The only Grateful Dead video to have received a theatrical release (in the mid-'70s), this film is a real time capsule. See Keith and Donna Godcheaux as integral parts of the band! See the Wall of Sound! See the trippy ani... more »mation! See Jerry with all-black hair! The photography and sound are crude and not on par with those in some of the more recent Dead videos, notably Ticket to New Year's or Downhill from Here, but its earnestness, and its focus on an era in the Band's history with little other video documentation, more than make up for the lack of polish. There's some above-average music, too, especially "Eyes of the World" and the ever-irresistible "U.S. Blues." --Anne Hurley« less
Christopher Henrici | Washington, DC United States | 08/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Grateful Dead movie came out in 1977 but consists of footage shot during an October 1974 series of concerts at the Winterland, the last to use the "wall of Sound" system, and the shows preceeded a break from touring but by the time it came out, they had already resumed performing. It is as much about the fans, the sound crew, the "wall of sound" PA, and promoter Bill Graham as about the band. When I saw it back when it came out and a couple times at local high school auditoriums over the next few years, I was always left with the feeling that it was a little short on uninterupted concert footage. The film tries to cover so much ground the music performances suffer. The other place I felt it was lacking was the sound mix. This new DVD release basically fixes my two main gripes about the original release. It has a second bonus disc of extra song performances, and it has been remixed- it now sounds alot better (but for those who want the original mix, you can play it that way too for the movie portion). There is also some extra interview footage. The transfer of the film has been well done. The dead always had good people working for them, whether it was Betty Cantor, Dan Healy, Steve Parish or Ron Wickersham- and now Jeffrey Norman and David Lemeieux, the keepers of the vault. They have done some excellent work with this release and "The Closing of Winterland" DVD....both come from a period many consider to be their best. Now we can have our own virtual Dead concert. If you like this DVD, I'd also recommend the 5 CD "Movie soundtrack" set which is one of the best audio releases."
David Lemieux Does It Again!
S. Weis | Western Montana | 07/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"David Lemieux is the Grateful Dead organization's current "keeper of The Vault", having taken over for the band's original archivist Dick Latvala, may he R.I.P.
Remastering The Grateful Dead Movie is his second major video project, the first being "The Closing of Winterland", which is also highly recommended.
Even though the Dead were at their creative peak in 1974 (my opinion, of course), the audio and video quality of the multitude of concert videos that have been released by and of this band arguably improves as we move forward in time, if for no other reason than technology. Simply stated, they were able to make a better recording in, say, 1990 than in 1974.
All that changed when when David Lemieux decided to go back to some of earlier masterpieces and painstakingly remaster them.
I own The Grateful Dead Movie on VHS and on LaserDisc. Yet they rarely get played due to lack of decent audio quality. There's simply so much more to enjoy from this band that's of so much better quality.
The remastered Grateful Dead movie on DVD is a treat for the eyes, ears, and spirit! If I'm not up off the couch dancing as if I were at a show, I'm sitting there mesmerized with an ear to ear grin, sort of like the dude in the front row of the show!
THE REAL TREAT, however, is the "second disc", which includes footage that never made it to the original movie. In my opinion, the second disc with its never-seen-before-footage is where you'll find the real nuggets of pure joy, pure Grateful Dead heaven, the band at their best! Wait, oh just you wait, until you experince The Other One > Spanish Jam > Mind Left Body Jam > The Other One! Yeeow!
I own every piece of commercially available Grateful Dead video, and some that are not commercially available and this magical "Second Disc" is the finest bit Grateful Dead video available. Period."
Just so amazingly good!!! Get it - you'll be glad you did.
Jeremy Williams | 05/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I cannot express in words how awesome this dvd set is. They did an excellent job with it in every way. The sound will blow you away, especially if you have a 5.1 system (you don't need it, there is a regular stereo sound option too) but the surround sound is insane.
The extras are all top notch - stuff you actually want to watch. I have to say that this is probably the best music DVD purchase I have ever made - the content, the packaging the little booklet - it's all of the highest quality. Very highly recommended! "
Jefferson T. Packer | Taos, NM | 03/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One: This movie captures the Dead live in 1974. Two: It shows them at Winterland, in San Francisco. Three: They sound GREAT!
If you still need more reasons to buy this, the sound quality is as good as 1974 could produce, with a lot of help from the included modern remixes. The film gives us a taste of the whole Grateful Dead experience. And the concert itself is simply an orgy of far-out good feelings, alternative-thinking people doing alternative-thinking things, and a smiling and animated Jerry Garcia who is of course the spark that lights the fire in the hearts and the breeze that rustles all the leaves in all the souls present.
If this movie has a downside, it is this: Some of the newcomers to the Grateful Dead who watch it will be converted into new, true Deadheads, and they will have to begin that lifelong journey living with the sad reality that Jerry is no longer with us. We are left with only recordings, films, and the memory of a Great Spirit who changed the world for the better with his fingertips."
Garcia would be proud...
Gyrograph | San Francisco | 12/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My gawd this is a great dvd.
The film itself holds up as a look at a passionate rock band: the Grateful Dead seen in this footage are so musically confident that they can knock out tunes that are creative and loose, and at the same time intensely jazzy and complex. The opening animation sequence is as good as you might remember (if you've seen the film), but maybe not as relevant now that many of us no longer live on the road. The wall-of-sound stage setup is still awe-insiping. Donna and Keith are great... there is a moment in the film where Garcia looks so damned pleased to be playing little meoldic fills while Donna moans -- it's really amazing.
And ultimately, the movie is a important reminder that Garcia and the band were once young guitar-slinging rock stars, up for a bouncy musical exploration at every turn.
What makes this dvd absolutely outstanding is the extra performances included (sequences not shown in the movie itself). The jammed-out version of the Other One is stellar. The Dark Star is quite good (although the tune ends strangely), and the China-Rider is excellent. To see this 1974 film-quality footage is an immense treat.
Other dvd extras include excellent documentary pieces and some good still photography.
Garcia as the director of the original film would be quite proud of this modern re-release. What a fine job... it's my favorite Dead dvd to date -- thank you to everyone who created this -- from 1974 on up to 2004!"