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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Winterland Stories


The legendary Winterland Arena in San Francisco, CA has played hosts to hundreds of concerts over the years including the famous "Last Waltz" concert of Bob Dylan and The Band's final performance.

In the spring of 1985, Chris Horn took some photographs of Winterland Arena, San Francisco, CA, being torn down. The photos were stored for many years and a project developed toward donating copies to the SF Museum and Historical Society.

In addition to the photos, Chris gathered stories from people who attended performances while Bill Graham put on rock shows at the venue (1966 - 1978).

Presented for your enjoyment - photos, stories, links and a complete list of performers during the Bill Graham years.

Check out Winterland Stories.

Let Chris know what you think of Winterland Stories. Feel free to share your story too. Thanks for your comments!


At 6/02/2008 11:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a quick comment, that The Last Waltz wasn't the big bash for "Bob Dylan and The Band", it was held and marketed as the last concert for "The Band".

Dylan certainly played an important role in The Band's history and in the concert itself, but The Band operated apart from the Bobster for most of its life and is respected independently of him.

At 6/02/2008 02:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great site about Winterland Stories. Thank you.

At 6/02/2008 03:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great stories about Winterland and it brings back many memories. I only saw one show at Winterland. The show I witnessed was Dicky Betts, Kingfish and 38special(1978). I borrowed my brother in laws Chevy Suburban with a CB radio and we drove in from Vacaville. I went to the concert and came out and the car was broken into and the cb radio was history. Thanks for the memories Winterland. The show was not great but ok from what I remember.

At 6/02/2008 06:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


...they tore it down?


At 6/02/2008 10:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A great blog. I miss that old building. I must have gone to 30 shows there. Linda Ronstadt opened for Neil in 1975. The ticket was a whopping $5.00. We had our car stolen at a Grateful Dead concert and had to hitch back to Berkeley. Those were the days!

Still Rockin in the Rain

At 6/03/2008 04:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is Chris Horn....

The previous comment mentioned seeing Neil Young and Linda R. at Winterland.

If you see this and want to send me a 'story' about this concert (for a possible future WS update) feel free to write me at...

Thnak you and everyone else for your comments!

At 6/03/2008 08:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wal-mart (and k-mart) suck.

is bgzkdes really a "word"?

At 6/05/2008 08:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your site. Thanks for doing this.

At 6/07/2008 10:41:00 PM, Blogger steve said...

I have no idea how many times I've been to the corner of Post and Steiner. The normal thing for me to do on weekends was to go to Winterland. It didn't matter who was playing, I went because Winterland was the best place to be on a Fri. or Sat. night. One time I saw Manassas and Stephen Stills brought out some 'special' guests. It was CSNY onstage for a while. It seems like the ovation for them lasted 20 minutes and when Manassas finally returned they got boo'd off the stage. What a shame, they were putting on a great show. I had never heard of David Bowie until I saw him on his Spiders from Mars tour. I wasn't sure if I was seeing something awful or something great, I just knew it was different. Within a year my little high school rock band was doing half of that album. One time I was in line (Standing in line before the show was an important part of the ritual) and I was drinking from a pint bottle of southern comfort. There was an old security guard named Willie. He was there every weekend and he told me how to sneak my bottle in without getting caught. Thank God I can go to concerts now without being under the influence of anything. I gotta million more stories about my favorite venue and Bill Graham, Jerry, Neil, etc.

At 6/07/2008 10:42:00 PM, Blogger steve said...

I have no idea how many times I've been to the corner of Post and Steiner. The normal thing for me to do on weekends was to go to Winterland. It didn't matter who was playing, I went because Winterland was the best place to be on a Fri. or Sat. night. One time I saw Manassas and Stephen Stills brought out some 'special' guests. It was CSNY onstage for a while. It seems like the ovation for them lasted 20 minutes and when Manassas finally returned they got boo'd off the stage. What a shame, they were putting on a great show. I had never heard of David Bowie until I saw him on his Spiders from Mars tour. I wasn't sure if I was seeing something awful or something great, I just knew it was different. Within a year my little high school rock band was doing half of that album. One time I was in line (Standing in line before the show was an important part of the ritual) and I was drinking from a pint bottle of southern comfort. There was an old security guard named Willie. He was there every weekend and he told me how to sneak my bottle in without getting caught. Thank God I can go to concerts now without being under the influence of anything. I gotta million more stories about my favorite venue and Bill Graham, Jerry, Neil, etc.

At 7/10/2008 12:27:00 PM, Blogger Lou said...

My first two Winterland shows will be forever ingrained in my memories ... Feb 68 - Albert King, John Mayall, Jimi Hendrix; came away with a lifelong love of Albert - he stole the show from Jimi IMHO ... Mar 68 - Blood Sweat and Tears (the Al Kooper version) and Cream ... later saw the Oct Hendrix show ... a good year for music!!

