Screengrab via Grateful Dead "Opening Sequence / U.S. Blues" 10/16/1974
The latest installment of the ongoing Grateful Dead “All The Years Live” video series is available now on the band’s YouTube channel. The new addition comes in the form of the iconic opening sequence and proceeding “U.S. Blues” from 1977’s The Grateful Dead Movie, directed by Jerry Garcia. The film begins with a lengthy opening sequence that takes viewers through memorable Dead iconography such as album covers from Blues From Allah and From the Mars Hotel, as well as the relatable misadventures of a dancing skeleton. Before long, the (at the time) state of the art animation drops viewers straight into a fiery encore performance of “U.S. Blues” from opening night of the band’s five-night farewell run at San Francisco’s Winterland Arena in October 1974.
In the video’s description, Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux notes,
In Jerry Garcia’s original nearly five hour edit of the Grateful Dead Movie, he had the film opening with Uncle John’s Band. A wonderful track, with a terrific performance filmed during the five night run (and later released as Bonus Track on the DVD in 2004), but it didn’t have the weight of movie’s opening sequence that Jerry wanted. In a typically inspired moment of brilliance, Jerry came up with the idea of opening the Grateful Dead Movie with a cartoon, just as films had been presented with cartoons going back to the Golden Age of Cinema. Gary Gutierrez was hired to create what, to this day, is one of the wildest, most visually stunning pieces of animation ever paired with music (heck, it’s spectacular on its own!). To my eyes and ears, the Grateful Dead Movie is perfect, and part if its excellence is the opening sequence. When the crew breaks out of jail and lands themselves in Winterland to dance to the tune of U.S. Blues, it is a perfect cinematic, and Grateful Dead, moment.
Watch the latest installment of “All The Years Live”, featuring the opening sequence of The Grateful Dead Movie and “U.S. Blues” from Winterland Arena in October, 1974.
Grateful Dead – Opening Sequence / “U.S. Blues” – 10/16/1974