Long security lines frustrate fans at Shoreline Amphitheatre's kick-off concert

Ticket-holders 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.

Concert-goers 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 ticket-holders were still outside waiting to get in the amphitheater.

Scott Wiener, a physician from Southern California 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 concert-goers 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 was also 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.

Concert-goers say a slow security checkpoint was to blame for 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 Grateful 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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23 people like this
Posted by Unacceptable
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 4, 2019 at 6:19 pm

I was not there but am astonished that Shoreline treated ticket holders so poorly. The ticket holders should all receive full refunds plus compensation for parking and other travel fees. People pay high prices for tickets and many make a lot of effort to travel to Mountain View to attend concerts. I won’t be attending events at Shoreline unless and until they improve the efficiency of their checkpoints.

20 people like this
Posted by Jack Straw
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 4, 2019 at 6:55 pm

The live nation spokes person is either lying or seriously misinformed. The live nation spokes person is either lying or seriously misinformed. They were were at least 10,000 people - maybe more - still line outside when the band started playing.

24 people like this
Posted by Jed Tennessee
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 4, 2019 at 7:07 pm

I was there and Ms Sharkey from live nation apparently wasn’t or has the same lack of commitment to the truth as President Trump. This was a mess and her suggestion that people get there early adds insult to injury. I got there 90 minutes before the show was supposed to start and was still outside when the band went on stage about 45 minutes late. The least they could do was offer a genuine apology and some indication they would try to address their mistakes, like not having a separate line for people carrying bags that took a long time to search. Instead, they offer up a weak version of “We’re sorry if anyone felt they were inconvenienced.“

18 people like this
Posted by Ship of Fools
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 4, 2019 at 8:33 pm

Live Nation spokeswoman Liz Sharkey would get a "pants on fire" rating from a fact checking organization. She makes it sound like a few people who weren't organized enough to show up with enough time to spare were the only people who had a problem. Between the traffic - always a nightmare at this venue - and the unbelievably slow moving lines waiting to get searched by security, if you didn't get off the freeway four hours before showtime you missed some or most of the first set. I've been to hundreds of concerts in dozens of location in the U.S. and other countries and I've never seen anything close to this bad. But apparently there's zero accountability for live nation. Their slogan might as well be "We've already got your money (plus huge 'service' charges), so we don;t give damn."

19 people like this
Posted by So disappointed
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2019 at 7:56 am

I arrived an hour and a half early. And I missed the whole first set. Nothing like that has ever happened before to me. It was the most disastrous disappointment I could ever imagine. All we did was drive to the parking lot, walk to the line directly. Nothing in between . And we missed the whole first set. It was difficult to enjoy the rest of the show with that having happened. When I walked ahead to see what the line situation was like further up, a live nation employee made me go back in a very rude way, like with attitude. I haven’t seen any of the band members Address this matter on Facebook. I’ve emailed live nation for a refund on my ticket, that was on Sunday and it’s Wednesday though and I haven’t heard back. I’m so relieved to see this article because I think that live nation must censor what pops up regarding their venue, the large corporation that they are. This was traumatizing for sure. I got burned.

15 people like this
Posted by JR
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2019 at 9:46 am

Guests may hate the Shoreline Amphitheatre, but residents of Mountain View and nearby cities have it worse than anyone with traffic, noise, and criminal acts (up to and including murder, in the recent past) committed by attendees. Since everyone hates the place, even the people paying to see shows, maybe it's time to shut it down?

11 people like this
Posted by Jim LaBrie
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2019 at 4:20 pm

I’ve been to at least 100 events at Shoreline, including 40-50 Dead/Dead Spin-off shows - I thought Friday was the worst spectator event experience ever ... and then Saturday happened - it was a clusterf**k of Biblical proportions - drop Liz an email - - and demand an apology

9 people like this
Posted by SHUT IT DOWN
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 5, 2019 at 5:16 pm

SHUT IT DOWN is a registered user.

Shoreline concerts consistently offer C list entertainers (with few exceptions), it is a downmarket venue that attracts a downmarket crowd. Why is it always Mountain View that has to deal with the bad element? And who pays for MVPD services after these events? Not talking about security at the venue, but throughout the city. I seriously doubt the Saratoga PD is called into Mountain Winery on a regular basis!

