Contact Us

The Day the Winterland Ballroom Closed With One Last, Epic Grateful Dead Concert

Subscribe to KOOL 101.7 on

The Winterland Ballroom, where scores of memorable live albums and movies were recorded, went out in style on Dec. 31, 1978. The Grateful Dead headlined a farewell concert that stretched out for more than eight hours — with Jerry Garcia and band playing a stunning six of them.

The Dead were joined that night by the New Riders of the Purple Sage, and the Blue Brothers, before the stage went dark a final time. During its run, the Winterland hosted such classic rock documents as the Band‘s Last Waltz and Peter Frampton‘s Frampton Comes Alive.

The space was originally an ice-skating rink and entertainment venue built in 1928. Beginning in 1966, promoter Bill Graham occasionally moved acts onto this new stage from the nearby Fillmore Auditorium. By 1971, he had converted the 5,400-seat San Francisco landmark into a full-time music hall but by then scores of classic moments had already occurred — including shows that produced Cream‘s Wheels of Fire and Jimi Hendrix‘s Live at Winterland. Portions of Bruce Springsteen‘s Live 1975-85 were recorded there, as were albums by the likes of ELO, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Humble Pie and Paul Butterfield.

Springsteen was also part of a series of late 1978 shows that culminated with the Grateful Dead’s final epic performance on New Year’s Eve. Tom Petty, the Ramones, the Tubes and Smokey Robinson also performed concerts at Winterland during its last weeks. In 2003, the venue’s final days were turned into a record and movie, The Closing of Winterland.

Grateful Dead Albums Ranked Worst to Best

How the Grateful Dead’s Pigpen Joined Rock’s Tragic ’27 Club’

Subscribe to KOOL 101.7 on

Next: Top 10 Grateful Dead Shows

Best of Kool 101.7

Recommended for You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for KOOL Gang quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive KOOL Gang contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.