At 9/16/2008 01:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stumbled upon this site tonight and have to thank Chris Horn and all the other posters for bringing back some wonderful (and some not so wonderful)memories.
I remember the green stair-wells people sometimes getting sick while walking them. The chase scene from Bullit being played on the screen prior to the show along with cartoons and bouncing balls and stuff.Bill Graham pulling up in a limo and yelling at people in line to not yank on the doors and such.
I saw so many shows,we went no matter WHO played.
Some stand out shows for me were The Who. God, people were trying to rip the seats up out of the floor in the end. There is a picture that captures the moment on the Wolfgang's Vault website with Pete throwing his guitar in the air. Perfect.
The J. Geils Band played a kick-ass concert there. The entire place was up on it's feet. Incredible! I could go on and on. But thanks again for the website!

At 10/04/2008 01:04:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember my first time at Winterland, coming in and hearing Les Dudek jam on guitar. It was great. Next thing I remember is Pat Travers rocking away. The audience was booing because they wouldn't let him back for a 2nd encore. Then Dickey Betts headlined and played all those great Allman Brothers tunes. He played 5 encores. I've never seen anything like it. My 2nd and last show was Van Morrison during the last month it was open. Winterland was a cozy place with many nooks and crannies. There was no place like it.

At 10/26/2008 05:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LONG LIVE WINTERLAND...!!! One thing that I did not see mention of was the famous mirrored ball above the crowd, it was always a big deal to see the green laser light hit that and reflect onto the audience, also every show was being videotaped, unfortunately much of the classic footage was lost in a fire in San Francisco when bill graham was still alive, still remember journey when they first came out with there first album, they actually played it twice, cuz thats all the material they had, (no one minded) it kicked ass...also the tubes kicked major ass, all them naked women running around on stage and in the audience, one was in front of me with nothing but glitter, when the audience shoved me I ended up with glitter on me...damn I miss that shit...sincerely, mark sabatini

At 12/06/2008 01:19:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw so many shows at Winterland from 1976 thru 1978 (as a 16 to 18 year old). But I have to agree with the poster above that the Les Dudek, Pat Travers, Dicky Betts & Great Southern show was one of the BEST shows of my lifetime. I will NEVER forget standing a few feet in front of Dicky Betts as he played like no one I have ever seen before or since. There was something magical about that performance that still gives me chills when I think about it.

Yeah Winterland was a dump, and it had an anything-goes atmosphere (OK I only bought acid once from a stranger at a Montrose show - you remember the guys hanging around near the bathrooms "acid for sale, acid, acid..."). But for $6.00 or so, where else could you see so many great acts in one night?!

At 1/13/2009 10:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first "big" concert was Grand Funk Railroad and Bloodrock. My three buddies and I were directly under the mirrored ball (laying on our backs) before the show started. There were two spotlights shining on the ball as it was us the illusion we were spinning around the ball!!! They were playing tunes loudly over the sound system. We were high on "psyches". Great show!! Also saw Ten Years After, Black Sabbath, Robin Trower, Johnny Winter, and Blue Oyster Cult. Also saw ZZ Top and Yes when nobody had ever heard of them.
I also went and saw Winterland being torn down with a crane and wrecking ball in '85. I have a piece of Winterland concrete in my dresser drawer. IT'S NOT FOR SALE!!! LOL

At 2/08/2009 11:49:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

spent many nights of my youth there at this wonderful venue remember seeing robin trower one night bad co the next, sammy hagar on same bill as montrose doobies, bto and styx with young tommy shaw, eddie money's first show this place was the first place i saw lynyrd skynyrd with only two guitarists all for five dollars, eight at the most.there will never be a place like this sadly for a new generation of fans live isnt the same. long live winterland in our memories....

At 4/22/2009 01:27:00 PM, Blogger steve walker said...

thank you for this spot
winterland was my home away from home everybody from jerry and the boys to mick and pete from 72 to 78 saw almost everybody it was my college GDU
thank you uncle bobo
"long live the memories"

At 5/18/2009 04:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, so many memories for so many people! I can tell you what my first and last visits to Winterland were, but not all the shows in-between. Appropriately, my first show was on New Year's Eve, 1971 to see the Grateful Dead. I had recently arrived in the Bay Area to attend college. My last show was the Closing on New Year's Eve, 1978. So that my many trips were bookended by two wonderful experiences with the Dead.

There was a point at that final show when I wandered up to the top seats behind the stage and in the corner. I looked up and saw big chunks of plaster just gone, and what looked like wiring or cable hanging out. I thought, "Holy S**t! This place is really falling apart!" Too expensive to renovate, I guess, but it was sad, sad, sad. Bill had them put the Dead banner outside the building, and as my friends and I approached the building (carrying our La Cumbre burritos to eat in line, that's how memorable of a night it was!), we were just, well, grateful. I must have seen at least 30-40 shows there between 72 and 76, when I moved out of the Bay Area. Winterland deserves its own site like this. Thanks.

Phil in San Diego

At 6/13/2009 03:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first concert at Winterland was a month after I got out of the Air Force. It was March 1969, the show was AUM, Savoy Brown and Janis. Unbelievable show... I saw so many great shows, Robin Trower in 1971, Zappa, Lynyrd Skynyrd opening for Marshall Tucker and blowing the roof off... Very early Jefferson Starship, Lou Reed, The Beach Boys (went to mock them and, again, blown away), Toots & The Maytals opening for Santana, and dozens that I can't remember... The vibe was always mellow. Thank You!!

