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 5 2007

Ive been looking forward to this box set since word of it leaked out a few years ago. I hope the listening party samples suck because of the format (mp3). To my ears they sound cold and hollow.

Joined: Jun 4 2007
is this a LIMITED release??

Does anyone know? I bought the fillmore set, and if I knew that was limited I woulda bought two!

Joined: Feb 9 2008
Winterland BoxSet 1973

"The only problem here is the price. $100 + tax/shipping/handling is pretty expensive, even for 10 discs. The price is very close to becoming a deterrant to purchasing the set."

In that case, they could offer it as a series downloads in the future too. There is no cost for raw materials, packages or shipping charges either. It should cost several dollars less in that case.

"Please, Rhino, do not assume from the fact that this set will rapidly sell out (if indeed it is "limited," which is not exactly clear) that heads will pay any price for great music. The next set should be cheaper."

Terrapin Limited was supposed to be a one time pressing only at $40.00 each; but it sure didn't turn out that way either. I bought one of those first editions and damn well know that it cost twice as much as any other commercially released Dick's Pick etc.

The fisrt Fillmore West 69 boxset was limited to 10,000 copies. One too many were purchased by non-heads and resold on EBAY for as much as $500.00 each. Such stupidity only encouraged CD piracy...

IntoAshes's picture
Joined: Jun 11 2007
Well well well...

What a great set! Like many here, I have these shows, but am over the moon thinking about the sound upgrade and the packaging. One of these a year would be wonderful. I love complete shows, but I also LOVE the Road Trips format. I feel like I'm in the minority but I think there is room for both. I love my GD both raw and unfiltered as well as lovingly curated. Thanks for listening to the fans, but keep pushing us too! Thanks!!!

P.S. 12/6/73 = weirdest Dark Star ever. Release it!

bird-song's picture
Joined: Jun 25 2007
less than

Geez, this set is really overpriced. Will there be a condensed version with two or three CDs that has, say, less than two versions of WRS?

Joined: Sep 18 2007
Brother, can you spare a dime?

I may have to resort to panhandling to buy this one, but I'll do whatever it takes. My first reaction is to bitch about the price. I mean, c'mon, we're used to buying 4 disc Dick's Picks for 25 bucks, so this does seem a bit steep. However, there's been enough whining in this space lately, so instead I'll praise those that are making this release possible.

Wooohoooo! Late '73 is one of my favorite eras! The DP from Boston 12/73 is one of my favorite Dead releases, and the one from OK 10/73 is fine as well. To hear an entire run mastered by Jeff Norman is exciting. Can't wait until May! (Now I just have to figure out how to break it to my wife that I blew another $100 on Dead CDs. I'm sure I'll figure something out).

Jeff VanderVeen
"May the 4 winds blow you safely home."

littlebri's picture
Joined: Oct 15 2007
right on!

very excited about the new release. I agree it is a bit pricey, but every penny is worth it in the long run. Love the RT series too, hope to see more of them in the future!



p.s. Thanks for the preview too!! Currently enjoying the magic right now :)

Joined: Jul 15 2007
Love it

Man, I love that free form jazzy dead. I drive a lot for work and 73-74 dead while driving through the mountains approaches a religious experience at times.... (around a mountain early in the morning, and BAM! there's the sun, popping over the next line of mountains. Colors in the sky and fog lies in the valley below. Right then comes "Wake now discover that you are the song that the morning brings"). You just can't plan that kind of thing; it just seems to happen a lot.

Coconut Phil's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2007
Our time to jam has come.

I have been waiting for this for many moons. Glad to know my order is in. I'm really looking forward to jamming to this collection. Keep it real America.

Coconut Phil, living Free.

Joined: Jun 4 2007
The Times They are a Chan-ged...

I'm taking advantage of a rare double post to enter this comment. Back then, we were complaining when pricing broached $100. Have we become inured to the inflated prices or what?


Comment viewing options

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