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I think for people that don't know anything about The Grateful Dead (or but think they do, but their entire knowledge of the band consists of the songs they've heard on Classic Rock Radio, and that stoner kid in one of their classes) the hardest thing for them to grasp as they're watching this movie is that it Actually Happened.
This is not Fiction, and it ain't CGI. All of those speakers are not Props. None of those people are Extras.
The best part is - none of it was Planned. NOBODY in the Organization ever would have thought in 1965 that someday they would be as big as they were in 1974. At the time this movie was filmed, they (the Organization) were wildly out of control, and were needing to just STOP.
These concerts were the last ones before the band took a badly needed year and a half hiatus from touring. When they came back to the road in 1976, they assumed the form they would pretty much take until 1995. Up to October, 1974 - they were in a continual state of flux. This film documents one of their peaks, even it it is on the down-side of it.
What people who still believe in Corporate Media (older-type folks) and MTV (kids - most of whom believe the world MTV portrays is real) will never understand is that The Grateful Dead were so much bigger than all of that.
Forget 'Casey Jones' (although the version on this film is Smokin') and 'Touch of Grey'. If you want a peak into the most important social phenomenon of the Twentieth Century - this is a good place to start.
I've tailored this review towards people who don't know anything about the Dead, because those that do have already seen this film. I've watched this movie at least two hundred times since 1990. It hasn't bored me yet. It's a different film each time I watch it - much like the concerts I went to.
Last advice - if you don't have a good sound system, don't bother. Wait until you can watch the movie at your buddy's house with the killer system. Watching this movie with the sound coming out of a TV set speaker is like having sex without a partner.
TURN IT ON, TURN IT UP - and most importantly - RELAX! The worst thing that can happen to you is that two hours and twenty minutes after you push Play is that you'll like the Grateful Dead! (Imagine what your friends will think!) PEACE!
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