Friday, July 13, 1984
Greek Theatre – Univ. Of California, Berkeley, CA
The Dead and the Greek Theatre. These two got along very well for many years. There are countless classic Dead shows from this venue (29 total dates at this spot, spanning the entire 80’s plus one show each in ’67 and ’68). One look, and you can tell it has more than just charm. An outdoor stage, done in the traditional Greek bowl style. Tree-lined, and cradled in Berkeley, California.
I pondered many a show to be the first to recommend from 1984. There are so many excellent choices. But my mind kept coming back to 7/13/84. Not just because it features the Dark Star encore (the only time this song was played between 12/31/81 and 10/9/89), but because the entire recording is filled with treats, and a good recording from the Greek in ’84 is a critical sonic experience in any Deadhead’s book. This show/tape has it all.
The first set is playful. The band isn’t forcing anything, and they seem in good spirits. Jerry is engaged and playing well. There’s nothing earth shattering going on, but none-the-less, the set gives off a wonderful “Dead vibe” throughout. It’s a really nice slice of how warm and inviting a first set from the mid 80’s could be. The sound sparkles and shimmers just enough to let you know that there’s more at play here brewing its way into the second set.
Set two sets off with a Scarlet Begonias > Touch Of Grey > Fire On The Mountain. Touch wouldn’t make it to the Billboard Top 10 (number 9) until 1987, but the song had been in the Dead’s rotation since 1982. Jerry’s discovery of the tune deep in the Scarlet jam is very nice. The crowd loves it. The outro into Fire is well done, and later, when the crowd beings to clap along, you can’t help but be completely swept up into the moment. Band and crowd, once again, locked in a lover’s embrace.
Space is something that could occasionally meander from time to time in the 80’s. Jerry could sometimes find himself endlessly swirling in a brooding, minor key vortex. This is not the case on 7/13. This Space is really nice, and transforms the entire venue into spinning planets and stars. Everyone is playing at it with attention to detail. A beautiful Wheel comes out of Space, and later, Jerry’s delivery of Stella Blue hushes the entire crowd. His exit solo gently builds upon itself, winding its way slowly into the evening air, building energy all the way. Sugar Magnolia rocks down the house, blazing the set to a close.
There’s a note in Deadbase that references a shooting star before the encore. Not sure if this was the inspiration, but Phil asks the crowd for a little patience because they want to try a little something special tonight – one night only. And then it begins...
It’s hard not to heap a lot of hype onto this Dark Star since there isn’t another one for nearly four years in one direction and over five years in the other. It makes judging it conclusively nearly impossible. But if you strip away the inclination to hold it up against Dark Stars of the 70’s, what you’ll find is about 16 minutes of sweetly performed 1984-style psychedelic interplay that blurs the tree tops into the starlight. There are nice moments where Jerry hones in on some wonderful riffs and rides them into the night air. Late in the jam, when the song’s theme reappears and you think the last verse is about to begin, they drift away from it, gently floating into deeper pools of refracting light. The crowd seems to have collectively closed its eyes, breathing slowly and deeply. At the end, they let the music unravel like a wave slowly slipping along the sand back into the sea. They seem to be delicately placing a jewel back on its shelf in a glass cabinet, being ever so careful not to disturb even the air around it. With a hush, it’s over.
07/13/84 AUD etree source info
07/13/84 AUD Download