GRATEFUL DEAD: ALL THE YEARS COMBINED DVD COLLECTION
Genre: Music Documentary
Produced in 1977.
In the summer of 1974, the Grateful Dead decided they wanted to take a break. They’d been playing steadily since 1965, slowly but surely becoming more popular, but by 1974 their touring operation had spiraled out of control, thanks in part to their investment in and development of the largest PA system ever assembled by a band – the justly famous and awe-inspiring Wall of Sound. It sounded fantastic, but it was a bear to haul around, set up and tear down, and also a serious financial drain. Something had to give. With little warning, the band scheduled a series of five farewell-for-now concerts at Winterland for mid-October ’74 and hired a film crew of nine, coordinated by director Leon Gast, to capture the shows (both onstage and all around the decrepit but charming venue, inside and out).
Jerry Garcia had long harbored a desire to get involved with filmmaking, so this project provided the perfect opportunity for him to dive into that world. And The Grateful Dead Movie is truly Garcia’s film, even though there was invaluable input from a cadre of film editors. The film team and Garcia spent more than two and a half years putting the film together.
The spectacular hallucinatory animated sequence designed by Gary Gutierrez that opens the film was icing on the cake, and the performances are spellbinding throughout, offering a wonderful collection of Dead favorites, from “Truckin” and “Eyes of the World” to “Playing in the Band” and “Morning Dew.” The sound, mixed down from multitrack reels, really captures both the musical breadth and sonic depth of the band, as well as the vibe of Winterland.
The Grateful Dead Movie may be the single greatest document of the totality of the Grateful Dead experience. Even though it is really just a slice in time showing one incarceration of the group, it completely captures the group’s magical essence.
US Blues – One More Saturday Night – Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad – Truckin’ – Eyes of the World – Sugar Magnolia – Playing in the Band – Stella Blue – Casey Jones – He’s Gone Jam – Morning Dew – Johnny B. Goode