I have very mixed feelings about something like this. It's crazy to think that about 35 years ago I was driving a few hours from my hometown in White Plains, New York, to Giant Stadium to party in the parking lot and try to scalp some tickets for the show. "I need a miracle," you might say, putting up a peace sign with a joint hanging out of your mouth. Those were good days.
Fast forward a few short decades: Jerry is dead, and the boys got back together with John Mayer and a few other session guys. They are bringing the songs back to life. It's a funny thing for me, just the other day I heard Ripple on the radio driving home from work, and I still know all the words. Some things never leave you.
If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
Would you hear my voice come through the music?
Would you hold it near as it were your own?
It's a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken
Perhaps they're better left unsung
I don't know, don't really care
Let there be songs to fill the air
Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow
But before I get into the more complicated feelings I have about this, let's just get the facts out there. Ticket sales are coming up in about a week. And for all I know, it will sell out quickly, so if you're interested put that date in your calendar and have your credit card ready.
January 14-17, 2023 | Moon Palace Cancún
Alumni Pre-Sale begins Thursday, August 18th @ 1 PM ET
Public On Sale begins Friday, August 19th @ 1 PM ET
I would also like to point out that John Mayer is clearly doing a fantastic job. From his perspective, this must be a dream gig. He is absolutely an accomplished lead guitarist, and his voice is a great match for the music. He's got some of that blue-eyed soul going on, and not to get too sentimental about it, but I would imagine Jerry Garcia is smiling down on him and the job he's doing. So that's a big positive.
Now for the negative: the price point just seems intensely high. When I think back to my scrappy days as a teenager trying to find $40 or $60 for a nosebleed ticket, it just seems a little bit out of control that we have grown those costs by a factor of 100. Because here's the thing: it's a package deal, so you're buying into four nights of music, four different concerts, and four nights of accommodation. And although it does say that food options are included, in a place Iike Cancún I have to believe some thing are going to cost extra. So if ticket prices start at about $3000 per person, you could easily double that in terms of all-in cost, especially considering that you still have to get there. So that's where you lose me: I don't know how something like this can be appealing for anyone other than the original boomers that have already been to see the band a number of times. I guess my point is they are clearly not trying to appeal to new fans in any way; they're just trying to monetize that wistful sense of 'days gone by' that I remember a little bit from the Los Lobos tribute. And as far as I can tell there's no new music: it's all just old Dead tunes—which for some might be a positive. Clearly they are honoring the past in a significant way.
And, to be fair, if—for example—someone wanted to offer me a press pass to this kind of event I would be happy to go and write something about it. But in terms of spending basically a month's salary on four nights of overpriced margaritas and a bunch of songs I've already heard, I'm just not seeing the appeal.
But you do you. In a lot of ways they have never sounded better, and maybe it could be fun to pretend for a few days that nothing has changed since Brent Mydland died in 1990, which was when I personally decided to move on from my Deadhead past.
If you've got the money—go for it.