Saturday Dead (Zimmer's Picks) 9.15.85
Words By Andy Zimmer
This week we are dipping back into the 80’s for our taste of the Dead. When folks talk about the Dead’s “best years” or “best tours”, it seems like ’69, ’72, and ’77 are the consensus winners among many fans. I would never argue against any of those suggestions, as loads of inspired music came out of all those years. However, there is plenty of material from the remaining 27-ish years, and several very strong tours that do not get their deserved recognition. For my money some of the best stuff that the boys ever did was during 1985... Gasp!!! Yes, I said it... the 80’s.
Throughout 1985, the band was performing at their highest level in several years. Specifically, the summer tour is jam-packed with unbelievable shows. For today’s pick I have chosen the tour closer from the summer 85' run. This show gets overlooked, probably due to several other “epic” shows from the preceding months stealing headlines, but it’s a helluva fine performance.
The Dead closed the summer 85' tour in So-Cal at Southwestern University. The band played the football stadium which was small, and only 5,000 lucky fans were in attendance. The boys started the show off with “Alabama Getaway”; an unusual choice for a show opener, but it set the tone for the rest of the show. The first set also contains such 80’s rarities as “Smokestack Lightning” and ”Dupree’s Diamond Blues”.
The second set is a little bizarre. After a nice “Scarlet/Fire”, and the Garcia-sung ballad of “She Belongs To Me”, the band heads into a rocking version of “Truckin’”. Typically, this would send the show into the deep-space portion of the event. However, such was not the case on this occasion. From “Truckin’” the band segued into “Comes A Time” and ”Around & Around” before dropping into “Drums/Space”. These songs were almost always saved for the last quarter of the show and their positioning adds a strange and unique feel to the set.
The boys finished off the show with some good-time rockers and encored with one of my favorite Dead tunes, “Brokedown Palace”. I hope you give the 80’s some love and enjoy this show as much as I do.
Grateful Dead Live at Devore Field, Southwestern U on September 15, 1985.
Alabama Getaway-> Promised Land, West L.A. Fadeaway, Mama Tried-> Big River, Dupree's Diamond Blues, Smokestack Lightning-> Deal Scarlet Begonias-> Fire On The Mountain, Samson & Delilah, She Belongs To Me, Truckin'-> Comes A Time-> Around & Around-> Drums-> U.S. Blues-> Satisfaction, E: Brokedown Palace