The Closing of Winterland: December 31, 1978

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Winterland was one of the focal points of San Francisco's rock scene for ages, and no band was more closely associated with the venue than the Grateful Dead -- making them an appropriate choice to bring the curtain down for the last time. A companion to the DVD set of the same name, this four-disc, four-hour set, recorded on New Year's Eve, 1978, presents the band's concert in its entirety, and it's an aptly winding trek indeed. The band kick things off by harking back to the jug-band stylings of their genesis, via sweetly swinging, bucolic versions of songs like "Sugar Magnolia" and "Scarlet Begonias," before segueing cleverly into the country classic "Big River." The...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Winterland was one of the focal points of San Francisco's rock scene for ages, and no band was more closely associated with the venue than the Grateful Dead -- making them an appropriate choice to bring the curtain down for the last time. A companion to the DVD set of the same name, this four-disc, four-hour set, recorded on New Year's Eve, 1978, presents the band's concert in its entirety, and it's an aptly winding trek indeed. The band kick things off by harking back to the jug-band stylings of their genesis, via sweetly swinging, bucolic versions of songs like "Sugar Magnolia" and "Scarlet Begonias," before segueing cleverly into the country classic "Big River." The evening's second set finds the Dead stretching out into more improvisatory territory, notably the stellar unison playing of Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh on "Samson and Delilah" and the hyper-extended medley of "Not Fade Away" and "Around and Around" which adds John Cipollina to the already potent guitar attack. In keeping with the celebratory nature of the evening, the band took the then-rare step of playing "Dark Star" -- an intense, particularly spacey rendition, with eye-opening sparring between Garcia and Bob Weir. By the night's end, the Dead had given themselves over to pure party mode, trotting out animated versions of "Good Lovin' " and "Johnny B. Goode" before bidding adieu to Winterland and its habitu├ęs with a sing-along "We Bid You Goodnight." Talk about going out with a bang.
All Music Guide - Lindsay Planer
The music packed into these four CDs features the Grateful Dead's entire three-set show that formally retired the Bay Area rock and roll palace, Winterland Arena. The content comes directly from the original 24-track analogue tapes, which sound nothing short of sublime. The Closing Of Winterland 2003 is the audio only companion to the two-DVD title of the same name. One major difference between the two is that these CDs only contain the standard stereo 2.0 mix -- as opposed to the respective DTS and Dolby 5.1 mixes on the DVD. By late 1978, the Grateful Dead were at an undeniable crossroads. Even though the tenure of husband and wife team Keith Godchaux keyboards, and former session vocalist at Muscle Shoals Studios, Donna Jean Godchaux vocals was drawing to a close, the band still functioned with their ever-voracious appetite for improvisation and the kind of in-the-moment musicianship that became the cornerstone of the Grateful Dead's mere existence. For this very special performance, they pull out all the stops with a healthy sampling of both new as well as seminal selections from their classic repertoire. Like musical magicians, the Grateful Dead seamlessly maneuver between the lengthy and thoroughly psychedelic coupling of "Scarlet Begonias" with "Fire On The Mountain," or the open-throttle arrangement of the Bob Weir guitar/vocals led cowboy medley of "Me and My Uncle" and "Big River." Other impressive selections from the first set include a snarling cover of the Womack's "All Over Now," and a rare solo lead vocal from Donna Jean Godchaux on "From The Heart Of Me." The ante is upped during the second set, commencing with a thoroughly funky take on Rev. Gary Davis' "Samson And Delilah." The band continue to rise to the auspicious occasion as they wind through a stellar and extended medley with "Terrapin Station" and "Playing In The Band." The "Rhythm Devils" percussion break spotlights Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and long-time enthusiast and noted author, Ken Kesey -- who is actually playing the amplified remnants of Thunder Machine -- the infamous "Further" bus that the Merry Pranksters traveled in. For most seasoned Grateful Deadheads, the third set will command the most attention, as they effortlessly weave their unmistakable musical and definitely muse-inspired magic. From the opening notes of the first "Dark Star" to be performed in over four years, through to the recently revived "St. Stephen," the band use their uncanny abilities of communal sonic transportation to envelope the listener and incrementally relocate. Although they would continue through a number of personnel changes for another 17 years, they would rarely if ever regain the fortitude and above all, the passion that is represented on this collection. The Closing Of Winterland is a must-own for every degree of Grateful Dead listener, and is an ideal trial-by-fire springboard for the curious.
Rolling Stone - Greg Kot
Even by Dead standards, this was an epic show.... It's the Dead at their best, approximating jazz.

