Today in Grateful Dead History: June 14, 1985 – Greek Theater, Berkeley, CA

dancing-bear The Dead opened their three day 1985 run at the Greek with this show that featured several revived tunes and a new one.

Sound problems plague the first part of this show, so much so that the boys actually stopped for a while midway through the first set to clear things up.  When they came back, they premiered their version of Derek and the Dominos’ Keep on Growing.  Like many first time Dead covers, this one is sloppy, but Jerry plays a really nice solo midway through that makes up for the ragged edges.  This transitions into Stagger Lee, which hadn’t been played since August 1982.  Unlike Keep on Growing, the band nails this one with gusto – it’s their tune (more or less) after all.  From there, we’re off to the races with Let It Grow>Deal, a great way to end a set.

After the break, things get real interesting real quick with a set opening Morning Dew that brings the crowd to attention.  Jerry rips into this one and the rest of the band trails happily along with him right into a fine Playin’ in the Band>China Doll.  Check out the delicate little repetitive sequence at the end of China Doll that will warm your heart.  Drums and Space follow, with some interesting jamming during Drums with Brent, Billy and Mickey playing tag around The Other One without actually playing it.  Truckin’ appears post Space and eventually merges into Smokestack Lightning, a tune I’ve always enjoyed hearing Bob sing.  This sounds like it’s going to move into Wharf Rat (Brent in particular goes in that direction), but instead Jerry pulls a left turn and we get the first Comes a Time in almost five years.  Although the beginning is messy, the ending is great, which leads to worries when the first notes of Sugar Magnolia take shape.  No need to worry tonight – this is a great version, a smoker with awesome energy and playing.  Brent even starts yipping and yawing half way through, causing Bob to crack up.  The encore – Keep Your Daaaaaaay Job!  Not on your life.

The band had sound problems all night, and this matrix doesn’t really hide them.  But you still should listen here:


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