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The 5h Guide to the
15th Annual Bridge School Benefit

Shoreline Amphitheatre
Mountain View, CA
October 20 & 21, 2001

Click for Mountain View, California Forecast "We have both sides of the fish going...the soft underbelly and the hard stuff on the back." --EV on playing acoustically at Bridge


Tentative Saturday Order: The order will be: R.E.M., Dave Matthews, PJ, then Young Neil. These will be preceded by Jill Sobule opening, and then Billy Idol, Ben Harper and Tracy Chapman earlier in the day (we don't know who is before whom). We don't have times yet. When and if we do we will post. Expect a longer than usual (well, longer than usual for Bridge, that is) set for PJ this year!
Sunday Order: We don't have the order yet, but both PJ *and* R.E.M. will be going on EARLY IN THE DAY since they both have Groundwork 2001 the next day. We will post times and lineups if we have them.

Our Bridge Mini-Guide is now available!

The lineup:
Jill Sobule, Billy Idol, Tracy Chapman, Dave Matthews (solo), Ben Harper (solo) PJ, R.E.M. Neil Young.

WEBCAST: It's definite. No webcast this year. The Bridge School does not want their webcast to conflict with any of the September 11 benefit concerts (which are being web cast) that same weekend. Sorry, folks.

Shoreline has increased security checks for all concertgoers. People attending shows now are reporting intensive searches of all bags and people. This is a contrast to the past when Shoreline was a fairly laid-back venue on this issue. Our point: ALLOW FOR EXTRA TIME. Don't show up at showtime and expect to be able to breeze in like you have in previous years. Blankets and backpacks are allowed, but NO COOLERS. Food is allowed in plastic bags. No cans or bottles or knives of ANY KIND.

Tickets for both days of Bridge '01 went on sale September 24 and pretty much sold out, although random tickets will likely continue to appear up until the day of show. Prices are $48.25 pavilion/$38.50 lawn.
Here's the Ticketmaster link if you want to keep trying.

We continue to add questions to our FAQ section at the bottom of the page. Please read through that before sending your question.

bridge school benefit basics:

It seems like every PJ fan in the world plans to make it to Mountain View in October. A few things to keep in mind:

Despite what you may be told, tickets for this concert are notoriously difficult to come by. That does not mean impossible, it just means extremely difficult, and you should be prepared to sit on the lawn. These are big events in the Bay Area and many people attend no matter who the lineup involves.

To illustrate our point: for the last few years, the situation at the Ticketmaster outlets in the Bay Area has been that first person in line gets 100 section tickets, the second and maybe third gets 200 level, and everyone else gets lawn. 100 level tickets are very scarce, as they go to the Bridge School families, and artist guest list tickets. There are very few open to the general public, and those unfortunately seem to fall into the hands of scalpers more often than not. The tickets go very very fast no matter who is performing. Do NOT count on picking up tickets day of show if you are travelling any kind of distance. Have a lawn ticket in your hand. You can probably sell it later if you manage to find a pavilion seat.

Bridge tickets are sold through Ticketmaster. This isn't a show that will have an internet pre-sale. Traditionally, the tickets go on sale in early September, shortly after the full lineup is announced. Tickets usually go on sale on a Sunday morning. If you don't live in the Bay Area, you will have to rely on the web, or calling Ticketmaster numbers in the area. This is important and we cannot stress this enough: You cannot walk up to your local TM outlet and buy tickets if you live outside of the area. Bridge is NOT a national event. There is no doubt on this point. It has been this way for 15 years. There is not suddenly some big change because PJ are playing for the fifth time. We will try to post phone numbers closer to the day. If you need a basic primer on how to buy tickets through Ticketmaster, there are links at the bottom of the page to two helpful articles. We'll have more specific details when there are specific details.

