Closing of Winterland DVD Release Party 11.11.03

On Tuesday night, we attended a party at the Fillmore in honor of the release of the Closing of Winterland 2-DVD set. We were told the reception was upstairs, where there were some snacks and a no-host bar. It got pretty hot and crowded pretty quick, but there were lots of people to say hello to. We talked to Jeffrey Norman briefly, one of the engineers who worked on the project, and discussed how the overall lighting was improved from the original, and the effort it took to sync up the sound and video. Downstairs, they were preparing for the party, where the DVD would be shown on a big screen, and the sound pumped through the Fillmore PA. Jeffrey said that for that night, we would not be seeing the non-GD songs, since there wasn't the time available for performance licensing. Steve Parish was there, signing his new book, Home Before Daylight, and T-shirts and CD's were being sold, as well as the new coffee-table book, Grateful Dead: The Illustrated Trip, and a "new" live NRPS recording from 1972.

Even though I'd been to the Fillmore many times since it's renaissance, I never tire of looking at the collection of posters, thinking about the ones I went to, the ones I missed. Tonight, we were convened to celebrate something quite unique. This was more than nostalgia. What I kept thinking was, "where else on earth is this vibe being celebrated like this?" The first NRPS album was being played while various video images of the GD and others were being flashed on monitors.

Donna Jean Godchaux Mackay, Chuck Wills, a writer of The Illustrated Trip, and Andrew Heritage,Dorling Kindersley, publisher of The Illustrated Trip.

Photo courtesy of and copyright 2003 Susana Millman

Danny Rifkin and Steve Parish (signing his book, Home Before Daylight)

Photo courtesy of and copyright 2003 Susana Millman

Soon, we could hear Dennis McNally downstairs, welcoming people, and they were about to start showing the DVD, so we decided to seek cooler climes and a seat! It was big fun watching the documentary in a room of people of a like mind. They started the documentary first, and Steve Parish is in that segment a lot, and tells some pretty funny stories. Bobby and Mickey are interviewed as well. It was a "school night" so we had to get up early, and couldn't boogie all night long like we did 25 years ago, but it was a beautiful, if sometimes eerie sensation. There we were, in the Fillmore, watching the Grateful Dead at full volume. It was about as close to virtual reality GD as one could probably get!

As we walked up Fillmore Street towards the parking garage, you could still hear the band, playing full throttle, even a block away!

What a night.

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