Grateful Dead

The Wait Is Over… The Winterland 1973 Box Has Arrived!

Sherman, set the Wayback machine for the second week of November, 1973. The Grateful Dead are on a roll…yes, again! The summer had seen the band playing triumphant mega-shows with the Allman Brothers at RFK Stadium in D.C. and at Watkins Glenn in upstate New York. With their popularity seemingly still escalating by the month, fall tours took them to various East Coast haunts and all over the Midwest. On October 15, they released Wake of the Flood, their first album on their own independent record label, and copies were flying out of stores coast to coast. So the mood in the band was WAY UP when their incredibly busy schedule brought them home for three shows at Winterland in San Francisco November 9, 10 and 11—before they set off again for points East.

Winterland always brought out the best—and the beast—in the band. Located across Geary Boulevard from the Fillmore Auditorium, the one-time home of the Ice Follies had hosted dozens of amazing rock shows since Bill Graham started putting on shows there in the late ’60s. It’s where the top tier of Bay Area bands would get together occasionally for marathon shows, and it’s where the most popular out-of-town acts—from The Doors, to Hendrix, to The Who, to the Rolling Stones—would play in the era before faceless sports arenas became an unfortunate fact of concert-going life. But nobody played Winterland as often as the Dead. By the time they’d trucked their ever-expanding sound system to the venue for their November ’73 shows, they’d already logged 31 concerts there—and there would be another 28 eventful Dead nights at Winterland before the old place was closed after the Dead’s New Year’s Eve show in 1978, and eventually reduced to rubble to make way for condos. Sure, the 5,000-capacity hall was acoustically challenging and a little frayed on the edges. But with its narrow open floor, shallow lower balcony that encircled the entire venue, its deeper back balcony chill zone, and serpentine walkways between floors, it was a tremendously fun and entertaining place to see a show—especially a Dead show.

Winterland 1973: The Complete Recordings captures the Dead during one of their peak years and absolutely at the top of their game. Spread over nine discs, it includes every note of three complete consecutive shows (save for the encore of November 9, which was not recorded), so there’s plenty here to satisfy every fan: magnificent jams on “Dark Star” (which sprawls to 35 completely compelling minutes!), “Playing in the Band,” “Eyes of the World,” the still-new “Weather Report Suite” and more; kick-ass rockers of every variety (“Sugar Magnolia,” “Casey Jones,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “Truckin’,” et al); haunting ballads including “China Doll,” “Stella Blue” and “To Lay Me Down”; a truly spectacular “China Cat”; and the first of just three versions ever of the dazzling sequence of “Playing in the Band” > “Uncle John’s Band” > “Morning Dew” > “Uncle John’s” reprise > “Playing” reprise. (For a complete listing of the contents of the nine discs, go here.)

All the music here was drawn from Grateful Dead crew member Kidd Candelario’s crystal clear and wonderfully present 2-track soundboard reels of the shows, and enhanced by the mastering work of the always reliable sonic wizard Jeffrey Norman, who used all sorts of arcane processes to bring it all into the glorious world of HDCD sound. This stuff will rattle your bones! The beautifully designed box also comes with a colorful booklet containing scads of great photos and a fine essay by Grateful Dead historian Dennis McNally.

We like to think of Winterland 1973 as being part of the noble tradition established by the ecstatically received Fillmore West 1969: The Complete Recordings, and as a precursor for other complete-run boxes to come. So clear out a chunk of space in the ol’ CD case, ’cause this mutha’ is a BIG ONE!

Don’t delay! You can order Winterland 1973: The Complete Recordings right now by clicking here !

(To help get you in the mood, you can preview some of the music on the Winterland 1973 box by clicking here. And to give you a little glimpse of what Winterland was like, check out this video montage with audio from the ’73 shows and visuals from The Grateful Dead Movie, shot at Winterland a year later!)


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Joined: Jun 4 2007
a song that's born to soar the sky

Oroborous, your post warms my heart. Clearly I offended Peachy and I have no agenda to perpetuate negative vibes, but you know I was actually feeling hurt by all the comments about this wonderful, lovingly produced release (and Road Trips Vol II is another) somehow being a ripoff of conscious design and one of his statements just happened to be the one that broke my camel's back. I felt it was time to defend the folks who continue to bring us these releases; it's not about heads vs. suits, it's heads of different opinion is all, and that was mine. That said, by now I'm sure (and hope) that just like me he's enjoyed many hours of this set's musical bliss by now.