The concert takes place RAIN OR SHINE. Sometimes we are lucky and the weather is perfect (although cold!) as it was in 1999. Sometimes we aren't so lucky and it rains, like it did last year. Shoreline is not a covered venue - there is a canopy that barely shelters the front pavilion seats, but if you are in the 200s or on the lawn, you will get wet. There is really only one place you can go to get out of the rain, and that's the bar, and you can only get in there if you're 21+. Keep this in mind when making your decision about whether or not to attend.

where we are

Mountain View is in the heart of Silicon Valley, California, located in between San Jose and San Francisco. It's about 10-20 minutes from San Jose, and 45 minutes-1 hour to San Francisco. (This is when there is no traffic, and there is almost always traffic in California.)

getting there:

Plane: San Jose (SJC) is closer, and in most cases significantly cheaper than flying into San Francisco (SFO), not to mention less of a nightmare. (SFO has so much traffic that on-time arrivals and departures are somewhat of a rarity -- not to mention fog-related delays. We've circled for an hour and a half when it was clear and sunny.) If you're just flying in for the show, we strongly recommend flying into San Jose if you can. You *can* fly into Oakland (OAK), but you should only choose this option if you have a significant financial advantage since it is quite a distance (45-60 minutes away). If you need to fly out Sunday night, Oakland is not your best choice.

If you're looking for airfares, we (once again) recommend; however, we've also had excellent results lately with Cheap Tickets and Orbitz; we'd strongly recommend checking them all, as well as sanity checking your fares against the web site of the airline you plan on flying.

Leaving Sunday night: In the past, many people have chosen to fly home late Sunday night. Pearl Jam have always gone on early enough in the evening that this has been a possibility, even though it meant missing at least Neil and perhaps one other act, as well as the encore jam session. However, this year, it's possible that PJ could go on later than they usually have, so to do this is a serious gamble. We will not know the exact lineup until the day of the shows, so this isn't something you can wait for.

Getting Around: Yes, you need a car to get around, or someone willing to transport you. If you are under 25 (but over 21), Enterprise will rent to you. If you are under 21, you are going to have to find someone over 21 who can rent a car and drive you around. One note: If you reserve a car from one of the more inexpensive rental companies, and arrive at SJC on Saturday, be prepared for a LONG WAIT. It never fails. You might want to have a backup, even if it's a few dollars more, in case there's a line, long wait, or no cars (even though you've reserved one; it's happened).

Bus: Greyhound to San Jose or San Francisco. But, then you have the problem of how to get around to the venue and your hotel.

Public Transportation: This information is from 1999. If any locals have updates, please write and let us know. We are not local to the area so we cannot speak to the veracity of this information. You are advised to verify it yourself before depending on this. From San Francisco, the easiest way to do it is to take Caltrain to Castro Station, and then take bus #40 right to Shoreline (or take a cab). Caltrain is a train that runs all the way down the peninsula from SF to below San Jose. You can catch it from SF, SFO (there are shuttles from the airport terminals), San Jose and a number of points in between. Check out the Samtrans web site for schedules for Caltrain as well as bus service on the peninsula.

The other problem with that bus is that it stops running EARLY, around 6 or so on the weekend. You can take the bus from Caltrain to the venue but will have to take a cab back.

The biggest problem with this scenario is that the show on Saturday will likely run too late. You're advised to closely check out schedules of trains and buses (and keep the starting and ending times of the shows well in mind) before deciding to rely on this method.

For local transit info, see the list of helpful links below.

Car: Shoreline is right off Highway 101 in Mountain View. There are two exits: Amphitheatre Parkway (Rengstorff Ave.) is the northernmost, Shoreline Blvd. is the southernmost. Follow the traffic east from either (take a left if you're coming from the north, a right if you're coming from the south). A tip from a local: take the 2nd exit whichever direction you come from -- that is, if you come from the south, drive past Shoreline to Amphitheatre, if you come from the North, drive past Amphitheatre to Shoreline.

Parking at the venue: infomation is below.

The Shoreline web site has basic info.

where to stay

San Francisco: Without a doubt, one of the world's great cities. However, hotels are significantly more expensive than the San Jose area. You can stay down near the venue and day trip up to SF if you are so inclined, but we don't recommend staying there if you're just coming out for the weekend.

San Jose: Staying near the San Jose airport is a reasonable and possibly prudent option, especially if you have an early morning flight on Monday. It's not convenient or advantageous to stay in downtown San Jose, because there are many options in the immediate area of the venue.

Our recommendation would be to find something along 101 in Mountain View or nearby, such as in Sunnyvale or Palo Alto. There are many inexpensive options in the area. You also go to the aforementioned and look for hotels by plugging in the address of the venue (One Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA); it will then give you a list of hotels that are near the venue. However, this doesn't exactly give you the most budget-conscious accommodations. For those, find someone with an AAA membership and get their California guide.

the venue

Seating chart: Originally appropriated from a "ticket broker's" site, this seating chart is the best one we've found (the seating chart on the Shoreline web site being completely useless if you are playing the upgrade game).

