Billboard Music Awards

The Dead's Winterland Finale Comes To DVD

Before San Francisco's legendary venue Winterland closed its doors on Dec. 31, 1978, it first played host to one final concert by the Grateful Dead. Twenty-five years later, the show will be released

Before San Francisco's legendary venue Winterland closed its doors on Dec. 31, 1978, it first played host to one final concert by the Grateful Dead. Twenty-five years later, the show will be released as a two-DVD set Nov. 11 via Monterey Video.

The Blues Brothers Band -- John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Donald "Duck" Dunn and Paul Shaffer -- joined the Dead that evening. Also on hand were special guests John Cipollina, Lee Oskar, Matt Kelly, Ken Kesey and Greg Errico.

"There is 100 times the demand than there are tickets," promoter/show emcee Bill Graham is quoted as saying at the time. "I would venture it could have been half a million. You haven't seen the letters from Tokyo, New York, Boston, Miami!"

Along with the Dead's four-hour-plus performance -- in Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0, as well as DTS 5.1 -- "The Closing of Winterland" will feature new and archival interviews and photo galleries, as well as a conversation between the Dead's Bob Weir and Mickey Hart and "Merry Prankster" Kesey between sets. All of the performance audio was mixed from original 24-track analog master tapes and the video from the original master.

Three songs -- "Wharf Rat," "St. Stephen" and "Good Lovin'" -- are also seen through 40 minutes of alternate camera angle footage. A 22-page color booklet will be included.

In other Dead news, St. Martin's Press recently published "Home Before Daylight: My Life on the Road With the Grateful Dead." The book was written by longtime roadie and manager Steve Parish, who took to the road with the group in 1969 and continues to work with the Dead today. The book was co-written with journalist Joe Layden and sports a foreword by Weir.