In January 2007, Hanno Bunjes made a post at his now defunct blog at yurk.net describing the joy of discovering some almost-unseen video footage of the Grateful Dead playing at Chateau d'Hérouville near Paris, France, on June 21, 1971, from the French government's archival copy (Vive la bureaucracie!).
I had a link to that post here, made in February 2007, but linky-no-worky for the defunct blog. So, with Hanno's permission, I am just reposting his post, for posterity, Hanno's original post to posting to yurk.net from January 16, 2007:
I feel like I'm one of the first deadheads in the world to watch this.
The film footage from the legendary Grateful Dead concert in Hérouville (6/21/71) has finally surfaced. For decades it has existed only as a rumor, nobody in deadland claimed to have seen the footage.
How did this come to light now, 35 years after the fact? The French Institut National de l'Audiovisuel (INA) keeps archives of everything (more or less) ever broadcast on French television and radio. They have started to sell the contents of their archives online. Among them are three editions of "Pop Deux" from 1971 that contain footage from the Hérouville concert*. It's that simple.
You can watch short snippets online, but only € 18 will get you the real thing: high-quality, copy-protected DivX video downloads. You'll only be able to watch them with special players and "authenticated" DVD players. The files are watermarked so that INA will be able to trace any copies to your credit card. I don't think we will see this footage on bt.etree.org anytime soon.
It is worth the hassle though. The footage is a deadhead's wet dream coming true. There are several full-length songs** shot with two cameras in colour, with an interview with Jerry Garcia in between. The stage in Hérouville is set up in what looks to be the inner courtyard of the Chateau d'Hérouville. The small audience seems to consist of French villagers who very likely have no idea of who is playing (the gig was never advertised). They do the right thing and dance - probably not least to fight the cold nighttime air that makes the singers' breath condensate. In short, the film is very well done and captures a unique atmosphere. The finding of this footage is a major event in the dead's long history of taping. The footage should be somehow "liberated" and distributed for everyone to see. For now, unfortunately, it looks like that's not going to happen.
[note 2011- I was obviously wrong about that part]
(Wait until the lawyers find about this one - Pop Deux had some really big names on their show.)
* July 24, October 9, November 27 are the relevant dates that come up when you search for "grateful dead". The other search results do not contain Hérouville footage as far as I can determine from the description.
** Loser, China Rider, Hard to Handle, Deal, Sugar Magnolia and Sing Me Back Home, and others
P.S. After I finished the post I found "http://paris70.free.fr/
auvers71.htm">this excellent account of the events at Château d'Hérouville. Read it. Garcia calls it "the group's most exotic gig".
I will be making a full-on post about this gig at some point. In the meantime, thanks Hanno!