Let's get in a time machine shall we, back to say, 1965, to the beginnings of flower power, psychedelia, marijuana, LSD, hippies, and the San Francisco music scene. Dawn of the Dead-The Grateful Dead & the Rise of the San Francisco Underground is a 2 hour documentary that not only looks at the early years of the legendary Grateful Dead, but also the bursting scene in the mid-late '60s that also spawned the Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother & the Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Country Joe & the Fish, and many others.
Littered with plenty of recent & archival interviews with members of The Grateful Dead and those familiar with the band, such as Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, manager Rock Scully, Peter Albin of Big Brother, Dead publicist Dennis McNally, The Grateful Dead Hour's David Gans, Merry Prankster Ken Babbs, The Charlatans Mike Willhelm, and journalists Robert Christgau, Ritchie Unterberger, Anthony DeCurtis, and others, this DVD is an intriguing watch for anyone who desires to learn more about the music & counterculture scene of the 1960's, as well as the early years of The Grateful Dead and their rise from cult jug band act to superstars of psychedelia and jam. In addition to the interviews, there are also a host of vintage live clips of the band in those early years (which will be of great interest to all loyal deadheads), as well as of some of the other groups mentioned above. The story takes you all the way through Woodstock and Altamont, which were basically the embodiment of the '60s and its eventual demise (all happening within a few months of each other ironically), and brings this portion of the Grateful Dead saga to a close.
Very well put together and fascinating from start to finish, Dawn of the Dead-The Grateful Dead & the Rise of the San Francisco Underground is well worth seeking out if you are at all interested in the music of the Grateful Dead and the San Francisco music scene in the late 1960's. Here's hoping Sexy Intellectual Productions and the folks at MVD don't stop here and do a similar documentary on the Dead's '70s years.