‘The Grateful Dead Movie’ Headed for Blu-Ray
A classic Grateful Dead concert film, the aptly named 'The Grateful Dead Movie,' will be the first release of a planned series of collaborative new releases and reissues from the group when it hits stores on DVD and Blu-Ray this Nov. 1.
Co-directed by Jerry Garcia, 'The Grateful Dead Movie' will make its debut with a deluxe two disc version featuring the film on Blu-ray plus a DVD with extensive bonus features.
Originally released in 1977, 'The Grateful Dead Movie' collects performances from five Dead shows recorded at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom in October 1974. Longtime Dead biographer Dennis McNally wrote a special essay that accompanies the new release.
The former Dead publicist recalls the reason the band was compelled to film these shows in his essay, noting that “when the Dead concluded that their epic achievement in sound design, the Wall of Sound, was a fabulous albatross threatening to destroy them, and that a substantial break would follow five mid-October 1974 shows at Winterland... who knew?—maybe these really were the last shows."
"It was the most logical thing in the world for Jerry to hire a film crew and have a movie to make during the hiatus in Dead touring. Like most Dead projects, 'The Grateful Dead Movie' was substantially improvised and required massive amounts of really peculiar synchronicity to work -- and somehow came out great in the end.”
The first disc features the complete film, fully restored with a fresh transfer from the original 35mm negative in high definition, presented in widescreen. The performance includes many classic Dead favorites, including 'Truckin',' 'Sugar Magnolia' and 'Casey Jones.'
The second disc is a DVD containing more than 95 minutes of additional concert footage including a plethora of added selections from the group's catalog, with 'Uncle John's Band, 'Sugaree,' 'The Other One' and 'Dark Star' standing out among the enticing slate of previously unreleased bonus material.
The bonus features add the option for visible lyrics (and perhaps a psychedelic bouncing ball to follow along?), plus a feature-length commentary and several documentary films.
Planned future releases include 'The Closing Of Winterland,' 'Dead Ahead,' 'Truckin' Up To Buffalo,' Ticket To New Year's' and several others, including the long awaited re-release of 'So Far,' the 1987 release that to date has only been available on VHS and Laserdisc.
This is exciting news for Dead fans, no doubt, but will they have time to watch this stuff with the recent release of that mammoth 'Europe '72' box set? We're guessing that they'll make some room in their schedule.