At 6/18/2009 07:00:00 AM, Anonymous Pat Kitchen said...

Thanks Chris for creating this wonderful site! I have so many great memories from Winterland...which is surprising considering the ease with which to find mind-altering substances there! I was in the army stationed at Ft. Ord near Monterey. My friends and I made numerous journeys to Winterland from '75-77'.

The shows I remember most are Ted Nugent opening for Aerosmith and Starship's 10th anniversary concert, along with my first Winterland experience, Blue Oyster Cult.

Being from Michigan, the Nugent concert was special. He completely blew away the crowd and Aerosmith! We were on the floor that night, which was the only time we did not sit in the balcony. Ted set the loudness record that night as well being the only opening act to be called out for 2 encores.

Blue Oyster Cult was my first show there. They plaed my home town of Muskegon Michigan last summer and I had a chance to meet and talk with Eric Bloom. Unfortunately, all I did was make him feel old when I brought up his concert at Winterland in March '75. Oh well, age is a state of mind!

My favorite though was Jefferson Starship. Grace was incredible that night! Bill opened the doors early because it was raining and he set up a volleyball net on the floor. I was doing some kind of acid and as I sat in the balcony I couldn't figure out how the players could keep track of all the balls I was Country Joe played that night, I'm getting chicken-skinned thinking about that incredible night!

Thanks again for bringing back some awesome memories!!

PS....Somebody else mentioned the Tubes on New Year's Eve....I was there also. There were so many great concerts in the Bay Area that night, but we went to Winterland just because...hey, it's gonna be great if it's at Winterland!!

At 7/30/2009 02:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was the best venue "acoustics/sound wise" in the entire Bay Area! The magic and vibe inside was something no other place could match. Here's some of my fond memories of various shows I experienced there:
1974- Styx, Wishbone Ash, & B.T.O.
1974 - Yesterday & Today & Journey.
1975 - Yesterday & Today, Journey
1975 New Years Eve - Greg Kiln, Yesterday & Today, Earth Quake, & Ronnie Montrose.
1976 - Rush, Bep Bop Deluxe, & Ted Nugent
1977 - Les Dudek, Pat Travers, & Dicky Betts
1977 - Hush, Max Webster, UFO, & Rush
1977 - Greg Kiln, Earth Quake & Mahogany Rush
1978 - No Dice, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, & REO Speedwagon
1978 - No Dice, Wet Willy & Mahogany Rush

Daniel Lars

At 1/07/2010 01:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So many memories.

The first show I ever attended without my parents was also my first visit to Winterland and my first sighting of the Who. Slept in line two nights in a row and it was awesome!

I remember the videos that played beforehand, which always seemed to be Status Quo, and "Greensleeves" telling you to beat it.

J. Geils seven encores, The Jam defiantly playing under unchanging white lights, The Sex Pistols, Rush making me forget who it was we'd gone to see on the bill.

There is no place that holds more rock 'n' roll memories for me than Winterland.

At 1/27/2010 04:19:00 AM, Blogger Johny said...

Winterland was my "home for many years. Thanks for this site and bringing back those memories. Montrose, Journey, & UFO for $4.
Pat Travers, BOC, Boston's first tour. waiting in line was really fun. Kerry Livgren From Kansas opened the side stage door and hit me, shook my hand & said "Sorry". But it was RUSH that really affected my entire life. I have seen them every tour ever since. Always got lost trying to find the freeway after shows, and still trippin. I can't even begin to share all the shows, and all the fun we had, and we never busted!
It was an amazing time and place. Thank You Bill!.. John G. Howard

At 2/01/2010 08:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 2/01/2010 08:53:00 AM, Blogger cory kilvert said...

Long Live Winterland ! The greatest place to see concerts in the 20th Century !

At 2/01/2010 09:10:00 AM, Blogger cory kilvert said...

I saw many shows at Winterland with my first being the September, 1974 show with Santana and Journey. I was a sailor aboard the aircraft carrier USS ENTERPRISE stationed across the bay in San Francisco. I was deploying to the Western Pacific in a few days, so me and two other guys went over for that show. I remember the bass player in Santana, Dave Brown, who was the original bass player, had just gotten out of jail for a drug bust. I had no idea who Journey was, until Bill Graham came out and introduced each band member. I knew it was going to be a special night. Eight months later, after returning from the evacuation of Vietnam, I was back at Winterland for Peter Frampton's show which was recorded for his live record which came out in 1976. I saw many shows there in 1975 including Black Sabbath and Mahoganey Rush. We always had a game plan when we went to Winterland. We would get there at around 2pm, get in line and head for the balcony facing the stage, front row in the middle. Yeah, we were the "sailor hippies" that always sat there for many shows up until I got discharged in January, 1978. Bands we saw there were Jeff Beck and Mahavishnu Orchestra, Peter Gabriel and Yesterday and Today, ZZ Top, Charlie Daniels, Leslie West Band, Orleans, The Rubinoos, Television, Stoneground, Sons Of Chaplin, Keith and Donna with Kingfish and Jerry Garcia and Friends (the "reunion" of the Dead in 1977), Fleetwood Mac and Brian Auger's Oblivion Express, Rick Wakeman, Weather Report, Al DiMeola and Lenny White with Carlos Santana showing up to jam, and my last show there in 1978, The Ramones and The Dictators. It's great to post my memories of Winterland, and I have so many more which I'll post next time.
Cory Kilvert Pine Bush, New York