12 people like this
Posted by Live Nations Excuses = Fake News
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 5, 2019 at 5:22 pm

Live Nations Excuses = Fake News is a registered user.

If I remember correctly even the 4th of July concert in 2018, had long security lines, and this clearly was a family event, doubt there were a lot of drugs being smuggled in to enjoy the symphony. Liz Sharkey needs to get her act together and stop spreading Fake News. If a concert goer shows up TWO HOURS before showtime, there is no excuse in the world that they should not be in their seats at the start of the event. Boycott Shoreline Amphitheatre, maybe they will shut it down.

14 people like this
Posted by Heatbroken
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2019 at 6:00 pm

This was a heartbreaking experience for me, especially since I have so many friends who work at Shoreline, and Shoreline has undoubtedly been kind to me before. (Thank you friends). I wasn't stressed at the 90 minute drive-in from 101 to the lot because I'm a Shoreline pro, and I know to get there early. But, I was not planning on the 90 minute (at least) line to get in after I parked. I was there 3+ hours before downbeat, and somehow I spent the first set in line!? I was in those two lines longer than I was in the show. Frankly, I was unable to recover. I was completely disconnected from this show. I feel like I wasn't even there. These were expensive tickets before fees and I feel ripped off! I'm holding other Shoreline tickets, and I don't know what to expect. Will it always be like this, now? Why was it so different this time? Santana is on a Wednesday night. There's no way I can get there earlier than I did for the Dead on a Saturday.

5 people like this
Posted by Sugaree
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 5, 2019 at 6:02 pm

I was there both nights and have an even bigger reason to be annoyed. I had purchased “Fast Entry” to get through the security lines faster. In my experience, security lines have always been slow at Shoreline. But guess what? Yep, the “Fast Entry” was just as long and EVEN SLOWER! They only had 1 or 2 screening lanes against the regular line with 6+.

I can’t believe I paid extra for that. If I was Metalhead instead of a Deadhead, I would have burned the place down!

5 people like this
Posted by Deadhd1
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jun 5, 2019 at 7:14 pm

JR, where did you hear about violence up to including murder at Shoreline in the recent past? Perhaps from Liz Sharkey, who seems to specialize in BS. As a longtime Mountain View resident, I have love Shoreline for years. It is located such that it has little impact on residents and provides a nice income for restaurants, bars, and even hotels. Those working in the area travel against the Shoreline traffic, and the city does a good job with signs warning of upcoming events, I’ve now been to 7 Dead & Co events there and have had nothing but amazing experiences until Saturday. (I had VIP entry on Friday and got in early). I too am heartbroken by the changes at Shoreline and he been writing Shoreline, LiveNation and my City Council members to insist upon corrective action,

11 people like this
Posted by Another MV resident
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2019 at 8:57 pm

"JR, where did you hear about violence up to including murder at Shoreline in the recent past?"

This is not to defend Live Nation (and its seemingly either incompetent or wilfully misleading spokesperson) at all. But I am amazed to read that line quoted above from someone claiming to be "a longtime Mountain View resident." Do you pay any attention to local news? If you somehow missed the various reports (including local officials and witnesses who, in effect, rank the different styles of music by the amount of crime their Shoreline concertgoers provoke, rather consistently in fact), search here on the MV Voice and you shall be belatedly enlightened.

11 people like this
Posted by TinaJ
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2019 at 11:46 pm

This was my first show at Shoreline and I WILL NOT GO BACK EVER. We were fortunate enough to have a motorhome and after trying to get in line an hour early, and unable to see the end of the line, decided to have some snacks at the moho and wait a bit for the lines to reduce. Once we got in, not only did we miss the first half of the show, there were no spots on the lawn. This was such a disappointment. We saw the show in Vegas 2 years ago and it was perfect. Seems to me that when a concert sells out, the venue should staff accordingly???

11 people like this
Posted by Demand a refund not apology
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 6, 2019 at 6:45 am

Demand a refund not apology is a registered user.

@Jim - I would demand a refund not an apology. Your suggestion to contact is a good one, but a corporate-speak apology will accomplish nothing. If they ignore refund requests, maybe boycotting all live nation events will catch their attention!