Parking: We don't know what the parking situation is this year. Hopefully, one of our Shoreline sources will read this and get in touch. It's a bitch to get out of the lots; takes forever. Count on this.

Background: Shoreline Amphitheatre was designed and built by the late Bill Graham. It is a very cool venue to see a concert, and is regarded as one of the country's premier venues. The 'legend' goes that it was built "specifically for Deadheads."

The lower half of the pavilion and the stage are covered by a canvas canopy. The upper half of the pavilion, and the lawn, are open. The seating area itself is surrounded by walkways and open spaces with food vendors and the like and places you can just hang out. There are video monitors all over so you can follow what's going on inside while you're grabbing a beer or getting a bite to eat (or more likely, RUNNING to the bathroom in-between sets or during the set of a band you don't particularly care for -- this is a long show, and as the night goes on, the lines get longer and longer. Tip: head for a bathroom further away from the seating area, you'll walk farther but the lines will be shorter.)

If you don't like the act that's onstage, the polite thing to do would be to get up and take a walk, especially if you want to talk to your friends instead of watching the show. This is an all-acoustic show, so it's a quieter than your standard rock show, and a conversation can really disturb your neighbors' enjoyment of the show. [In case you're wondering, this statement is because I've had too many Bridge sets ruined by chattering PJ fans, and have heard similar complaints from people in other band's communities about the behavior of the people behind or near them wearing PJ shirts. In 1996, a bunch of rude Pearl Jam fans talked loudly and complained all through Patti Smith's set. In 1997, a bunch of rude Metallica fans did the same thing through Lou Reed's set. In 1999, we had people who chattered loudly through EVERYTHING except PJ and the Who. Maybe these folks don't go to a lot of shows, but since there's already an opinion that Pearl Jam fans are jerks towards any band except PJ, maybe we should think about not propagating it.]

Weather: The #1 piece of email we got after Bridge 1999 was: "Thank you for being a pain in the ass about how cold it was going to be. You were right. We wore everything that we brought." For those who haven't been to Bridge before, here we go again:

Shoreline is built on a coastline. Once that sun goes down, it gets COLD. We're not talking cold by Southern California standards, we're talking cold by ANYONE's standards. If the weather is nice, you will be leaving for the venue and it'll be clear, sunny and warm, and you'll bring only a denim jacket. If you do that, you will freeze your ass off. Period. Ask anyone who has ever gone to Bridge. It gets cold at night. If you are on the lawn, you are 10 times colder than the people in the pavilion.

Bring winter coats, hats, scarves, gloves, blankets (we need to check and see if blankets will be allowed on the lawn, since they weren't when PJ played Shoreline in 2000). Be sure you have packed raingear - you can buy inexpensive plastic camping ponchos anywhere for under $5. (Shoreline does sell emergency ponchos but they are more like wearing a big plastic garbage bag. You want something more substantial than that. Don't count on these. Plus, if it rains, *everyone* wants them and they may run out.) Remember that wool will keep you warm even when it is wet, so maybe invest in some wool socks. Some people brought hand and foot warmers in 1999 and were happy they did.

The point is: bring your winter clothes. Bring a blanket or two. Bring rain gear. You can dump it at your seat while you wander the grounds if you're lucky enough to get a seat, and if you're on the lawn, you will need it to use to claim space. It's not very fun nor enjoyable to be shivering. We can't stress this enough. These are long concerts.

Is the lawn worth it?: We got this question a lot in 1999. There are video screens, and there's some debate as to whether the sound is really loud enough up there. The Shoreline web site has a little app where you can put your mouse cursor over the various seating sections and see the "view" from there.

If it rains, you're in the middle of it. There's a long hike up to the lawn from the entrance to the venue, and you'll want to get in line early Saturday and Sunday to be at the front of the lawn. You can't easily move around once you've claimed your lawn space unless there is a large group of you. We're not trying to say "Don't go," we're just stating the reality of things.

GET THERE EARLY: Traditionally, Neil opens the show by welcoming the crowd and playing a song. That means you will probably want to be in your seats by the time marked on the ticket.

