Monday, March 17, 2008

The Grateful Dead Movie

The Grateful Dead Movie (Leon Gast/Jerry Garcia, 1977) [7]
If you're a fan of the Grateful Dead, as I am, you will no doubt enjoy the movie. If you don't, well I can't help you, you'll probably find it boring. Not quite a concert film and not quite a documentary, the film was the brainchild of Jerry Garcia, who was basically the creative director of the film. Leon Gast headed up the camera crew that captured the concert footage, taken during the Dead's last shows before their mid-70s hiatus. Musically in the Dead world, I think that anything from 1970 to 1974 was the peak period of the band. The performances here are adventurous and energetic and would make an entertaining film by itself. The film itself wants to capture the Grateful Dead experience from all angles; not just the music but the fans. This is the make or break moment for the film. The crowd shots and interviews either encompass everything someone would like about the Dead or allow anyone else to say it's just a group of goofy, spaced out hippies. Essentially it's in the eye of the beholder but personally speaking, the film manages to capture the excitement and the communal atmosphere that make the Grateful Dead unique among rock & roll bands. It's a film truly for Deadheads and no doubt it plays great to that audience.

No comments: