Bill Graham's famous 'breakfast served at dawn' promise was a time-honored New Year's tradition by the time the Grateful Dead, Blues Brothers and New Riders of the Purple Sage closed Winterland in 1978. On the stroke of midnight, balloons cascaded from the ceiling to the strains of Sugar Magnolia, and the Dead, partiers nonpareil, made it abundantly clear why live Dead was superior to studio Dead. John Belushi and the Blues Brothers and NRPS were part of the glorious last concert, and Bill Graham made an appearance to thank the crowd for the last 13 years.
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Michael Zagaris, known as 'the Z-man', offers the performer's eye view in his photography. Zagaris became the Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin; not vicariously but actually. He donned the make-up and ran down the tunnel onto the stage. As an insider in those days, he took photographs of what was, not what one expected to see, and as an insider today he does the same thing for 21st century bands and artists. As team photographer for the San Francisco 49ers, a title he achieved in '73, and for the Oakland A's, Zagaris is sports' inside-out shooter. Ankles taped and knee pad-clad, he's the guy so familiar to the players that they see him as their own.