At 2/04/2010 01:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saw Journey in '74 & 75, so much better before that Ass Steve Perry joined...They played progressive fusion rock..Gregg Rolie was awesome...Aynsley Dunbar was a great drummer...Saw English rockers "The Sweet" also, those guys were the epitomy of Hard rock.....very underrated........The Who in '76...Keith Moon was one of a kind, just like Bonham in Zeppelin...Irreplaceable...'70's will never return...Lazy, Hazy days of freedom...If we had known how music would change into hiphop/rap, we would've had a big party and OD'ed...It all started with Disco and Break dancing "WAR" - the world is a ghetto......I miss Winterland...Don in Benicia, which is where I lived 50 years ago, and still do today..

At 2/22/2010 12:09:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Well I was so excited to come across your site. I went to 11 concerts at Winterland at age 16 being my fist one. I loved Winterland!! San Jose was just a half hour away for me. Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Foghat, Tower of Power to name a few. At 12 my first concert was Janis Joplin at the Fair Grounds in San Jose and at 53, I will be seeing Bon Jovi for the fourth time at Arco Arena 3/2/2010. I have quite a list of artists, which includes Led Zeppelin at Earls Court, Lonndon May 25 1975. I have seen the Rolling Stones 4 times, and lots more! Thanks for the awesome list of Artists that played there, it helped me remember the concerts I had gone to.
Debby Danielson Cotta

At 3/10/2010 05:56:00 PM, Blogger Horace said...

Chris Horn,

Thank you for this website. I'm a native San Franciscan who was 10 years old when the Grateful Dead closed it out. Wish I could have seen some shows there. Wish I could have seen The Who play Winterland in 1976.

At 3/11/2010 08:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are no words to express what Winterland, and the Late Bill Graham means to me. It always felt so safe; so magical, with an energy that was vast and timeless. It was a special place and time in American history that can never be again and only those who were there will understand. Thank you so much for this very wonderful site! "We miss you Bill, very much."

-Dean Palmer

At 4/27/2010 08:30:00 PM, Anonymous Eric Soderlund said...

Great site! I was happy to find it after so many years. Thanks for all your work, Chris.

In my garage is a chunk of concrete, taken from the rubble of Winterland when they tore it down. My good friend Ron and I made the pilgramage to say goodbye one more time. Now and then I hold it up to my ear like a seashell, listening for long-lost echoes of so many incredible shows. And yeah, sometimes I hear a few tunes...

Like so many comments before me, I spend many nights at Winterland. Practically grew up there, seeing shows from about 1971 (age 16) until it closed in '79. Conservatively estimating 15 shows per year, times 9 yrs, that's 135 shows (I think it was more, a LOT more!).

The Dead, The Who, Airplane, Hot Tuna, Johnny Winter, Ten Years After, Allman Bros, Santana, Cold Blood, Marshall Tucker, The Outlaws....the list goes on for miles. Amazing place, and I had fun every time. Naturally, there's much I don't remember (it's been a while, and I partied hard then. :-) )

Raise a glass (or whatever) to good old Winterland Arena, and Bill Graham, and Jerry....and all of us who were there. That time annd place will never come again.


Petaluma, CA

At 4/28/2010 12:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Winterland was my first concert as a 15 year old high school student. What an trip, stole my friends moms car and made our way to see Charlie Daniels, UFO and Montrose all on the same bill. Remember seeing someone get sucker punched out of nowwhere, and if you had to us the toilet, God help ya, the urinal would be overflowing.
But what a great memory of the bands.

At 5/05/2010 06:59:00 PM, Anonymous Kyle said...

Mott the Hoople, Joe Walsh and Montrose in '73 was my first concert. I saw many more, including the '76 Who show. Was there anything better than waiting in line for those gigs? The people you'd meet, and the stories they told!

I almost lost my life coming out of an Aerosmith concert. Pretty dang loud, and we were front row balcony. As we exited, I stepped off curb out front, only to have someone grab me by the collar and pull me back.....just as a city bus whizzed past my nose.

So thanks to the fellow intrepid traveler in 1975.

At 5/07/2010 03:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey People, wouldn't it be awesome if somebody could find the old plans and blue prints for the building and all the fans put their money together and build a NEW Winterland? Where would we put it? How much would it cost? What city should be graced with this wonderful place, and who would manage it? Details could be worked out I'm sure. And it would be ours! Winterland must NOT die! Just throwing this out there...

At 5/19/2010 01:11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good idea! I would think it would require a lot of money. Probably would need major investors or big-time performers chipping in. If built, it's only fitting that it be in San Francisco. Maybe could lease out office space along the outer periphery during the day to finance the operations. And have concerts at night.

At 5/19/2010 08:05:00 PM, Anonymous deanplmr said...

