Grateful Dead - Winterland New Years Run 1977

1970s Grateful Dead Road Stories Winterland

After my summer trip to San Francisco in August '77, I was itching to get back to the Bay Area. The Grateful Dead provided the perfect excuse—their fabled year-end concerts at Winterland. As a young  Dead Head who never got to see shows at the Fillmore, Fillmore West, or Avalon Ballroom, Winterland represented the last of San Francisco’s legendary venues.

Armed with my new camera—a Minolta SRT101 with a 50mm f1.8 lens—and a load of film, I left New York City solo on Christmas Day, taking Amtrak to Chicago and switching to a Greyhound Bus that took me to San Francisco. I was to meet my childhood friend Joel, who was traveling separately.

After arriving late at night, I lost my wallet in the San Francisco Greyhound bus terminal. The wallet contained all of my money, plus a pair of tickets to each of the three sold-out shows. I freaked out! What was I going to do now?

A hippie I met on the bus let me stay at his place that night, and the next morning, December 29th (the second day of four shows), he drove me to the corner of Post and Steiner Streets, home of Winterland!

It was a rainy, dreary morning and here I was standing outside the venue with no tickets and no money. Not only did I lose my own tickets but my friend Joel’s as well.

Grateful Dead Winterland by Bob Minkin

Fortunately I still had an ounce of Thai sticks that I had carried cross-country, and selling a few sticks gained me some cash. 

When my friend Joel arrived, I gave him the bad news about our predicament, and he wasn’t very happy about it to say the least. We decided to take a cab to Winterland Productions’ offices downtown, since that was where the tickets had been mailed from. I remembered the name of the woman who had originally helped me get them—Gloria Pulido—and asked for her when we got to the offices. She helped out again by selling us a new set of tickets to all three sold-out shows.

The year 1977 was a great one for the band, and they closed it out in style with three fantastic shows at Winterland. The first night, December 29th, is one of my favorites, and it was released on CD as Dick’s Picks, Volume 10. 

Jerry Garcia Winterland 12/29/77 by Bob Minkin

Sadly, Winterland is no more, and condos now occupy the corner of Post and Steiner Streets. However, up Geary Boulevard a couple of blocks from the late Winterland, the original Fillmore still stands. The Fillmore has been hosting shows since the mid-1980s, so I did eventually get to visit that legendary venue as well.

— Bob Minkin

Purchase photographs from Grateful Dead Winterland 1977 here.


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  • Jules on

    Awesome stories! If your heart is in the right place love was always around in the 70’s and 80’s. Grew up in Sacramento and concert experiences were almost always great.

  • Tim on


    Did you possibly take a picture of the band with the Oroboros (dragon swallowing his tail) in the background on the 12/31/1977 show? It was on stage sitting on a monitor with a candle beside it?
    I gave that sculpture to a stagehand that passed it to Jerry Garcia that night. I have seen a house video from Winterland Fire on that Mountain finishes and the cameraman focuses on the Oroboros, but that is such a grainy picture. Just wondering if you had an image of that? Take care

  • Sparklemahn on

    Lost my tickets to three sold out 1985 Greek Theatre shows when my wallet fell out of my backpack. Wound up getting a backstage pass through Phil’s lawyer’s kids tge 1st night, then was gifted a ticket to the next show, and scalped a ticket to the third show at face value. Then, a couple of months later Berkeley police mailed me the wallet with all three tickets still intact! Some kinda miracle.

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