The Winterland Ballroom

The Winterland Ballroom in 1985.

The Winterland Ballroom in 1985.

 

Former location at the corner of Post Street and Steiner Street, San Francisco, CA.

The Winterland Ballroom, also known as the Winterland Arena, was an ice skating rink and 5,400 seat music venue used by rock promoter Bill Graham. Originally opened in 1928, Graham started using the venue for concerts in 1966 for larger concerts that his nearby Fillmore Auditorium couldn’t handle. Most of rock’s greatest performers played at the Winterland at one point in their career including: Bruce Springsteen, KISS, The Rolling Stones, The J. Geils Band, The Who, Queen, Slade, Boston, Cream, Yes, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Steppenwolf, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Styx, The Allman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead, The Band, Big Brother & The Holding Company With Janis Joplin, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Rush, Electric Light Orchestra, Genesis, Jefferson Airplane, Traffic, Golden Earring, Grand Funk Railroad, Humble Pie, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, Robin Trower, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Sha Na Na, Loggins and Messina, Heart, Journey, Deep Purple, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and Elvis Costello. Led Zeppelin first performed their song “Whole Lotta Love” there.

Peter Frampton recorded parts of the iconic live album Frampton Comes Alive! At Winterland on June 14, 1975.

The Band’s farewell concert and film The Last Waltz was recorded at the Winterland on Thanksgiving, November 25, 1976. The performance included concert featured The Band joined by more than a dozen special guests, including Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood, Neil Diamond, Bobby Charles, The Staple Singers, and Eric Clapton.

Winterland closed on New Years 1978/1979 with a concert by the Grateful Dead, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and The Blues Brothers. The show lasted for over eight hours, with the Grateful Dead’s performance — documented on DVD and CD as The Closing of Winterland – lasting nearly six hours itself. Winterland was eventually torn down in 1985, and was replaced by apartments.

Required Listening:

  1. Baby I Love Your Way – Peter Frampton (Frampton Comes Alive)
  2. Fire – Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band (Live 1975-85)
  3. Crossroads – Cream (Wheels of Fire)
  4. Hey Joe – Jimi Hendrix (Live at Winterland)
  5. The Weight – The Band (The Last Waltz)
  6. Piece Of My Heart – Big Brother and the Holding Company (Live at Winterland ‘68)
  7. Ramblin’ Man – Allman Brothers Band (Wipe The Windows, Check the Oil, Dollar Gas)
  8. 10538 Overture / Do Ya – Electric Light Orchestra (Live at Winterland ’76)
  9. Truckin’ – The Grateful Dead (The Grateful Dead Movie Soundtrack)
  10. Strutter – KISS (Kissology Volume 1)



The site of the Winterland today.

The site of the Winterland today.

 

The Winterland Ballroom.

The Winterland Ballroom.

 

The Winterland sign.

The Winterland sign.

 

Demolition of the Winterland Ballroom.

Demolition of the Winterland Ballroom.

 

Map of San Francisco and the Winterland Ballroom location.

Map of San Francisco and the Winterland Ballroom location.