Still haven't heard it all, because I want the first listen of each disc to be just the right atmosphere. But a few thoughts so far~

bonus disc~ China Cat -> Rider is awesome, and unique~ Phil's bass is uncommonly high in the mix, and he wastes no opportunity to make the most of it. Worth the disc by itself, and Truckin' is HOT--listen to Keith.

Can I just say (as others have) that Keith is the secret weapon on this release....he puts them over the top again and again, and this really demonstrates just how much he was capable of contributing. Europe '72-caliber piano input here. I mean, how often do you hear Billy playing off Keith?

November 9th~ this first set is hard to beat; great set list, and better vocal sound than the 2nd set. They Love Each Other~ is it me, or is Keith inventing the ascending riff here that Jerry later standardized on guitar for the later version? My new favorite Black-Throated Wind, I think~ Bob's vocal delivery is countryish & inspired, and the band really builds a head of steam at the end (the 11th is similar, but the vocals here are much louder and seemingly more effortless). Don't Ease smokes, Keith, yes, of course, Jerry, but Keith!

Playing In the Band is yet another five-star, great-as-any version. The rest of disc 2 isn't standout for me on first listen (including, surprisingly, Here Comes Sunshine~ at least compared to the Dick's 1 version a month later). But the Playin' is enough to naysay any wholesale p'shawing of this show. Have not yet heard disc 3.

Nov 10 ~ Another fine first set. A treat to hear Jerry still throwing a "Sweet Susie" into Loser at this late hour, Looks Like Rain is lovely (as someone noted, Jerry does still seem to be taking his lead cue from the earlier pedal steel version), and Brokedown is really sweet treat. The only one I've heard from this '73-'74 era. Haven't heard set II at all yet, still savoring the anticipation of the Playin -> Uncle John's -> Dew sandwich.....(kind of like the Dostoevsky canon~ it sucks once you've read them all and have no more masterpieces to look forward to).

Nov 11 ~ Well, what can you say? This one really is untoppable. I now have another contender for the time machine show I'd most like to see. The fact that the first set spans nearly two full discs is outrageous. The beauty of the performance is even moreso. Disc 2 (or is it 8?) is absolutely perfect Grateful Dead music. Did I say the bonus disc's ChinaCat -> Rider was awesome? Listen to this one. Everything is high energy and smokin'. Fantastic Weather Report. The energy continues unabated into set II; I usually prefer the faster-beat arrangement of Half-Step (a la the 80's or, say, Philly 9/21/72), but this one is driving and perfect. And the hottest Big River of this era that I've heard. Exhilarating disc.

Oh, but then there's disc 3 (9). Just look at the track list and apply the same mojo amply demonstrated on disc 2 (8). How or why should I bother describing the Dark Star? Just wait for the proper space to listen, and embark on the journey. One of the great ones. And the travels to Eyes-> China Doll live up to every bit of the promise you'll have no doubt built up for them by now. A beautiful Uncle John's Band with suitably intense outro and an endearingly loose but inspired Bid You Goodnight will further ensure your retention of this booster shot of magic vibe.
Oh, and my brother would add that the first set actually features a HOT El Paso (which might be slightly rarer to his ears than mine, but this one really is an inspired version--Jerry squeezes in pan-fried licks throughout).

Some great photos, too. I wasn't previously aware of this prototype Wall of Sound. Love the shot of Jerry on p. 9 of the booklet, and Bob, Jerry, and speakers on p. 20. But you don't have to be a packaging geek like me~ the music here is really special, and I can't imagine you'll regret what you pay for it.

