In the days leading up to and following the birth of my son, I was on a DVD hunt. Anticipating plenty of time at home and eager to fill that space with music for the two of us, I hunted down representative releases from my favorites, but ran into particularly high hurdles when it came to the Good Olâ€™ Grateful Dead.
Donâ€™t get me wrong, you could find selections from the Deadâ€™s out-of-print video collection, sometimes used, but most of the time new and high-priced. For those embarking on a similar hunt, things just got a bit easier with the release of All the Years Combined: The DVD Collection. Comprised of 14 DVDs and over 38 hours of video, Heads can rejoice. The collection spans many of the Deadâ€™s eras, from the Donna Jean and Keith Godchaux days (The Grateful Dead Movie, The Closing of Winterland), to Brent Mydland (Dead Ahead, Ticket to New Years, Truckinâ€™ Up to Buffalo), to a classic, short period that featured both Bruce Hornsby and Vince Welnick on keys (View from the Vault II).
This set showcases everything, warts and all. From silly skits to kitschy video effects, from precise playing to flubbed lyrics, the footage shows the magic of the Grateful Deadâ€™s performances through the years. The dancing, motorcycle-riding skeleton segment during the opening of The Grateful Dead Movie still drags out too long, and the footage that emerges during jam segments of the View from the Vault DVDs â€“ clouds, fractals, and the oddly placed stealth bomber â€“ remains distracting. But these are only minor irritants that have minimal impact on the wealth of performance footage here.
All the Years Combined: The DVD Collection is a visual trip down memory lane for those who have followed the band through the years. For those who only know of the Grateful Dead through Sirius XM and spin off bandâ€™s like Furthur and The Dead, this collection opens the door to the beauty and magic of a truly amazing and enduring band. Accompanied by a 40-page booklet that includes unreleased photos and new liner notes by Blare Jackson, this box set celebrates the Grateful Dead, and does so at a scale that matches the bandâ€™s ever-growing legend.
Included in All The Years Combine: The DVD Collection are The Grateful Dead Movie, The Closing Of Winterland; Dead Ahead; Truckinâ€™ Up To Buffalo; Ticket To New Yearâ€™s; Downhill From Here; View From The Vault; View From The Vault Vol. 2;Â View From The Vault Vol. 3; Â View From The Vault Vol. 4; and So Far, a 1987 film that has previously only been available on VHS and laserdisc.Â Bonus material includes five previously unreleased live performances from the Grateful Dead archive, a new interview with Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux, and Backstage Pass, the 1992 documentary directed by Justin Kreutzman.
All The Years Combine: The DVD Collection is out April 17 on Shout! Factory. Pre-order is currently available.