On that note, if you have to pick up tickets at the box office day of show, REALLY get there early. The lines are always, always horrendous, and they get worse the closer it gets to showtime. The box office opens at 10am, so you could swing by there any time after that, get your tickets, and then go about your business and come back later.

frequently asked questions

I am going to tape and I am concerned about security. Please tell me how I can sneak my equipment in.
If you have to ask that question, then you probably shouldn't even try. You are not the only person in the community planning to tape. Trust us that this event is covered not only by the PJ community, but by members of other bands' communities as well.

I want to go to a ticket broker. How much should I expect to pay? Or, is this a good price for these seats? Or, I got shut out/want pavilion seats/missed the ticket sale, what can I do?
Don't even send us the scalper questions, we're just gonna delete 'em. Yes, it's your money to do with what you like, we don't have to support it though. There is a ticket trading page set up by a fan, all tickets being sold at face value - see our links section at the bottom.

You say PJ are playing 40-60 minutes. Does that mean total over the two nights?
No, it means each night. PJ play on both days. Unless specified, all bands play both days.

Why is Bridge acoustic?
This answer comes from David Crosby's book Stand and Be Counted:

"Neil puts a lot of time into planning the Bridge School shows, and the acoustic format is something he's thought through very carefully: 'There's a level playing field, because except in some instances, we have managed to contain people to just acoustic music. And as more time goes by, the more insistent we become. It's like you're naked, okay? When everybody has to strip down and jump in the pool, we're all the same, okay? So the acoustic thing kind of does that too. Because if somebody... even if they're used to playing acoustic, just the fact that they're playing acoustic makes them so vulnerable that you'll see another side of them, something that's usually hidden. So everybody has this in common. Some people are new to it and have never done it before. Others are expert at it and it's what they do all the time. But they're all even. They're all on the same plane for this one night. That's what I like about it. That's why we can get different kinds of people, because they're all disarmed."

Can we bring food and water inside the venue?
The answer is (surprisingly) - yes! The only prohibition is on glass bottles. You are allowed to bring outside food and drink into Shoreline. Small coolers are usually okay. A related note: there aren't many restaurants open late in the surrounding area, aside from some fast food and some Denny's. While Shoreline does serve food (garlic fries!), the lines are long and the food is still venue food. You may want to consider provisioning your hotel room with food and snacks for after the show. Ask at your hotel where the closest grocery store is.

Can we bring binoculars?
Binoculars are allowed.

What should we do if it rains?
Plan to bring raingear. You can always leave it at your hotel if we are lucky with weather again. There isn't much area at Shoreline that's under cover besides the front of the pavilion.

Will there be a webcast?
Right now, there is no sponsor for one, so this may not happen.

What time do the gates open?
In 1999, the times were Saturday: 3:00pm (with a 5pm start time) and Sunday: 1:00pm (with a 3pm start time). We're leaving this here until we get better information, so you can plan accordingly.

When do PJ go on?
One of the charmingly irksome things about Bridge is - YOU DON'T KNOW! They will most likely go on towards the evening.

Is there a taping section?
Well, PJ don't have a taper's section anyway, but no, there is no taping section, and yes, if you plan to tape, you should expect to stealth, as this is not a Pearl Jam show. Arguing with security at the gates will result in resounding laughter.

Are cameras allowed?
No, not officially. We've seen them bust people down front, and we've seen other security guards offer to take photos from the front for you. Be discreet.

What night are Pearl Jam playing?
PJ are playing both nights.

Can we go on the lawn if we have reserved tickets?
Yep. But it doesn't work the other way around.

Will there be any "surprise guests"???
Historically, yes. But that's why they're called "surprise guests" -- you won't know until they show up! Do not email us with your rumors, there's a reason they're called SURPRISE GUESTS.

5h portable guide to the '01 Bridge School Benefit: The mini guide you can stick in your pocket.

  • The 5h Ticket Buying FAQ: Written for the 2000 tour, this should answer the basic "how do I buy tickets" questions you have.
  • "Yes, Virginia, You Too Can Get Good Seats From Ticketmaster: The next installment in the "how to buy tickets" lesson.
  • Check San Jose weather
  • San Francisco web cam [live views!]
  • sanfrancisco.citysearch has lots of good info about the Bay Area
  • The always-excellent HyperRust has a Bridge Benefit Concert-Goer's Guide
  • The Bridge School
  • Shoreline Amphitheatre web site
  • A better seating chart
  • Going on to Groundwork in Seattle? See the special section of our Seattle Guide.

  • Copyright © 2004 Five Horizons