Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA

Capacity 22,000

Shoreline Amphitheatre is an outdoor amphitheater. It was built from 1985-86 by the city of Mountain View in cooperation with local promoter Bill Graham. It's a large outdoor theater with 22,000 seats, 15,000 of which are unreserved lawn seats. The amphitheatre opened in 1986 and regularly brings in top musicians.(2)

Situated on over 60 acres in the heart of Silicon Valley, Shoreline boasts one of the world’s largest tent structures.(3)

Shoreline was not built with the Grateful Dead in mind; the Steal Your Face from above myth is just that.

The only people to ever call the place "the dump" were/are Dead Heads, who are the only fans who pay any real attention to venues at all. "The Dead at the Dump" was a popular, and IMO good-natured, at times even affectionate phrase that showed up on shirts and stickers almost from the bands first appearance there in '87.

In its opening year, a fan attending a Steve Winwood concert flicked a cigarette lighter and ignited methane that had been leaking from a landfill underneath the theatre. Several small fires were reported that season. After those incidents the city of Mountain View commissioned methane testing studies, to define the locus of methane vapors emanating from the soil within the amphitheater.[1] These tests were used in developing a design for improved methane monitoring and more efficient methane extraction to assure the amphitheater became safe as an outdoor venue. Ultimately, the lawn was removed, a gas barrier and better methane removal equipment was installed, and then the lawn was re-installed. After they rebuilt the methane containment/burnoff system the 2nd year there has never been another "burst of flame". The rest of that story is a myth.

There is AMPLE leg room in the reserved sections, designed that way not for dancing but because of the very wide sections, which almost all have 40 - 60 seats in each row, and also because when they originally built the place they didn't grade it properly, so the reserved sections don't have the rake originally designed.

The sightlines are generally really bad there because of the slight rake along with the 2.5 foot stage, which WAS Bills idea, so that it would be more intimate. Which it very much is, for the first 25 rows or so; for the other 20,000+ people the low stage creates an effect like looking the wrong way through binoculars, and if the crowd is standing no one under 6-feet tall can see much.

And yes, it does have a lot of rest room access, especially for women, but if you're on the lawn it can be difficult to get to them if it's a full house, and amazingly the original venue design had ZERO disabled areas, something that has been improved on over the years but is still a challenge at times.

Overall the worst thing about the place, other than how generally crappy the sound is on the lawn (and sound restrictions do not play into that; another myth) is traffic getting in, and especially getting out. It can be brutal.

Ultimately Shoreline is a very large, generic shed, and as very large generic sheds go it's not too bad. There are many that are worse, and a few that are better, but they're all generic sheds in the end.

The premiere season was during the Summer of 1986; it was planned to open with a concert by The Grateful Dead, who had to cancel, due to Jerry Garcia's coma.
Jerry performed here on
10/2/87 Grateful Dead
10/3/87 Grateful Dead
10/4/87 Grateful Dead
9/30/88 Grateful Dead
10/1/88 Grateful Dead
10/2/88 Grateful Dead
6/18/89 Grateful Dead
6/19/89 Grateful Dead
6/20/89 Grateful Dead
9/29/89 Grateful Dead
9/30/89 Grateful Dead
1-/1/89 Grateful Dead
6/15/90 Grateful Dead
6/16/90 Grateful Dead
6/17/90 Grateful Dead
9/1/90 JGB
5/10/91 Grateful Dead
5/11/91 Grateful Dead
5/12/91 Grateful Dead
8/16/91 Grateful Dead
8/17/91 Grateful Dead
8/18/91 Grateful Dead
1/26/92 JGB
5/23/92 Grateful Dead
5/24/92 Grateful Dead
5/25/92 Grateful Dead
5/21/93 Grateful Dead
5/22/93 Grateful Dead
5/23/93 Grateful Dead
8/14/93 JGB
8/25/93 Grateful Dead
8/26/93 Grateful Dead
8/27/93 Grateful Dead
7/1/84 Grateful Dead
7/2/94 Grateful Dead
7/3/94 Grateful Dead
9/16/94 Grateful Dead
9/17/94 Grateful Dead
9/18/94 Grateful Dead
6/2/95 Grateful Dead
6/3/95 Grateful Dead
6/4/95 Grateful Dead

1.)^Methane testing in the vicinity of landfill environs, EMI prepared for the City of Mountain View, Ca., 1986-87

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