Long security lines frustrate fans at Shoreline Amphitheatre's kickoff concert

Ticketholders complain of waiting for hours and missing start of Dead & Company show

Loyal Deadheads have been cooling their heels for a long time in anticipation of Dead & Company returning to Shoreline Amphitheatre, but they weren't expecting this kind of wait.

Concertgoers hoping to see the Grateful Dead spinoff band on June 1 say they ended up waiting in line for more than two hours to get through an understaffed security checkpoint to enter the show. Deep into the jam band's set, hundreds, if not thousands, of ticketholders were still outside waiting to get in the amphitheater.

Scott Wiener, a physician from Valencia who traveled to Mountain View for the show, said he arrived more than an hour before the Dead & Company's 7 p.m. scheduled start time. By that point, he estimated the queue of people waiting to get inside the venue was nearly a mile long. It soon became clear the line was barely moving, he said.

As the minutes ticked by, the Deadhead crowd became crestfallen as it became clear they might miss the show. Some fans attempted to cut or jump the barriers, but they were called out by others in line. Wiener said it felt like at any moment the line would fall apart and people would start rushing the entrance. It was a "fiasco," he said.

"We all wait in lines, but not like this. It took two hours for us just to give our tickets in," he said. "Deadheads are a pretty mellow bunch, but I'd hate to see it if this were a heavy metal band and this kind of thing happened."

Some concertgoers stuck in line took to Twitter to describe the situation, begging Dead & Company to hold off on starting the show. The band came on stage about 45 minutes late, but even then there were still "thousands" of people stuck outside, according to attendees. By the time Wiener and his group took their seats, they had missed about four of the band's famously drawn-out songs.

"I've been to a lot of shows, and this was the worst logistical situation that I've ever seen," said Sean Comey, a Mountain View resident who also was stuck in the line. "It was so frustrating because you could hear the band come out, and there were still thousands of people waiting to get in."

An estimated 40,000 people attended the Dead & Company's two-night appearance at Shoreline Amphitheatre, which kicked off the venue's summer concert season. Lawn tickets for the event sold for just under $50, not counting retail surcharges. Comey said he and his group had paid about $250 per ticket for their seats.

Concertgoers say a slow security checkpoint was to blame for the long wait to get inside the venue. The checkpoint, which involved about six metal detectors and mandatory bag checks, looked to be understaffed with only one person checking items per line. In some cases, it seemed to take security guards more than a minute just to inspect one bag, several attendees said. The security checkpoint wasn't a problem for the Friday, May 31, show, but it seemed especially slow for the Saturday concert.

Live Nation spokeswoman Liz Sharkey said in a statement to the Voice that the "vast majority" of fans entered the show without any major problems. She apologized to those who had to wait a long time to enter.

"We do our best to manage lines in an efficient and safe manner, and we're always assessing how to improve," she said. "We encourage fans to plan to arrive early and subscribe to venue communications for updates for the most seamless entry experience."

The grueling wait is still a sore subject for some Dead fans. Fans on Twitter pledged to never attend another concert at Shoreline. Wiener said he sent Live Nation an angry letter co-signed by an attorney to lay out his grievances.

"I was so upset that this organization was so ridiculous. Now I just want them to know the severity of how badly they screwed up," he said.


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Mark Noack writes for the Mountain View Voice, the sister publication of

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2 people like this
Posted by sequoiadean
a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 5, 2019 at 2:21 pm

sequoiadean is a registered user.

I fortunately didn't miss any of the music, but yes, the lines were terribly slow at Shoreline this past weekend. Add to that the incredibly inadequate bicycle parking (I love to bike there, but the bike racks fit only about 20 bikes total, for 22,000 people), extremely limited access to parking, and that place is just a mess. And, some of the water fountains don't even work!!! Yet they can charge $19 for a beer - go figure.

I would only go back to Shoreline if there was someone I REALLY REALLY wanted to see badly, and I can count those artists on the fingers of one hand.

My condolences to those who waited so long to get in.

2 people like this
Posted by Hugo
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 5, 2019 at 2:26 pm

Hugo is a registered user.

Similar problem though maybe to a lesser degree at the Friday night show. And you had to get there through gridlocked traffic first. I did notice that they were very short staffed at security, parking and concessions. People at security and ticket takers were clearly inexperienced and slow. Cashiers did not seem to know how to operate their machinery. Shoreline management needs to get their act together.