Even by Dead standards, this was an epic show.... It's the Dead at their best, approximating jazz.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/16/2003
  • Label: Grateful Dead / Wea
  • UPC: 081227805524
  • Catalog Number: 78055
  • Sales rank: 12,054

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Sugar Magnolia (7:15)
  2. 2 Scarlet Begonias (11:56)
  3. 3 Fire on the Mountain (15:05)
  4. 4 Me & My Uncle (3:09)
  5. 5 Big River (7:08)
  6. 6 Friend of the Devil (10:44)
  7. 7 It's All Over Now (8:23)
  8. 8 Stagger Lee (7:59)
  9. 9 From the Heart of Me (3:46)
  10. 10 Sunshine Daydream (3:11)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Samson and Delilah (9:15)
  2. 2 Ramble on Rose (9:30)
  3. 3 I Need a Miracle (11:17)
  4. 4 Terrapin Station (12:27)
  5. 5 Playing in the Band (13:12)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Rhythm Devils (19:29)
  2. 2 Not Fade Away (19:35)
  3. 3 Around and Around (9:14)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Dark Star (11:53)
  2. 2 The Other One (4:55)
  3. 3 Dark Star (1:09)
  4. 4 Wharf Rat (11:08)
  5. 5 St. Stephen (7:51)
  6. 6 Good Lovin' (13:57)
  7. 7 Casey Jones (5:17)
  8. 8 Johnny B. Goode (7:14)
  9. 9 We Bid You Goodnight (4:13)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Grateful Dead Primary Artist
Mickey Hart Drums, Group Member
Jerry Garcia Guitar, Vocals, Group Member
Bob Weir Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, Group Member
Lee Oskar Harmonica, Guest Appearance
John Cipollina Guitar, Guest Appearance
Dan Aykroyd Harmonica, Vocals, Voices, Guest Appearance
Greg Errico Drums, Guest Appearance
Donna Jean Godchaux Vocals, Group Member
Keith Godchaux Keyboards, Vocals, Group Member
Bill Graham Master of Ceremonies, Guest Appearance
Matthew Kelly Harmonica, Guest Appearance
Bill Kreutzmann Drums, Group Member
Phil Lesh Bass, Electric Bass, Vocals, Group Member
Ken Kesey Guest Appearance
Technical Credits
Johnny Cash Composer
Mickey Hart Composer, Producer, Engineer
Chuck Berry Composer
Jerry Garcia Composer
Grateful Dead Arranger
Buddy Holly Composer
Bob Weir Arranger, Composer
Bobby Womack Composer
Robert Hunter Composer
John Phillips Composer
Norman Petty Composer
John Perry Barlow Composer
John Dawson Composer
Tom Flye Producer, Engineer
Donna Jean Godchaux Composer
Bill Kreutzmann Composer
Phil Lesh Composer
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan Composer
Jeffrey Norman Producer, Engineer, Stereo Mix Producer
Gary Lambert Liner Notes
Robert Minkin Producer, Visual Design
Rudy Clark Composer
Stanley Mouse Cover Art
Alton Kelley Cover Art
Shirley Jean Womack Composer
Ed Perlstein Still Pictures
Traditional Composer
David Lemieux Producer
Arthur Resnick Composer
Ken Kesey Sound Effects
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Not a bad introduction for the non-initiate

    I am a recent devotee' of GD . I saw them in the summer of '03 with Bob Dylan. That show was decent, but the guitarist playing Jerry Garcia's part had NO sense of melody or restraint. After hearing this album, I can see why Jerry was so integral to what made them who they were. Jerry's voice and fluid guitar lines were both catchy, inventive, and never really too much. Granted, when in minute 12 of some songs, you can lose focus, but the album as a whole is very cohesive, and their choice of cover tunes is great! No matter what the fogged faithful may say, there really is no reason EVER to have the drum solos on the album. That is my only complaint. I'm never really impressed by the "look at us, we're BOTH soloing on the drums" platform. I can enjoy subtleties both musical and lyrical, but the drum solo is just a 20 minute waste. This album is great for driving or turning up and just rockin' out. If you like their greatest hits, but aren't sure what to get next, I would recommend this set. Well worth the money. I wish I had been exposed to this stuff long before Jerry died. Fortunately, The GD have scads of live material that varies enough over time to be worth investment.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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