end ticket in the $25-$45 range. The winter leg saw a low end almost universally set at $50.
Looking ahead, John Mayer is still recovering from surgery and three Dead & Company gigs that he had to miss were rescheduled to February in next year. Those are the only dates the band currently has on the books.
Bob Weir and Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh just announced a three-city tour for March 2018 and John Mayer is playing Controlled Danger in Inglewood, Calif., Dec. 31 with Dave Chappelle and “Boak’s Bash,” a celebration of artist, writer, woodworker and musician Dick Boak of Martin Guitar with Steve Miller and others at State Theatre Center For The Arts in Easton, Penn., Jan. 6.