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!)


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PikesPeak's picture
Joined: Jun 6 2007

who is the smart one who put the data line on the 9 cd set. Did anyone check for consistancy. it starts 1973 11-9 D1 then 1973 11-9 D2 and D3 . Then you go to 11-10-73 with no disc number. disk 5 is different with disk 5 and slashes 9/10/73. If any one tries to put this on a I-pod it goes out of order like a 10 year old put it together. If you dont understand this message you must be the smart one who OKed the set without looking at the data line.

Joined: Jun 7 2007
Winterland box

I find the first 2 nights somewhat average. The band seems to walk thru the entire show. Sure there are highlights but overall very average. The 3rd night is a totally different story. Fan fuckin' tastic!!!!! Sharp and tight performances with Jerry sticking in sharp concise notes wherever possible. The Dark Star/Eyes/China Doll is some of the best stuff I have ever heard. One of the most beautiful and "full" China Dolls ever!!!

Joined: Jul 9 2007

another complaint about the packaging.

i slightly ripped the cardboard packaging trying to remove and replace disc 2! my anal retentive impulses will never forgive me ...

Joined: May 8 2008

delayed getting this, and I don't know why! Just finished listening to the first 3 discs (the first night) and it is magnificent!!! Don't hesitate like I did if you are thikning about it - get it !!!!
Sound quality is very good and the boys are smokin'....gotta go switch disks now - later!!!

Joined: Jun 24 2007

Can somebody reach out to somebody and find out when the next DVD is coming out???Somebody??? Anybody???

myeviltwin's picture
Joined: Jun 6 2007
Time Traveling

Ordered on Friday May 2, and received Monday May 5, USPS. Not bad. Plus, I still got the bonus disc even though it was past the deadline. Thanks so much, Rhino.
But the best is the product itself. Great packaging, great art direction, great art. The booklet is very nice, and McNally's essay a wonderful compliment to three fantastic nights of music. The sound production is crystal clear, and the mix is perfectly time-corrected and imaged. It's as close to being there as we will ever get, except in memory. Overall, having this set in my possession is like having the library of Alexandria. My god, '73 was such a strange time, and the musical explorations of the Dead were exciting and mysterious. I did not attend these shows, but saw the Buffalo stop of the September East Coast tour. These three nights are as good or better than what I heard, and what I heard in Buffalo that night made me want to burn my guitar. I'm thinking that at $99.99 this set is a steal. It's really worth much more than that.

Joined: Mar 2 2008
downloadable shows

i'd gladly pay 130$ or more if you, rhino guys, would pack all the gigs for download in a single bulk, maybe with pics and some neat package. i miss those shows, it might also be the digital age but i was a vinyl freak and even though the gigs will end up on my ipod i like to know i also own a "support"
think about it, i think lots of deadheads would like this!

Progpete's picture
Joined: Dec 19 2007
Winterland 73'-music for the soul!

Thank you GDP for this amazing box-set. The sound is incredible. It is a musical excursion that is treasured and preserved. The boys are the best in the business. The process by which to bring the sound up in these sets pays off. Bob Weir is in fine form on this one. I never realized until this set just how fine of a player he is.

As always, anything GDP puts out is top-notch. This is serious listening and in a time when the truly great players are forgotten, this is just a beautiful example of just how powerful music can be. And when a group like THE DEAD take music from just everywhere and make it their own...They nail it!!!!

This is highly recommended and appreciated from a fan who understands just what "They're not the best at what they do, they're the only ones who do what they do" means. Thanks again and keep it coming PLEASE!!!!!!

rdevil's picture
Joined: Nov 2 2007
WRS x 3, OK by me

This box is EXACTLY what I want--a piece of Grateful Dead history; an opportunity to relive, or at least simulate, a three night run of shows. If they played WRS or any other song all three nights then so be it. I want to hear it all. I'd rather pay more for three full shows than pay less for a compilation that only has one WRS on it.
As for the price, I was hoping it would be a little lower and would gladly do without the artwork if it meant the discs were cheaper (although I liked the artwork and packaging much more than I anticipated). It's not absurdly priced, though. Once you get your hands on the final product you may agree.
As for what constitutes a 'special' run of shows...well, we all have our own ideas on that. What's great about the Dead is not what they did at special events or the US festival or Monterey Pop or the shows after Bill Graham's what they did night after night whether they're in Iowa City or MSG.
That's just my opinion, of course, but I'm ecstatic to get this little three night snippet of history.
As for the next release, I haven't seen anyone mention '74 yet, my favorite year.

Joined: Jun 7 2007
Winterland 1973 Boxset

Listened through the entire set once and working through a second listen. I am really enjoying this release. Overall, the sound is excellent for a 2-track recording, and the instruments seem to be reasonably balanced. There are moments throughout the set where the vocals are buried, but I guess that is the nature of the beast.

The packaging and artwork is superb, with the exception of the cardboard sleeves. For a release of this size and price, I would expect digipak inserts with plastic trays, improving the protection of such an investment. Please take this into consideration for all future releases.

I would love to see Emek's artwork offered as decent sized poster, suitable for framing!

Looking forward to some more complete runs, say 1977, 1972, other...

"May the four winds blow you safely home" – Franklin's Tower


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