Grateful Dead’s ‘The Closing of Winterland’ coming to DVD
Shout! Factory will release the Grateful Deadâ€™s The Closing Of Winterland in a 2-DVD set on September 11, 2012. The Closing Of Winterland contains bonus features galore, including the documentary film â€œWinterland: A Million Memoriesâ€; the Blues Brothers â€œSoul Manâ€ & â€œB Movieâ€; New Riders of the Purple Sage â€œGlendale Trainâ€; a â€œMaking Of The DVDâ€ featurette; a 2 a.m. interview with Bill Graham by Scoop Nisker; a detailed chronological history of the Grateful Dead at Winterland; an alternate camera angle option on â€œWharf Rat,â€ â€œSt. Stephenâ€ & â€œGood Lovinâ€™â€; and an essay written by Gary Lambert, former KSAN DJ and writer/editor of the Grateful Dead Almanac. The film was also included in the 14-DVD box set All The Years Combine: The DVD Collection, released by Shout! Factory earlier this year.
Filmed in San Franciscoâ€™s Winterland Ballroom, The Closing Of Winterland was shot during the Deadâ€™s annual New Yearâ€™s Eve concert in 1978, which was to be the final show at the venerable arena. Featuring friends like Lee Oskar (War) and Matthew Kelly (Kingfish); John Cipollina (Quicksilver); Greg Errico (Santana) and author Ken Kesey with his Thunder Machine, the playing is loose but intense, the frequent peaks reliably transcendent. The sound â€” mixed from the 24-track master reels â€” is superb. The Closing Of Winterland contains all 3 sets performed that night.
In addition to the Dead, the bill would feature: the Blues Brothers (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in their Jake and Elwood personae, fronting a great band including Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn and a young Paul Shaffer); longtime Dead pals the New Riders Of The Purple Sage; the wonderful neo-vaudevillian juggling troupe the Flying Karamazov Brothers.
As Lambert writes in the essay accompanying The Closing Of Winterland, the DVD captures virtually every note of the Deadâ€™s three sets, plus other sights and sounds from that unforgettable evening, much as it looked and sounded (actually, quite a bit better than it sounded, thanks to Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround sound) to those who caught the simulcast of the show on San Franciscoâ€™s public television station KQED and the pioneering FM rock radio station KSAN.
Twenty-five years after that wild night, itâ€™s not only Winterland thatâ€™s long gone, but sadly, Jerry Garcia and Bill Graham, and KSAN too. These DVDs bring it all back, whether you saw it then, or youâ€™re a first-time member of the audience.