The Grateful Dead and the priciest concerts of all time

Story highlights

  • Tickets for this weekend's Grateful Dead shows are among the most expensive in history
  • Average price of a seat on StubHub is in the $500 to $600 range

(CNN)This weekend, more than 200,000 aging hippies, jam-band fanatics and got-to-be-there scenesters will pack Chicago's Soldier Field for three farewell concerts by the Grateful Dead.

For many of them, it won't be cheap.
The shows sold out instantly (at $59.50 to $199.50), and the average price of a seat on the secondary market is now in the $500 to $600 range, according to StubHub, the online ticket seller.
That prices prime seats out of reach of many fans -- a strange irony for a band known for its egalitarian spirit -- and makes the Dead's final shows among the most expensive in U.S. history.
"While many believe that the band died along with (co-founder Jerry) Garcia, ticket demand on the secondary market is still continuing to prove the opposite," Jesse Lawrence wrote this week in Forbes.
Such prices would rank the Grateful Dead above such musical titans as Paul McCartney, Jay Z and U2 on the list of costliest scalpers' tickets in the StubHub era.
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But the Dead don't appear likely to set a record for the priciest concert ticket.
That would be the Rolling Stones, according to StubHub, whose December 2012 show at the Prudential Center in northern New Jersey commanded an average price of $853. It was the final stop of the Stones' 50th anniversary tour, and frenzied speculation that the band might never play live again drove prices to new heights.
The same thing is now driving up demand for Grateful Dead tickets, although many veteran musical acts -- Cher, The Who and The Eagles, to name a few -- have been known to stage "farewell" tours, only to come out of retirement a few years later.
Weighing a last-minute trip to Chicago? Tickets for Sunday night's final Dead show began at $354 Friday on StubHub and ranged up to $9,854.