Uncut - p.1164 stars out of 5
- " By definition, this is more than a soundtrack. This is where Garcia's band staked out their territory and pulled gold out of the dirt."
Grateful Dead: Bob Weir (guitar); Keith Godchaux (keyboards); Phil Lesh (bass guitar); Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann (percussion); Donna Jean Godchaux (background vocals); Jerry Garcia.
Personnel: Jerry Garcia (vocals, guitar); Phil Lesh (vocals, electric bass); Donna Jean Godchaux, Bob Weir (vocals); Keith Godchaux (piano); Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann (drums).
Audio Mixer: Jeffrey Norman.
Recording information: Winterland, San Francisco, CA (10/16/1974-10/20/1974).
Photographers: Dave Patrick; Bruce Polonsky.
Arranger: Grateful Dead.
In 1974, the Grateful Dead were growing temporarily weary of the road, and decided to go into semi-retirement from live performance for a couple of years. In preparation for that lengthy break, the Dead had a big blowout of a farewell stint at San Francisco's Winterland, the venue they'd come to think of as "home." A film crew captured the whole thing for posterity, and the resultant concert document, THE GRATEFUL DEAD MOVIE, finally appeared in theatres in 1977, after the Dead had returned to full-time touring once again. Released in conjunction with the film's DVD reissue, the GRATEFUL DEAD MOVIE SOUNDTRACK box set goes beyond Deadheads' wildest expectations by offering a full five-disc representation of the Winterland shows.
Those whose familiarity with these shows extends only to the original film will be delighted to discover everything from a Jerry Garcia/Donna Godchaux duet on the Porter Wagoner/Dolly Parton country ballad "Tomorrow Is Forever" to Bob Weir's extended jazz-rock excursion "Weather Report Suite." THE GRATEFUL DEAD MOVIE captured the band at a key transitional point, when they were moving past the country/folk-based Americana template of AMERICAN BEAUTY and WORKINGMAN'S DEAD, but had not yet leapt into the prog-rock-like ambitions of BLUES FOR ALLAH and TERRAPIN STATION. Over the length of this set, the full breadth of the group's mid-'70s sound can be fully experienced.