New Year's Eve 1978: The Grateful Dead's 8-Hour Concert, With Breakfast After

The Grateful Dead perform at Winterland on December 31, 1978 in San Francisco, California. Left to right: Bob Weir, Donna Godchaux, Jerry Garcia, Keith Godchaux, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart (hand only). Photo by Ed Perlstein/Redferns/Getty

Saying goodbye to San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom was not an easy task. The venue played host to thousands of memorable shows. It can be seen in music documentaries that span genre and it’s namechecked by some of the greatest artists of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Winterland’s final day of operation was on December 31, 1978, and to close out the year and the venue’s existence the final show was orchestrated by San Francisco’s own Grateful Dead.

Rather than perform a regular set (if such a thing exists for the group) they played an eight hour long concert that went into the New Year and featured drop-ins from the New Riders of the Purple Sage, the Blues Brothers and Ken Kesey. As the sun rose and the band put down their guitars, they fed the audience breakfast before saying goodbye to the Winterland Ballroom for the last time.