I think the first step would be to see if anyone can even locate the original construction blue prints for the building. Without them, it's down the drain. If they're found, then we send them to a local SF contractor to see what it would actually cost (estimate) to build it with the necessary structural upgrades for code compliance. Then, armed with this info, we go find backers, and all the fans to see of anyone would want to even do this. Once we know we can find the financing, or at least part of it, we approach the City with what we want to do. As a historical monument, they may offer us a construction site at a very low cost for the property. Business owners in SF who may wish to have their names on the ticket for restoring the old historic building may wish to donate additional funds for the property. And would it be possible that the Bill Graham Estate might even be interested in being part of the project?

At 6/06/2010 02:08:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Ohhhh yes, Winterland. What an extravaganza. There is no other word. I went there many times for concerts. We'd get off work at Holiday Liquors in Walnut Creek and make that ride to San Francisco. And, like so many others, get lost but we'd always find it. It was a world unto it's own. You didn't just go see a concert there, like at a big stadium, really everyone who attended, the bands, the employees, Bill Graham....everyone.....was part of it. It just can't be put into words. You had to be there. Once that music got going I was up to the left of the stage and the dancing began with everybody else who just could not sit still with all that great rock & rock. I turn 60 next year but the memories of Winterland and friends will always be there. Thanks for this web site!!!!
Dave/Petersburg, Alaska

At 6/20/2010 10:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this first show was johnny winter foghat and framtons camal.I tryed to get who tix but it was a lottery. The dead when they came back from egypt.When they tore it down in 85 I worked on the parking structure and could still feel the vibes off janis & jimi.Those were some good times.

At 9/19/2010 02:02:00 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Great site. I counted 19 concerts I attended there in 1974 when I was stationed in Vallejo. Great memories. Journey as an opening act. An Evening with Genesis, when no one had heard of them, but we trusted Bill Graham.

At 1/22/2011 05:25:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Great site thanks for putting it up. For a bunch of White Punks on Dope from Main back in the day it was THE big deal to go there and catch a show and catch a buzz! Yeah I had totally forgotten seeing Montrose there. Marshall Tucker with Charlie Daniels guesting was pretty sweeeeet.

At 1/22/2011 05:35:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Ok my TRUE Winterland story:
When I was a young tyke my parents toom the Family to go see the Ice Follies. We drover over from Marin, parked in the garage below the building and went and saw the show. WHO should they glide out on the ice during intermission? None other than Herman's Hermit's. I thought that was pretty cool.
A few years later when I was entrusted to drive the family Volvo from Marin with my mates to see a show at Winterland, I parked down below and we went up and saw the show. Upon leaving, some security guy asked for my creditals..I told him "we always park here" and he informed me it was for backstage personell only. How naive I was!

At 3/29/2011 03:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

like the photographer, the only Dead concert I attended was the one held 12/30/77. I saw The Tubes the next night at Berkeley Community Theater. My experiences of these visits was limited, but for a young 20 something devotee from the East Coast on his first visit to the West Coast it was great!

At 3/29/2011 03:18:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

like the photographer, the only Dead concert I attended was the one held 12/30/77. I saw The Tubes the next night at Berkeley Community Theater. My experiences of these venues was limited, but for a young 20 something devotee from the East Coast on his first visit to the West Coast it was great!

At 4/13/2011 10:49:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

does any one remember the 75 inflight concert or was it just the druges

At 5/02/2011 11:07:00 PM, Blogger Joseph said...

Dizzy with emotions I guess. ?the Tubes and Mahavishnu Orchestra, 1974. Starship, Digga rhythm Band, Sons of Champlin there and then again that weekend in GGpark, sept. 1975. It Was a Beutiful Day. At least several GD shows. Many shows! Such community and magic! Of course alotta love and partying over the top. Hitching home and then walking the last 10 miles high as ever with the shhhh ahhhh sound of the audience(or ear buzz)in our heads, smoking every mile or hour or two. Saw some metal shows, A bunch of Starship, Santana, Can't remember I guess. So much coolness. After a dead show hanging with people outside like it was all so normal to live like life was so free. Share the Love, thanks for this site.

At 5/14/2011 01:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up on washington st at lyon, started going with neighborhood kids about 1972 or so. we'd walk down and stop off somewhere and smoke a little pot and score a few beers, eventually graduating to acid. i had a morning paper route that took me from post and octavia to webster, up webster to sutter and then down sutter all the way to divisadero, throwing one block north and south of sutter. i actually delivered to winterland but never did collect any money for my trouble. what a different neighborhood back then, total ghetto. the first time i went to collect got jumped by about six jigs and a german sheppard. put up a hell of a fight. brave guys they were, six of them on a thirteen year old. hopefully they're all in jail or dying of chronic heart disease from too much fried chicken.

