San Francisco’s Winterland Arena, an old ice skating rink converted into a music venue in 1966 by rock promoter Bill Graham, became legendary for the shows that happened there. It was the site of some of the most memorable moments in rock ‘n’ roll history, and through its back door once walked some of the greatest stars ever known. Although Winterland no longer exists, its door lives on, and that very door is now available for purchase!
Hendrix, Joplin, the Doors, the Who, the Rolling Stones, Cream, and Pink Floyd played at Winterland. The Grateful Dead made Winterland home base, playing the ballroom more than 50 times. Bruce Springsteen’s show of December 15, 1978, was simulcast on local radio station KSAN-FM, and Springsteen historians consider that show one of his most legendary. The Sex Pistols played their last show at the venue, and the Band began and ended their career there. On Thanksgiving of 1978, their famous “Last Waltz” was joined by a cast of guest performers that included Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell. Martin Scorsese filmed the show, creating one of the greatest concert films ever made.
Through the back door of Winterland, all of the greatest rockers of the 60s and 70s made their way to the greatest of stages. Each person who walked through that door made an important and significant contribution to the legacy of rock music for ever after. Now, the door is all that remains. That door is priceless, in part because you cannot assign a value to the magic that was created in the historic and legendary concert hall that is gone forever.
The door has been allocated to the permanent and not-for-sale collection of Wolfgang’s Vault, owned by Bill Sagan. It is proudly displayed in the Vault for the few VIPs who get the opportunity to tour the Vault in person. On one recent tour, a generous offer was made to buy the door. Bill Sagan, however, said that the only way he would ever part with it would be if someone who understood the door’s intrinsic value and significance would pay $1 million to own it. In that case, he would donate the entire million to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a cause close to his heart.
So how about it, all you rock and rollers?