SARATOGA SPRINGS — The anticipated Dead & Company concert scheduled for Wednesday night was canceled just hours before.
Thousands of tie-dye-wearing fans made the pilgrimage to Saratoga Performing Arts Center Wednesday to find out the concert was canceled about four hours prior.
The announcement on SPAC’s website stated, “Due to unforeseen circumstances, tonight’s Dead & Company concert at Saratoga Performing Arts Center is canceled. Tickets purchased online through Ticketmaster or Live Nation will automatically be refunded. All other refunds can be obtained at point of purchase.”
Fans were initially unsure why the concert was seemingly suddenly canceled but did share the remainder of their tour dates were expected to be unaffected. Around 4 p.m. Wednesday, guitarist John Mayer shared that his father, “suffered a medical emergency and was transported to the ER where he received much needed and great care,” in an Instagram post. Mayer said at the time of his post his father was fairly stable and said he would have to stay in New York City and would not be able to play in the concert at SPAC that evening.
Fans were mostly understanding of the situation and continued to not let the cancellation ruin their good time browsing Dead & Company merchandise, foods, drinks and other recreational substances on Shakedown Street.
“They said they were going to reschedule, and I’ll be there too,” Mark Richardson, 57, of Rhode Island said. “Its awful I heard something happened with his father, I wish him the best and hope he gets well soon but we’re all here already. We’re all family. It’s all good with me.”
Richardson said he has been to 63 Dead concerts in his life, including three at SPAC. He explained he liked when they play SPAC, because he has an old college friend who lives nearby he can stay with.
“Its a bummer,” Dinese Thompson said. “We [she and her husband Rob] just drove three hours to get here. But this is a great town. Saratoga Springs, we love it.”
The couple drove from New York City and did not find out about the cancellation until they had reached Halfmoon, Rob Thompson said. He said he had received an email from someone else telling him about Mayer’s father. He said they have been coming to concerts since 1976 and took a break for a few years because they had children and are now going to the concerts again. The couple said they have been to over 100 shows together in that time.
Ryan and Alexa, who did not want to provide their last names, were planning on celebrating their anniversary at the concert. They met at a Dead & Company concert last year. They found out about the cancellation through word of mouth and posts they had seen on social media.
“From what we heard, we feel really horrible,” Ryan said. “We can’t feel like anything negative, it’s a tragedy, and it affects John.”
The couple drove from New Jersey to get to the concert and were able to enjoy walking around Shakedown Street for much of the afternoon.
“Its just a sad situation,” Alexa said. “I mostly feel bad for John and the band.”
The concert’s cancellation also caused potential issues for some Shakedown Street vendors.
The owner of Bam Bam’s Bake Shop, a man who goes by “Bam Bam,” said police tried to kick him out early from the event despite his having the proper permits in place. He said he is trying to get his business off the ground.
“When I got here they charged us each $100,” Bam Bam said. “Then I’ve got that permit right there, there aren’t any mentions of no refunds. It says we enter into an agreement that we’re here until 7 p.m., then 15 minutes ago Live Nation, who billed me, said I had 15 minutes to pick up and get out of here. And so I said, ‘Well give me back half my money’ and they said well they can’t do that.'”
Bam Bam said he would continue to sell his baked products.
In addition to the nearly 60 vendors with sites on Shakedown Street, other individuals walked throughout the event selling beers out of coolers they carried, hats they sold off of their heads and balloons filled with possibly illicit substances. State police were seen riding throughout Shakedown Street, popping some peoples’ balloons as they drove by.