3 people like this
Posted by Not an A list venue, tear it down!
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 5, 2019 at 2:47 pm

The Amphitheatre has had its day, only decent event all year is the 4th of July concert. Not a venue for 'A' list performers.

5 people like this
Posted by sequoiadean
a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 5, 2019 at 2:53 pm

sequoiadean is a registered user.

I used to love going to Shoreline to see the Grateful Dead, or Phish, or the Bridge School Benefit, to name a few. But as I get older, huge venues like this are just not any fun. And when you add in the complete incompetence of the management, long lines, super high prices, etc. it's just not worth the hassle. There are many other great places to hear music in the bay area, just not Shoreline anymore.

20 people like this
Posted by Everyone Gets Older
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2019 at 2:56 pm

The Dead show crowd was far cry from those of yesteryear.

A number of overweight, aging guys (with thinning or no hair) sporting tie-dies.

The beautiful, young Deadhead gals have gone by the wayside too. A very yuppie-esque crowd. Then again, the original band was a favorite of Al & Tipper Gore's as well as Ann about extremes.

Definitely not a show for the younger crowd unless they grew-up with the music playing in the background.

It was as if the circa 1980s 'noveau Dead' crowd made it to the show en masse.

Many of them didn't even have an idea who Pigpen was or a familiarity with the tapers & cassette tape trading pastime. More of a commercialized CD/MP3 mentality.

The traditional loose, free-form style of performing is somewhat lost as well...a very rehearsed presentation. Jerry would have been mystified.

Think I'll pass on future shows. The magic has gone by the wayside and Bob Weir is now a member of the Bohemian Club. Except for a few songs, it was always about Garcia and his ethereal musical gift.

Besides, the long wait in line was enough punishment for two shows that never really took-off like in the circa 1960s-70s era. And let's not even get started on the parking.

In retrospect...just a commercialized show of minimal 'retro' proportions.

BTW, anyone interested in an all original 'Jerrymeister T'?

I think I'm going to put it in storage.

2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2019 at 3:49 pm

I went there for a concert last summer. I was very disappointed at many of the supposed amenities.

For my party, our biggest problem is that since we had arrived by foot, we had to walk right past the entrance in the opposite direction to get to the end of the security lines. Not everyone arrives by car and then having to walk back across the parking lot to get to the end of the line is wrong planning.

They need to do a much better job to facilitate those who are not arriving by car.

2 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 5, 2019 at 4:42 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

1, ironically or to the point of several posters, tonite is Palo Alto Historical Association annual dinner and Bo Crane is giving a talk --and selling his pamphlet --about the history of rock in Palo Alto, including Jerry and Billy anecdotes.
2, I thought John Mayer did a great job playing the guitar leads; but frankly, and not to dis Bob, I'd rather see John Mayer and Friends Do the Hunter and Barlow Songbook than more Dead and Co.
3, I'm excited to see Joe Russo's Almost Dead at Frost.

We may be going to hell in a bucket, but at least we are enjoying our extra hour in line remembering the good old days.

(And for me: my wife is always running late, and we stopped at Pizza Chicago, so our wait was only 28 minutes and about a half-mile from the pat-down station -- we missed "Bertha" and "Good Loving" but could hear it, or at least identify it, from outside - -and kudos that they got the word to start late, unless, like my wife, that's how they roll).

Oh, and 4, my sister in law fell in the restroom during second set and we spent the encore in Rock Medicine, but the staff there was top notch and they let us fetch our car and go counter-flow to pick her up.

12 people like this
Posted by Dead & Company = Dead & Money
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2019 at 5:45 pm

Speaking of the 'taper' culture...back in 1968 at the Fillmore West, Bob Weir once stopped a show when he discovered someone had lugged in an Ampex reel-to-reel tape deck & was recording the performance. Bill Graham then went into the audience & confiscated the tapes.

Bob Weir was always about money & his membership in the conservative Bohemian Club is not surprising. Jerry Garcia had no problem with folks taping the shows and was once quoted as saying something along the lines of, "Once the music has been played, it's gone. Who cares if someone is recording it?".

The collective remnants of the Grateful Dead is little more than a cash cow for older Deadheads and earlier soundboard recordings are now commercially available for sale.