At 6/01/2011 02:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was there for Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and the Dead during the final weeks of Winterland. The first two shows were phenomenal but it was the Grateful Dead gig that stands out from all others. My boyfriend and I lived in Los Angeles and when we heard that tickets for the Dead New Years Eve show were only available by lottery and only sold in the Bay Area, I got it in my head to send a letter directly to Bill Graham with enough money enclosed for two tickets. I'd explained my situation and how much we wanted to be there for Winterland's last night about your shot in the dark, boy! I never expected a reply but a week before the show I got a letter in the mail from BGP that not only had two tickets to the Dead but a personally hand written letter from Bill Graham himself. It was short, sweet and to the point..."Here you go... enjoy, Bill Graham"
To this day I'm still gobsmacked about that...a letter and a personal invite to the show of the year from the man himself? Absolutely overwhelming and one of the sweetest rock n' roll memories I have. I was able to thank him personally after the Dead show...he gave me a hug and told me he was glad to do it and glad we had such a wonderful time. Needless to say I cried for days after he was killed...there'll never be another like him.

At 8/15/2011 04:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a performer who "lived" a portion of his rock and roll dream by performing 7 times at Winterland, (5 with Link Wray, and 2 with Eddie Money), I cannot begin to explain the feeling of looking out over the audience in the darkened hall after a killer set, and seeing thousands of Bic lighters amid the roar. Those are moments that shape a soul. Thanks to everyone who made the Winterland Experience possible.

At 8/15/2011 04:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be great to see a calendar chronology of all the Winterland concerts at this the ones for The Fillmore and Winterland currently gracing the lobby at Yoshi's in San Francisco.

At 8/24/2011 04:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy, I'll tell ya.. once in particular.. it was the New Riders of the Purple Sage.. seems like it was Thanksgiving weekend of 1973 or so. Funny how one experience can linger with a guy for a lifetime, but in many ways I began to grow up that night :-)

I often wonder if the people who live in the apartments that are there now realize just how sacred the ground is upon which they dwell. I sometimes drive past and wish the buliders could have just left the Winterland sign and the outer walls intact and built the apartments inside them. At least then there would be a "headstone" of sorts that we could go and visit like one does a grave.

Thank you, Chris, for the awesome website and the fond memories.

At 8/25/2011 05:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really wish that all the people who loved Winterland and what it stood for could combine their resources and all of us build a new one! All we'd need is the original plans and then upgrade them with the modern building codes and some financial backing to make it happen. We could have our Winterland back again. Alas, there is no replacing Wolodia Grajonca (Bill Graham) but I think he would be pleased that we all loved his work and that awesome place in San Francisco so much that it could be rebuilt. If this sends shivers up your spine to think about as it does me, then we must act!

At 9/02/2011 11:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THEY JUST DON"T UNDERSTAND!!! if they never went to Winterland they never will... won't ever forget Pink Floyd before "Dark Side" doing "Careful With That Ax Eugene" and looking down the throat of Roger Waters because he was 10 feet from me! saw Alvin Lee replace a broken string mid solo while smoking a joint, Richie Blackmore standing perfectly still while ripping the plaster off the walls playing "Space Truckin'"...remember Steely Dan as an opening act to Slade....Ozzy on top of the amplifiers flashing a peace sign during "Children of the Grave"...with Yes as the opening act (they played Roundabout twice)...Winterland was like no smoked pot with people you didn't know and pee'd on guys passed out in the urinal trough...gazed at the mirror ball and told time by the BELFAST clock high on south wall...and I'll never forget seeing KISS for 2 dollars on a tuesday night and yes... thats my big fuzzy head in the video!!! WINTERLAND was the place to be and it will never be replaced... Thanks Bill....

At 10/02/2011 12:50:00 PM, Anonymous Charlie Davis said...

....Thanks for putting this site up. The list of concerts that i attended are too many to list. Humble Pie,Big Brother and the Holding Co,Ten Years After.The Dead ect. Just reading all the comments and reliving all the great times. The Avalon,Straight Theater,Matrix,California Hall and the Fillmore West are all gone too but Winterland was always my favorite.

At 10/06/2011 10:26:00 PM, Anonymous said...

I was a Winterland regular. I attended 56 shows there. Kept a diary. My first was Led Zeppelin and Issac Hayes (not Bonzo Dog Band)and Wolfgang on November 8, 1969. My last was Tom Petty and Greg Kihn on December 30, 1978. In between, I saw all the heavy groups( The Who, Deep Purple, Jeff Beck etc.). All the S.F. groups(The Dead, Starship, Quicksilver,etc.)Did a lot of illegals , met a lot of loose girls and had a blast at every show. My favorite show was Paul Butterfield'Better Days-Elvin Bishop Group and Mike Bloomfield, Mark Naftalin & Freinds on February 24, 1973. After the bands did full sets with encores the original Butterfield Blues Band played a set that turned into an all night jam session with many special guests. The best party bands were J. Geils Band and Elvin Bishop Group.Thanx Bill, Jerry and staff for 56 Great Nights!

At 10/06/2011 11:17:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature Until the Morning Comes said...

WOW! Did someone actually write:

If we had known how music would change into hiphop/rap, we would've had a big party and OD'ed...It all started with Disco and Break dancing "WAR" - the world is a ghetto...

Don't people know that Dylan was rapping back in the old folkie days?

Sorry, but that comment gets the "whadd'n'asshole" award...

At 11/30/2011 12:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"J. Geils seven encores, ..."

