Today In Grateful Dead History: November 11, 1985 – Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ

dancing-bear The most notable thing about this typical 1985 show from the Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey is the opening sequence of Walkin’ the Dog>Deal, which is a strange way to start a show.  Going into this, I was worried that Walkin’ the Dog would be one of those train wreck Grateful Dead covers that the band doesn’t take seriously, a la Why Don’t We Do It In The Road, but today the band plays the song with purpose and it leads into a perfectly adequate Deal.  This is a good one-two punch to get things going at the Meadowlands and the energy carries through the first set, as it often does in 1985, with good versions of Big River and Bird Song.

Things come slightly off the rails in the 2nd set, as Jerry’s voice and guitar start to slur.  Scarlet Begonias>Fire on the Mountain would be ok were it not for Bob Weir’s incredibly assertive playing during the transition – this is not typical Bob Weir playing and it sounds like he was trying to shoo a bee off of his guitar for about twenty seconds before he lets up.  Very strange . . .

Later on in the 2nd set, I turned off the music in the middle of Eyes of the World to go do something.  When I resumed listening an hour later, mid-song, I was surprised at how sloppy it was.  It think my mind got used to the 1985 messy vibe and the break reset my synapses – this is not a good version of Eyes.  As for the rest of the performance, you’ve got Drums>Dear Mr. Fantasy>Goin’ Down The Road Feelin’ Bad>Throwing Stones>Turn On Your Love Light which goes about exactly as you would expect.

In summary, first set good, second set not so good. Typical 1985.  Check it out here:  https://archive.org/details/gd85-11-11.naks.cohen.17960.sbeok.shnf

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