Joined: Jun 19 2007
"7 come 11 boys better lay your money down"

Hee-hee "goddam well I declare, have you seen the like" well folks after painfully sifting through,? 30 something pages (only cause for once i actaully had nothing better to do hurrumph) of all your love and kisses on the "box" etc, in my humble opinion, ahem, and we all know opions are all like assholes, everybodies got one, but that aint necessarily good, but that being said....
1) if you don't like it, don't by it, like it or not folks, we live in a capitalist society that is driven by commerce, whether your a fucking greed-head Limbaugh loving winger or an organic hog farmer the sad but true fact is that shit costs money and supply and demand is what controls our society "for good or for ill" that being said, the only way any of our beloved dead is going to see the light of day is unfortunetly that some greed head somewhere is gonna see that there is still a demand, (thank god, or jerry, or whom ever you spin too) and thus they are going to provide the ways and means to "supply" our beloved juice. Now one could easily argue that there are other ways to satiate sp? our demand via other means of supply i.e., boots etc., and for some folks thats cool, thats enoiugh, but I for one spent way too many of my formitive years (late 70's) having to listen to too damn many hissy ass lame cassettes etc, and I had by most folks standards a kick ass system, and vinal, yeah whatever, though I do agree that compressed music like mp3 etc sucks (from a high fidelity standpoint, but like the dude said, you can carry your whole library in a tiny little package), so, for the most part, technology at least in reference to music and more specificallly our good ol boys etc, has improved exponentually light years beyound that fucking swill I grew up on! Please do not get me wrong, I would not trade those stony afternoons etc in my folks bassment with my own personel wall of McItosh sound for anything, but objectively, shit has come a long, long way since those days, (anyone that has had the privalage of viewing one of the DVD's on serious equipment with current digital audio knows what I am speaking of) and these kind of releases are a positive by product of that. So, sorry I digress, ahem, yeah, a, uhhhhhhhm, shut up dumb ass, a huh huh huih, ....yeah, anyway so unfortunetly the only way we are going to get good shit from the vault is that someone, the dead, rhino, what difference does it make, is that it is going to cost some cash, of course that is another great thing about current technology, ahem, there are let us say other avenues to fulfull our demand, ahem, just like the old days......sans art and packaging

2) It is what it is, lets face it folks, yes please, "step away from the bong and no one will get hurt" if you really look at the dead objectively it is not the picture of commercial polish and perfection, so yeah, not everything is gonna be some slick gem, as compared to other things out there that cost simalar amounts etc, but at the same time that is a huge part of what makes the dead so fucking great, ITS REAL FOLKS, as they used to say, "zits and all" or some such thing, and so again, take what you need and leave the rest! I mean really, realistically, this shit could of gone the way of the dinosours long ago, so be careful what you piss and moan about, cause the reality is that it could be more likely that there would be no supply at all, so yeah, a hundred bucks is nuts for something that material cost is a few bucks tops, but consider the very real alternitive!

3) one man gathers what another man spills. There were over 2000 shows of which a good percentage are around, at least many hundred that are for various technicall and other reasons usable, and yet there are millions? of heads, at least many thousands, and as my opening remark states, opinions are like... so just like the old days coming out of a show when even you and your homies could not always agree about this or that, trying to get ya all to see eye to eye on such a huge amount of something as vast and diverse as the vault,which is sooooooooo subjective is, well, i hope you see the point, yeah yeah I know if i only could grow a little more hair i could cover that up!!!

The point being, be "grateful" that the dead aint dead, and that at least somebody, greedy or not, is bringing this shit to the light of day, and in a much improved format then the "good ol days" when it was all free, of course any one paying attention nows that "nothing comes for free" or at least thats what one of the most wise men I ever knew used too (still does actually) tell me! So stop all this wierdness, "if you get confused, just listen to the music play" whether ya buy it or...

Ps, I love the idea of the "75 BOX" yeah those shows too had many of the same songs, but come on people it was perhaps THE most unique period in dead history, and pretty fucking cool too! how bout a Warlocks 89, a Rochester (all years) box, a Hampton 88, or ?? or aaaaaaaaaaaaa, how about a Togaaaaa, togaaaa, yeah a toga box, or the ulitmate, what of the ( i believe) ten "non-screechy", ahem, sorry babe, shows of late 73 that have not been yet released? and on and on...........see, one could hurt themself thinking too hard about all the great shit from all the great years, except maybe the vinny crap, ahem, but agian, thats just my humble opinion, and well, see opening and repeat mantra! love and kisses Pedro

pps, sean (from a dellrock, where the fuck are ya)

leno710's picture
Joined: Jun 12 2007
From Egypt With Love (Winterland - October 1978)