I remember that show! People that took to the exits trying to get back in when Peter Wolf would come back on stage. Peter sitting on the edge of the stage singing "Start All Over", and then finally, Bill Graham literally picking Peter up and carrying him off the stage at the end of his final encore.

Another favorite was Aerosmith opening for Ted Nugent. Nugent was pissed because everyone wanted Aerosmith to keep playing.

Biggest disappointment: Going to see Lee Michaels and him refusing to play the piano and playing some weird stuff on his guitar. People booed and walked out.

Thanks for this site, and bringing back some great memories! I agree, if you never went, you'll never understand...MWH

At 4/21/2012 04:39:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I loved wenter land it was just the
place on earth to see a concert
from standing in line until it was over sanfrancisco new its rock
six dollars great people jeff beck .you were right on top from the right much history
i was their.thank you.

At 3/05/2013 03:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

in your "The Performers" section on the Winterland site, i think you may have forgotten to list Led Zeppelin, who played there Nov 6-8, 1969. Not a big deal, but just thought i'd point it out. Your site is AWESOME and for those of us who know the history of Winterland and know the Bay Area, it really brings back some wonderful memories. THANKS!!

At 6/19/2013 07:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked Winterland from 1947-1953
the ice follies , roller derby, boxing,wrestling and the Shamrocks
Hockey games and Public skating.
Was there when a large rat fell onto the ice from the ceiling at the players used it as a hockey puck.

My life would not be the same without it. from Ron Pursley

At 10/25/2013 03:45:00 PM, Blogger Jack Rockwell said...

This is a great site. In terms of music, people and ambiance, the best concerts were always at Winterland, period, and it is fitting to pay tribute so I'm compelled to add a story.
I was fortunate to attend many great concerts at Winterland including the best show of any kind I've ever seen anywhere. It was Hendrix on October 12th, 1968.
I was a 17 year old kid and considered myself a hotshot guitarist but was between bands.
My friends and I actually saw two concerts without knowing it that evening. If any of us realized our tickets were for the earlier of two shows it wasn't mentioned. The bill was made up of a solo/acoustic Dino Valentino, The Buddy Miles Express then the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Things started getting odd when recorded music came on after the first two acts had played and then Hendrix finished his set. The audience didn't leave. We were grooving along nicely so we just hung out.
What we didn't know then was that the show was over and another audience had been let in for a late show. The atmosphere got more electric with the extra people and it was ridiculously packed but everyone was very cool. Dino Valenti came on again which seemed really strange but we went along with it as promoters in those early days were experimenting with concert formats and, to us, this was just a weird variation.
By this time we had centered ourselves a few feet from the stage. Dino and Buddy finished playing then we spent the rest of the evening mesmerized by a different Hendrix than earlier. His showmanship was more laid back and the magic in the air was impossible to describe and probably could not have happened anywhere else. Thanks Winterland.

At 12/18/2013 02:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first show (16 years old) was Ted Nugent opening for Johhny Winter. I had not heard of Ted yet but he kicked some serious butt. Johnny had no chance following his set. I went out to the lobby before Johnny started for some air and a guy rushed through the door and asked me if Nugent had played yet. He was out of breath from running, I said he just finished, the guy turned around and left. I was hooked on Winterland after this and attended many more shows before shipping out for my Navy enlistment, including Black Sabbath before Ozzy left. Partying, in line will be memories that will last until I die.

At 12/25/2013 11:21:00 PM, Anonymous Paul S said...

Paul from Los Altos

I had to chime in on the Winterland Stories site - man it brings back so many memories that I felt I should also add mine.

My first show ever was at Winterland in Sept 72 - Jefferson Airplane Thirty Seconds over Winterland. I was 14 and my Deadhead big brother Lou took me and I dropped a hit of windowpane for the ride up to the City without telling him for some reason. Commander Cody opened and the show was amazing.

The very next weekend I hitched up from Los Altos with 2 buddies to see Santana and from then on was at Winterland practically every weekend.

"Have your ticket out and ready ! Have your ticket out and ready !"

Thanks for bringing back so many great memories - for me the Dead shows were always the best.

Allman Brothers / Marshall Tucker, Humble Pie/ Foghat , Dave Mason, Johnny Winter, Santana, War, King Crimson, The 3 BS (Bloomfield, Bishop, Butterfield) , Roy Buchanan, Cold Blood, Hot Tuna !, J Geils, Mohogany Rush , NRPS, Quicksilver , the Sons, ten Years After, Trower, John Mayall, ZZ Top, Traffic, Doobies, Canned Heat, on and on.

Check out

for a list of all the shows.


At 1/26/2014 10:26:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Wow first time was a grateful dead show I was I believe in the 6th grade 69/70 ? My brother 8 yrs older took me along.
From the start waiting in the line was big part for me it was a big part of the experience.
I couldn't tell you how many shows I saw there 100 plus easy my brother taking me then in jr high my two friends and I would take the bus $.25 across the bridge in the morning wonder through the city arriving at winterland in the afternoon for the line. We always found someone to take us back across the bay after.
Through friends of Brother and some others started getting back stage passes in high school yrs there was a room in the back where the band hung out the curtain room seats to the left side of the stage as you faced it from the front. there was a door in the wall in the back room it went out to stairs led up to the balcony behind the stage right side of the stage from the stairs it looked just like the wall I think about 4-5 steps up from the bottom push on the wall

I met a girl in line promised her I would get her back stage I had a pass for back stage Dave Mason was playing I brought her in through the door and to the curtain room. just in time to see him play Lets just say she was very grateful after the show.

