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The Grateful Dead’s long, strange, 50-year trip, to end with the four surviving members performing two concerts in Santa Clara this weekend and three more in Chicago in early July, has gotten a bit stranger.

When the Chicago concerts were initially announced early this year, Ticketmaster priced tickets from $59.99 to $199.50, but the cost went up fast. Some buyers paid over $10,000 for a single ticket, and sellers asked as much as $100,000 for a three-day passe.

As KRCB Radio’s B.J. Griffith quipped, “For the price of a ticket, I hope Jerry shows up …”

The Grateful Dead’s lead guitartist, singer and songwriter Jerry Garica, died in 1995 of a heart attack.

The farewell reunion concerts will feature bassist and singer Phil Lesh, guitarist and singer Bob Weir and drummers Mickey Hart, who lives in Occidental, and Bill Kreutzman.

When two more concerts were added, at 7 p.m. Saturday (June 27) and 6 p.m. Sunday (June 28) at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, concert industry watchers expected similar price spikes, but this past week tickets were available for as little as $15.

Whether the lower prices are mostly because the high prices scared some fans off, or partly because remaining tickets are remnants located farther from the stage, the current situation seems truer to the spirit of the band, which performed free in Bay Area parks in the ’60s.

Some fans are opting for live streams of the concerts, rather than trekking down to take seats in the stratosphere of the stadium’s back rows.

As drummer John Morrison, who serves on the board of directors of the Sonoma County Blues Society,  put it: “I’m older and lazier, but I love the Dead, since 1967. The Dead were a community institution, a way of living and playing music.”

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