Lets hear it for more from Winterland. I think Rhino could do a much better job with a later series of shows such as the ones in October of '78. But then again some heads might complain that there are too many Scarlet -> Fires, just like they have been doing recently about Bob Weir's masterpiece Weather Report Suite (which was last played in its entirety in the Fall of '74 at Winterland, of course). I for one don't care about hearing the same song night after night, rather than getting a compilation that only consists of one of the versions that someone else thinks was the best version. Don't you think that we as the fans (not some suit) deserves to decide for ourselves which version we like best. Let it begin then, From Egypt with Love, From Egypt with Love, From Egypt with Love, From Egypt with Love, From Egypt wi...................

rne's picture
Joined: Aug 29 2007
Bonus Disc

I have to disagree with the last post. The "Eyes Of The World>Space" is terribly erratic, especially "Eyes". Bill Kreutzmann stops playing in some parts and during the "Slipknot! section" (so to speak) the band sounds absolutely unsynchronized. In addition, Phil´s bass guitar is absent for some moments too. I think (maybe I´m wrong, of course) they were having some sound problems on stage during that part of the set.
I think the bonus disc features a fair set, nothing more, nothing less.

Joined: Jun 7 2007
Winterland 1973

I think this boxset is fantastic. I love the subtle differences between each show. The 9th has had a bad rap on here but I really enjoy it. The WRS> Eyes is one of the highlights of the set for me. Bob Weirs work in the China>Rider transition rips. I do, however, find the Around> GDTRFB> Johnny B Goode a bit lacklustre. I guess they were tired.

The 10th is super and seems to be a better overall show. The Brokedown is great and probably my favourite electric Brokedown on any official release. The Playing> Uncle> Dew> John> Playing sandwich is delectable. I disagree with a previous review that it sounds like they're going through the motions. It's actually disc III that I like the most on this show. The standalone Stella is beautiful and the Truckin is so bluesy. The main body of the song is quite short and it heads off into blues territory, without going in Nobody's Fault, like on Download Series Vol. 8 for example.

The 11th is currently my favourite. I love huge first sets and this is one of those. Not a dull moment. The Dark Star is very far out. It really is special and way the band can be in outer space and before you know it, they're in a quasi-country jam, then a minute or two later they're back in feedback. The Eyes> China is very well played. The AWBYG while someone (Phil) is saying goodnight is funny and also helps to demonstrate just how spontaneous the Dead were/are.

I haven't spent too much time on the bonus disc but the Eyes> Space is scary. I love it.

This set is fantastic. Suck it up people. This has to be up there with one of the best Dead releases ever. Mind you, how could they go wrong with a Winterland boxset? Feb 1974? June 1977? October 1978? It's all good stuff.

grdaed73's picture
Joined: Jun 5 2007
the wall was there

and the hair wasn't..... saw both:)

nab's picture
Joined: Jun 5 2007
Wall of Sound 73

Wall of Sound was definitely in effect for 1973. Examples of photos can be found on this website if you take the time to look.

And here is a beardless Jerry from that same Boston Hall show, just 9 days after Winterland:

Google is also your friend.

Joined: Jul 9 2007
I agree

I agree about the whiners, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. One of the biggest complaints was the Road Trips Series. That was consistently bad mouthed by people wanting complete shows. Well I purchased the Road Trips Vol 1, No 2 in time to get the bonus disc. Anyone who missed getting the bonus disc missed one of the best. I find myself listening to the bonus disc more than the Winterland. Winterland is a great release but whoever was behind the Road Trips Vol 1, No 2 bonus disc really out did themselves.

misujry's picture
Joined: Jun 13 2007
Great shows, stupid booklet

Maybe someone else has already commented on this but I read the comments up to about page 10 and got real bored with all the really cheap people whining. I skipped to page 32 and they were still at it. Why buy this stuff if you are too cheap to handle it?

Maybe I am wrong? But it appears to me that every picture in the booklet that accompanies this box set are from 1974. For the life of me, I just can't remember seeing a beadless Jerry or the Wall of Sound in 1973. Maybe I am wrong.

PikesPeak's picture
Joined: Jun 6 2007
Great Tunes

Great Tunes even though its Rhino. They could be cool if they werent



Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.