Joel Walsh and barn storm met him when they played. he was incredible, funny as hell had me laughing so much I could hardly catch my breath.
I was learning to play guitar. I could get a spot right there at the stage where i could watch,learn take notes. right up to the stage could see clearly
there hands as long as they faced me I was right in front of Peter Framptons mic well close enough the women were a bit lets say determined to have the spots right at the stage. from his concert stayed with friends in the city and made it to snack Sunday the next morning.

I remember it started raining so we were let in early they had people from each of local towns form teams to play volley ball against each other our team was frying on the window I was told we were mot as bad as it seemed while playing but hell it was fun anyway. sounds of the city shows I think Sunday Monday J Guiels band tore it up.
The raw energy created between the bands and audiences there could never do it anywhere else like at winterland able to be right at the stage 2-3 feet from them have them smile at you taking notes lean over and talk to you between songs Robin Trower and a couple others

My brother introduced me to the music and opened my eyes to everything happening in the bay area then one night sitting looking out over the bay at the lights of San Francisco

He said your watching and taking part in history. pay attention and enjoy it. It will never be this sway again
Winterland Sometimes when I drive by there I can still smell it close my eyes and I can see it clearly. Bill Graham I want you to give a warm welcome to Lynard Skynard they were the opening act first time there they rocked the house came out after there set and watched the rest of the show with the audience came back as the headliner I think the fallowing year. memories flooding back I think I'll close my eyes now and live them again.

At 11/26/2016 05:00:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

It's been said by others, but for me the best show was the Les Dudek, Pat Travers, and Dickey Betts show in April 1978... just out of high school. We saw Pat Travers come on after Les Dudek (who put on a very good set) and just blow the place away. Dickey Betts came out, following all the energy of Pat Travers (who really stole the show), but Dickey decided to play for about 3 hours, playing all the Allman Bros catalog.... unbelievable show..

At 6/19/2017 03:15:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hmmm.. No posts for a while. Here is mine. My first Winterland show was Dec. 1967. BB King, Electric Flag, and the Bryds (down to a trio but hanging on). Mike Bloomfield met every bit of my high expectations -- and then some. BB King was still growing in renown among white audiences and was outstanding. Bloomfield proudly and fondly introduced King. I read that Bloomfield jammed with King later in the night, but being just 16 years old, I had to get home to please the parents.

Next show Feb. 1968: Jimi Hendrix, Mayall's Bluesbreakers with 18-year old Mick Taylor in tow, and Albert King. As someone posted above, King almost stole the show from Hendrix. In hindsight, that doesn't seem possible, but when we walked out of there, we all agreed how good Albert King was. But Hendrix blew our minds for sure.

April 1968 - saw The Band's first shows ever as a touring group. Good, but not great for me, as my friend's were big fans and I was a newbie. The Sons of Champlain opened and they were really good. The all-female band The Ace of Cups open the first act and they were frankly below par. Bill Graham usually had three quality groups, but not this time.

Saw Hendrix again in October 68 when he was starting to jam more. He still did the hits, but he was clearly tiring of fans yelling at him "Purple Haze" and "Foxy Lady."
Starting going to Fillmore West, Keystone, etc, so skipped a few years. Fast forward to Jeff Beck Oct. 1971. Great player, but I did not get into his musical direction at that point. Fans kept yelling out for "Jeff's Boogie" which he finally did, and that was an indication that the majority in the house wanted to hear him rock, not do fusion.

After a long hiatus due to going to school back east, etc. I did have one more show though and it was outstanding. May, 1977: Weather Report (with Jaco P), Al Dimeola, and the Lenny White Group.
At the second Hendrix show, someone barfed from over the balcony and my friend put his head into it when he laid down.

At 8/26/2020 08:49:00 PM, Blogger don e. nelson said...

Bill Graham fondly tells of the time he caught Carlos Santana, trying to sneak into a concert at Winterland, via the roof. He was so impressed with the local kid's playing, he ended up managing the Santana band. I just wish I knew who the bands were playing that night.

At 8/28/2020 02:35:00 AM, Blogger Serina said...

Saw the Genesis show too, which was unfortunately not well attended because no one had heard of the band. Peter Gabriel was brilliant, changing into costumes & doing theatrics. He sang about an old geezer in a park doing questionable things with worms & a guy in the balcony yelled out "you're fucking sick!"& Peter did a thumbs up in response while still singing. Obviously he took it as a compliment.

At 10/12/2020 09:38:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hey Dude, Amboy Dukes,Ted Nugent Earthquake, Then Aerosmith played.....You must have way high..

At 5/24/2021 09:53:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I just wanna go back. One More Encore...

At 1/01/2022 05:50:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Don't we all.......


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