After dragging a slowly decomposing Jerry Garcia up a 7,000 foot ski mountain last week, the Dead thought it would be a good idea to come back down to sea level and spend a few days in Texas, where the 100 degree heat in Austin probably did wonders for Jerry’s condition. (I’m sure that I’m ripping this joke off from Thoughts on the Dead, or his comment section, but, for the life of me, I can’t find the specific post to link to, so I’m going to credit him anyway). In any event, the boys don’t play poorly today, they just don’t play for very long, making this a below average show from 1985.
The first set passes without much to discuss. The commentators on the Archive think that the set-closing Let It Grow is good, but it’s pretty ho-hum to me. Jack-A-Roe does make a very unusual appearance here, one of only two performances during the year and the last until December, 1988. But there’s not a ton going on during that song on the best of days, and this is not the best of days.
The second set opens with my favorite kind of Terrapin Station, a relatively short one. From there, we get a standard Estimated Prophet, but right when you think that the Dead might be picking up steam, with a strange ending that doesn’t really belong to any particular song whatsoever, we bump into Drums. After two songs. So you just know that the boys didn’t want to be anywhere near that stage, which is confirmed when Space ends and we get Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad by way of explanation. Like Estimated Prophet, Stella Blue sounds like it might grant us one of those miracle summer night closing solos of bliss, but Bob hijacks things and steers the band into Throwing Stones. No one on stage seems to mind and they tip it over to Not Fade Away and that’s that. The She Belongs To Me encore, a rare Dylan song that only got played in 1985, is gorgeous, so we’ve got that going for us. In fact, I’m calling it the highlight of the night, and when the encore is the highlight, you know you can probably skip this show.