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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dstache's picture
Joined: Sep 10 2007
Complete shows (yeah!), $$$ (boo!)

Let me start by expressing my excitement both for the fact that these are complete shows, which I want and it SEEMS that most but by no means all heads want, and that these shows are killer. I already have these shows but am looking forward to the sound quality upgrade. The points here are that I hope Rhino releases more complete shows and less compilations and that Rhino should continue to allow the trading of non-officially released shows, as many if not most of us will purchase the officially released version, too.

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. 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.

Joined: Jul 22 2007
Wow . .. ....... Very Cool

This is what I'm talkin bout. Cool idea guys, I'd like to know what date it officially comes out? 1973 is one of my favorite years. I like it more than 74' but i have more 73' than 74'. Right on. On my own personal note, does anyone know if the Grateful Dead played anywhere between January 14th, 1980 - February 27th, 1980. If you do please post a comment on this page.


richard's picture
Joined: Jun 7 2007
I'm with Mike

'73 was one of the greatest years from the 70's. Along with '71, '72, '74, '76, '77 and '78. '70 was also good as was '79. And '75? Well.....that was great show.

I'm glad it only took the PTB 35 years to figure it out.


cactuswax's picture
Joined: Jun 7 2007



msgsec74's picture
Joined: Jun 5 2007
FUCK YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is what we want keep these comin' . I have copies of these shows already but I'm ready to scrape every nickel and dime I have for this one! Check Out My Orignal Music at

deadmike's picture
Joined: Jun 13 2007
Yes ...

A good vintage year ... 1973 ... perhaps the best Dead-year of the early 70's ... along with 1970, 1972, 1976 and 1977 my favourite years of the glorious 70's ... 1973 and '77 being on the top of those years ... =)

Thank you, thank you ... thank you kindly ...


deadeasy's picture
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Cover art

So GOGD release an album which has cover art featuring an eye in the middle of a rose, aka an eye-rose.

Perhaps the album should have been released in a week's time, on Easter Monday: "I rose from the dead", geddit?


Jodester's picture
Joined: Jun 14 2007
Now that's what I'm talking about...

Full shows, of course kick ass set lists, classic cover art... why should I continue to state the obvious? This set will seriously blow some minds! It'll go down in history as being one of the greatest Grateful Dead releases ever sold!

Are you kind?

Joined: Jun 4 2007
Thank you

Thanks for the box set, but the 12/4/73 Ohio show circulates (you may wanna change that comment)

Joined: May 26 2007
Sirius tonight!

For those who are Sirius Satellite Radio subscribers, we will be playing one of these shows in its entirety tonight (Monday 3/17/08) at 9pm EDT.

Gans/GD Hour blog
GD Hour station list


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