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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wilfredtjones's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2007
to folks wondering when this is going to ship

From the website details:

(italics) Special Offer—Until April 30th, order the Winterland 1973 box through and we'll send you a special BONUS DISC of previously uncirculated material recorded at Cincinnati Gardens on December 4, 1973. Orders are expected to ship by the end of April.

Have a grateful day!

Joined: Jun 4 2007
Stepping out

This box set promises to be a step in the right direction for CD releases. While I appreciate the attempts of the "Road Trips", this is much more like it. On a side note...shipping for this 9 (10 with the bonus disk) CD set was the same as my last Road Trips? Hmmm...

Joined: Aug 21 2007
The Race Isn't On

The trailer posted to "preview some of the music on the Winterland 1973 box" contains a segment of "The Race is On"

Um, that tune wasn't played at 73' Winterland. Well, it must be on the bonus disk then........nope not there either. Hmmmm.

It was played in February 74' at the Winterland Ballroom.

Not to be an ass or anything, it's a very cool tailer and all, I just assumed the music in it was actually from the shows.

Is the other music on the trailer from the 73' Winterland shows ?

stone jack baller's picture
Joined: Jun 8 2007
Winterland 73


Joined: Jun 19 2007

Yea, I just noticed...This IS a preorder? When is it comming out? Is it ready or are you just getting seed money to produce it? I did order the set, but when can I expect to get it?


dead72's picture
Joined: Jun 6 2007
Winterland Box

This has all the appearances of being another fantastic box-the Fillmore Box was a fantastic achievement, I'll be very much looking forward to the Winterland release. Boxes of 'famous runs' are always welcome.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

Eric J

Joined: Jul 17 2007
Keep em coming

Too bad you couldn't have had this one ready for Christmas. Don't care much if you release whole shows or gem segments/songs from runs. Too much of everything is just enough.

Joined: Feb 6 2008
Oh, the joy!

Oh, the joy!

Joined: Jun 10 2007
i'm ready

thrill me! bring it on, my people!
it will be a grand way to welcome summer-
yeah- the price is steep- may price some folks out- but i suppose parcing it out in smaller batches would have been even more expensive--so it is like going to the costco and buying bulk- as much as i love it, i am sure that i will use it all!

DeadHead85's picture
Joined: Jun 8 2007

This is good. I am very excited. It's great that they have a listening party aswell, letting us preview the material. I saw a while ago on a european website that it was set for an early may release so I'm glad to see a pre-order up for it. I just ordered it and while going through the purchasing process it is clearly stated that this is a a pre order and that the box would be shipped by the end of april. I can't wait. I also agree with dstache that it is pretty expensive. I would buy one of these box sets per year if they were released that way. I did also like the road trips and thought that they were priced well, I hope the road trips series keeps coming.


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