Since Dead & Company formed in 2015 on the heels of the historic Grateful Dead “Fare Thee Well” two-city summer event that grossed over $52 million across five shows, the band has staged tours in North American cities every year except 2020. Annual grosses have ranged from a low of $20.8 million, recorded during the group’s inaugural year, to a total of $58.3 million in 2019, the record high at the time for a single year of touring.
But “The Final Tour,” scheduled to wrap on July 16, will easily surpass that figure and yield the highest annual gross ever recorded on the road during the band’s eight-year run. More specifically, projections show that the overall gross from ticket sales should reach $100 million or higher for the first time in the group’s touring history.
Ticket sales at all but the final five shows on the 2023 tour – from the opening night on May 19 at Kia Forum in Los Angeles through the recent three-night engagement at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado, that kicked off the month of July – produced a box-office haul of $88.6 million from 683,565 sold tickets at 24 performances. That’s 52 percent higher than the 2019 gross which remained the highest on record for the band until now.
The prospect of a $100 million tour would not have been a possibility without the stadium-heavy schedule planned during the last month of the trek. Grosses at 10 stadium shows that have already occurred this year total $54.4 million, which alone accounts for over half of a potential $100 million sum.
But with an average gross of $5.44 million, based on past stadium dates, the three upcoming concerts at San Francisco’s Oracle Park that will wrap the tour on July 14-16 could add another $16 million to the tour coffers. That alone will move the gross sum over the $100 million mark, and it doesn’t even include the one outstanding engagement yet to be reported: a two-show stint at The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington on July 7-8.
Amphitheater shows on the tour have averaged $2.4 million per show, based on reports at the 12 shed dates already completed this year, so the two shows at The Gorge could potentially add $7.2 million more. Altogether, the band should see grosses in the $110 million range when all the box-office figures from the farewell trek are tabulated.
That’s about one-fourth of all the grosses reported during Dead & Company’s entire career which stretches back to Oct. 29, 2015, and the first tour’s opening night performance at Times Union Center in Albany, New York. Since the debut tour, ticket sales from 215 shows have been reported to Pollstar with overall grosses totaling $434.3 million from almost 4.1 million sold tickets.
Among the noteworthy highlights chronicled in the group’s archived box-office history, the highest individual gross on record is the most recent one reported. With $13.4 million in sales, the three shows at Folsom Field earned the most for a single engagement. It is one of only two during the band’s touring career that featured three performances – the other, a three-night run at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles in October 2021 that drew over 50,000 fans.
Other gross records include the biggest box-office take at an arena: $5.3 million at Kia Forum that hosted the opening night show on this year’s tour. The arena moved 28,346 tickets at two sellouts in May. Then, the highest gross at an amphitheater is $5 million, recorded at the three-show Hollywood Bowl event in 2021.
Looking at the best-attended events during the group’s headlining history on the road, it is once again the recent Folsom Field shows that set the record for most tickets sold. The concerts produced a ticket tally of 131,450 during the first three days of July with ticket prices ranging from $65.60 to $165.
Along with the yearly tours, Dead & Company has also hosted a winter outdoor beach event in Mexico dubbed “Playing in the Sand.” The four-day musical event was staged at the Riviera Maya on the Mexican Caribbean coastline and produced in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Reported grosses from all three years combined total $52 million.