Phil Lesh, bassist and a founding member of the Grateful Dead, has agreed to a unique and (hopefully) mutually beneficial touring agreement with Peter Shapiro, the Brooklyn-based owner and promoter of venues the Brooklyn Bowl and Port Chester’s Capitol Theater, according to a story in the New York Times. The agreement will have Lesh performing at the Capitol Theater over two dozen times next year, along with shows at Shapiro’s other venues, which will soon include both a Las Vegas and London iteration of the successful Brooklyn Bowl.
According to the report, Lesh will essentially be on Shapiro’s payroll in exchange for control of the ticketing, merchandising and recorded rights of the concerts. The agreement was the result of Lesh’s desire to perform regularly, while avoiding the grind of a regular touring schedule, and Shapiro’s eye for opportunity (and long-established Grateful Dead fandom — Shapiro was instrumental in the bookings of jam band-loving Manhattan venue Wetlands in the ’90s). Shapiro is banking on the evergreen rapaciousness of Grateful Dead fans to fill the Capitol and Brooklyn Bowl through Lesh’s noteworthy set of dates.
The deal resembles the agreements that Jay Z and Justin Timberlake have previously made with Live Nation, where hefty advances were given in exchange for performance guarantees — at least some of precipitated the release of “The 20/20 Experience” earlier this year.