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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digaman's picture
Joined: Jun 19 2007
This is the latest outrage

This is the latest outrage perpetrated by the clueless suits at Rhino who have stolen our music! Everyone knows '73 is *so* overrated and.... and.... wait a minute... what was I saying?


gdradio's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2007

Friday is my fave of that run

Streaming Grateful Dead and more

Bach 2 Bach's picture
Joined: Jun 5 2007

I think I just soiled myself.

I'm not Beethoven

sjbutler's picture
Joined: Nov 27 2007
I'm a bit confused...

I've already placed my order, but I'm invoice is marked "pre-ordered," but (unless I'm missing something) there is no indication on this site of when it actually gets released. I know you get the bonus disc if you order before April 30, but is this when it is released? All I see is "the wait is over," "buy now" (but not "pre-order now").

Does someone know the answer?

fatboylivesinusa's picture
Joined: Sep 13 2007
this is awsom saw them all

wow this is something i have been waiting for i attented all 3 of these shows and was totally out of my mind these were some GREAT shows they really pushed themselves on these shows i got the tickets for my birthday for all 3 shows i have already placed my order cant wait for the end of april to gst this set WOW great stuff masters of the reeland boards THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
loaves and fishes,dont give up dont ever give up!

Joined: Jun 4 2007

What to complain about.... let's see... WTF Rhino! Just three whole nights in November?!? Whar's Denver? San Diego?!?


Great stuff, can't wait to get these. THANK YOU! This looks awesome. Love the artwork too.

Joined: May 26 2007
My notes and comments

I've posted some comments on this wonderful set on the Cloud Surfing blog.

Gans/GD Hour blog
GD Hour station list

Joined: Jun 12 2007
Whoaaa Baby

Guys, come on now, more compilations! Just kidding, this is great, although I have enjoyed both releases of RT's as well. That was no joke when you said it would be a tidal wave of new releases, thank you much. Looking forward to this under-appreciated year in the band's history.

marye's picture
Joined: May 26 2007
I'm sure...

this will make many people very happy.


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