Dead & Company is a sell-out but that's OK. Bobby is running the show(s) now & they are reflective of his commerce-oriented mentality.

The pervasive spirit of the 1960s died a long time ago...and in retrospect, were never destined to endure.

Like this comment
Posted by David Whelan
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 7, 2019 at 8:33 pm

I stood in the line. If you went to the back you were at least half a mile from the gate. What Live Nation Staff were there were completely incompetent. There were no Live Nation staff in Shoreline Park. Besides missing half the show the situation was extremely dangerous with 1,000's of fans lined up the the road exiting the park. Cars leaving the sailing lake or golf course had to navigate through fans lined up on the street.

The story in the Palo Alto times does not come close at reflecting what really happened.

Like this comment
Posted by Why No African-American Or Chinese Deadheads?
a resident of another community
on Jun 8, 2019 at 8:16 pm

Why no Chinese or African-American Deadheads? Is the Grateful Dead strictly a white audience?

Come to think of it, I've never seen an African-American at a Lynyrd Skynyrd show either.

2 people like this
Posted by details details details
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 8, 2019 at 8:56 pm

> Bob Weir is now a member of the Bohemian Club

Associate member, fwiw.

> at a Lynyrd Skynyrd show

The unveiling of a 40 foot confederate flag during Free Bird, is telling...

Like this comment
Posted by Why No African-American Or Chinese Deadheads?
a resident of another community
on Jun 8, 2019 at 9:12 pm

Why no Chinese at Grateful Dead Chinese New Year's shows either?

Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 9, 2019 at 2:07 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

What is a China Cat Sunflower anyways?

I used to manage a band that did a mean version of Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy by Brian Eno.

Wu-Tang Clan?

Wait a minute: my wife is Pinay -- what's your point?

Like this comment
Posted by Why No African-American Or Chinese Deadheads?
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2019 at 6:53 am

My earlier query was explained to me last evening by a musician. He said the reason there are no Chinese Deadheads is because the Dead play primarily in the pentatonic scale whereas the Chinese are accustomed to music played in either the Oriental and/or Chinese scale (two different music scales) where the note intervals are different.

This also explains why Grateful Dead music does not sound like Chinese party music as in those propaganda anthems created during the Mao-ist 1960s that played homage to the Chinese Communist Party regime.

There were no hippies & tie-dyes in China during that time. Importing rock music LPs from America was illegal & could land one in a prison camp as a subversive.

7 people like this
Posted by African-Americans Don't Dig The Dead
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 9, 2019 at 11:16 am

I ran this question by an African-American college classmate decades ago.

His reply...the hippie movement & psychedelic music were for white middle-class kids rebelling against their white middle-class parents. It was just a superficial fashion statement.

Most black people did not want to live like hippies because they had been forced to exist in a similar manner (in presumed poverty) for centuries in America by none other than the 'The Man' (aka the wealthy white man).

The difference was that the white middl-class kids could always revert back to their former lifestyles and many t did when they became 1980s era yuppies.

As a result, there are very few black Deadheads & as a previous poster noted, the ones who still go to these shows are aging, sometimes overweight middle-class white folks now in their 60s & 70s.

Like this comment
Posted by Rinconada Library
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 9, 2019 at 11:40 am

The San Francisco Chinese Orchestra was often the opening act at Grateful Dead Chinese New Year's concerts. A dragon dance at those concerts began the second set of music.

13 people like this
Posted by The Dead Are Dead
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 9, 2019 at 12:34 pm

> the hippie movement & psychedelic music were for white middle-class kids rebelling against their white middle-class parents. It was just a superficial fashion statement.

No kidding. The URL below is from 2017.

Believe it or not....Vogue Magazine fashion suggestions for attending the Dead shows!

Web Link

HOW PHONY & COMMERCIAL...just like the current Dead ensemble.

10 people like this
Posted by paloverdeman
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 9, 2019 at 7:22 pm

paloverdeman is a registered user.

> Vogue Magazine fashion suggestions for attending the Dead shows!

Those are definitely fashion models. I used to catch the Dead shows regularly from the late 60s to about 1988 & many of the younger Deadhead gals actually looked like the ones depicted. Not any more.

For some reason, watching older women in their late 60s to early 70s wearing counterculture attire & 'kelp dancing' to the music lacks a certain something...just not as sensual (or as visually appealing) compared to 'back in the day'. Oh well.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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