Like this comment
Posted by Body Count
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 6, 2019 at 6:51 am

The murder was backstage at ONE concert, out of thousands that have occurred over a 30 year span. Or in other words, the same number of murders that have occurred in City Hall plaza during that time span.

8 people like this
Posted by @Deadhd1, does not impact your neighborhood
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 6, 2019 at 7:02 am

@Deadhd1, does not impact your neighborhood is a registered user.

@Deadhd1 I find it interesting that you live in a 'nice' part of town yet have the audacity to say it does not impact residents. You live no where near Shoreline, how could you possibly know how it impacts residents. And aside from the trouble created by the patrons after these concerts, someone actually WAS murdered at Shoreline. A father of three was murdered back stage at a Shoreline rap concert a few years ago, it did not happen yesterday but nevertheless, what other music venue can claim 'murder' in their lineup. Web Link

4 people like this
Posted by MV City Plaza
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2019 at 10:46 am

City Plaza, Where people get murdered.
That's called a false narrative!
True, one person was murdered in the Plaza, but is it logical or rational to say the is a place where people get murdered? Of course not, but when the argument is thin, false narratives are one's only hope.
This is in my neighborhood, and yes, there are some drama queens that live here.

3 people like this
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2019 at 11:55 am

I live close enough to walk and do so. I can hear many of the concerts in my home even with the windows closed. I was not at the recent concert.

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.

Like this comment
Posted by Body Count
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 6, 2019 at 11:58 am

@MV City Plaza - is it, then, logical or rational to say that Shoreline Amphitheatre is a place where people get murdered?

Like this comment
Posted by Count to 1
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2019 at 12:17 pm

Of course not, that again would be a false narrative.
Sarcasm! It's what's for lunch...for those who can detect the subtle taste.

2 people like this
Posted by Ray
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 9, 2019 at 12:09 am

For locals that don’t like living close to the Shoreline I say: “would you rather it was still a landfill?” I’ll bet not....

Google would not have renovated the former Sun HQ if it weren’t for the transformation that this area received as part of the Shoreline’s construction...that I am certain.

This article is really about understaffed and poorly trained entrance security and coordination at the venue. Residents are right to be concerned, frustrated music patrons don’t make great houseguests. Locals should demand efficient entrances at this venue.

Me and my wife walked to the venue and waited in line on Saturday night for almost 1 1/2 hours and missed the first and second songs of the show. With a second set that included The Other One -> Morning Dew (view below on YouTube) it was a great show even if it was a bit cool at the top of the hill midway through!

Like this comment
Posted by Jennifer Bourn
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2019 at 8:54 am

The parking lot opened at 4:30 for doors at 5:30. We got in line around 5:45 pm for a 7:00 pm start time. We've done several shows, and at least five Dead & Company shows at Shoreline in the past and this has never been a problem. For this show, Dead & Company sound-checked late and doors didn't open until after 6:00 pm, leaving less than an hour to get all 20,000+ fans in the venue. The problem is that at 6:15, the line was so long, we were at least a quarter mile away from the entrance, with thousands of people behind us and the line wasn't moving. Yes, the band didn't take the stage until just after 7:30 pm, but thousands of fans were still in non-moving lines outside the venue—and there was nothing we could do. Security was a joke. They were ridiculously understaffed and it took FOREVER to get through the 6-8 metal dectectors available. WE DIDN'T GET TO OUR SEATS UNTIL 8:30 pm, just in time to see one song before set break. We spent almost $2,000 on our three tickets and because of LiveNation, we missed half the show.

Like this comment
Posted by jasonbourne
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2019 at 2:53 pm

Dudes, first world problems at Shoreline. At least the police are getting overtime pay to pad their retirement. Ask Lenny for police escorts to Shoreline, maybe demand street side retail vendors to offer toot while you stew in line.

Caltrain schedules are real world problems on the weekend. You're either 2.5 hours early to Mountain View or 15 minutes late.

Public transportation is a joke on the weekends, generally a joke, but more so on the weekends.

Stoners, plan ahead, if possible. Too many RV's and too much traffic. Welcome the the KOA that is MV.

Note to CC, please watch the video or buy the book "Make your Bed", "Admiral William H. McRaven (U.S. Navy Retired)" As an added plus, besides the best advice ever, he is not a fan of Trump. Sound like a win/win on steering Mountain View into the future.

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

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