Coming Soon: Long Strange Trip
Amazon Studios announced it has acquired Long Strange Trip, an unprecedented four hour documentary about the Grateful Dead from director Amir Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story) and executive producer Martin Scorsese (Silence). Set to debut June 2 on Amazon Prime Video globally as a six-part documentary, with additional territories to be announced, Long Strange Trip probes the creative forces, subversive ambitions, and interpersonal dynamics that drove the Grateful Dead in their 30-year quest for moments of collective inspiration. By inventing a unique fusion of folk, jazz, R&B, avant-garde experimentation, world music and rock and roll, they earned the devotion of the most committed fan base in the music business, while gleefully disdaining every cliché of pop success.
The world premiere of Long Strange Trip will take place at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival. Band members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and Bob Weir, as well as Trixie Garcia will be in attendance.
“I first reached out to the Grateful Dead about this film back in 2003,” said Bar-Lev. “Since then, everyone who has come aboard has treated this project with a renegade spirit of cooperation and ingenuity worthy of the subject matter. I recognized immediately that Amazon was the perfect distributor when I met their team, and I can’t wait to see how many brains they can infect with the Dead’s contagious brand of anti-establishment fun.”
“I’ve always admired the spirit and creativity of the Grateful Dead,” said Scorsese. “They are revolutionary artists who forever changed the world of touring and recording live music. They were a cultural force—a lifestyle, that continue to influence new generations of fans. This film will entertain and educate audiences about one of the most innovative and groundbreaking American bands of the 20th century.”
“The story of the Grateful Dead is that of music and culture of the 20th Century,” said Joe Lewis, Head of Comedy and Drama, Amazon Studios. “Told with vast scope and an unprecedented cast of real life characters, Amir has taken advantage of this larger than life canvas to make an era-defining musical portrait that we can’t wait to bring to audiences everywhere.”
Bob Weir commented: "Over several decades a group of guys hung together making music in a group that was way tighter and lasted much longer than most marriages. Here's the movie…”
Mickey Hart commented: "Stranger than fiction – a user’s guide for an impossible journey."
The 30-year odyssey of the Grateful Dead was the most unlikely success story in rock and roll history. Famously averse to publicity, seemingly incapable of recording radio-friendly hits, they flouted music-industry convention by giving their live music away to a global network of tape traders, becoming the highest-grossing concert act in America on word of mouth alone. Long Strange Trip is the first full-length documentary to explore the fiercely independent vision, insistence on continuous innovation, and uncompromising commitment to their audience that propelled the original jam band from a Bay Area pizza parlor to the ranks of the most enduringly influential musicians of their generation. By assembling candid interviews with the band, road crew, family members, and notable Dead Heads, director Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story) unearths the untold history of the Dead and the freewheeling psychedelic subculture that sprouted up around it, while providing poignant insight into the psyche of late lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, who disdained leadership of the increasingly sprawling collective organization that kept the show on the road. With a soundtrack that captures some of the band's most dynamic live performances as well as unguarded moments offstage and never before seen footage and photos, Long Strange Trip is an epic exploration into a uniquely American experiment in radically eclectic music-making that continues to earn the passionate loyalty of generations of fans worldwide.
Got to go to another screening of this yesterday. Loved it even more.
Amazon Studios will release Long Strange Trip theatrically on May 26 in New York and Los Angeles.
Saw this up on Amazon
In regard to that movie review in Variety, what a strange way to make a point. Does anyone know if there will be any screenings in New York anywhere? It would be so nice to see it with a group of people who love the Dead.
is at the Castro, which is a pretty spiffy theater.
"Jerry’s guitar solo on the May 1980 version of “Althea.” We hear that bootleg track, and it sounded, to my ears, like a generic bad 1970s white-guy guitar solo".
Fuck him and the horse he rode in on....
I miss Jerry....
One might think Variety could find a critic who might actually like GD music.
"Deadheads will drink it in and debate it, poring over every detail it works in and leaves out, yet the ultimate recommendation I can give the movie is this: I’m one of those people who can’t stand the Grateful Dead (I think they have about four or five good songs, and if I never heard “Casey Jones” or “Truckin'” again you’d hear no strenuous objection from me), yet I found “Long Strange Trip” enthralling. For the first time, it made me see, and feel, and understand the slovenly glory of what they were up to, even if my ears still process their music as monotonous roots-rock wallpaper."
I'd pay real money to get a DVD of Portchester, Feb 71.
It would be the second time I'd seen it in 46 years.