Saratoga Performing Arts Centre, Saratoga – 27 June 1985

Grateful Dead - SaratogaI was really going to slate this concert but I needed something to listen to at work and I picked this up by mistake. It’s not as bad as I first thought.


Good stuff – Nothing really.

Bad stuff – This is a big venue ( 50,000 according to Bobby ) and because of this a lot of volume is needed. This does the band no favours at all as the guitars sound rough, the vocals are too high in the mix and sound a bit shouty. On a first listen there seems to be plenty of energy but on closer inspection it is all a bit forced as in “we WILL have a good time.

There is a laughably bad ending to Johnny Be Goode where the band just stop playing. It’s as if the whole band have been distracted by something at the same time and have just stopped to watch. Jerry almost saves the day by starting a second encore with a passable Baby Blue.

Indifferent – Almost everything. That is the problem; I can take it or leave it and I would rather leave it.

Interesting – After Rooster there is a pause in proceedings as Bobby tries to stop people swinging from the balcony. WTF?

Space – There is some wierd stuff going on here and it is well worth a listen. I don’t see how some of the noises could be done live so I guess it is done with pre-recorded tape loops.

Supplication Jam – This is actually ok, probably the highlight of the show. Jerry has several goes at playing the intro to Lazy Lightning but nothing comes of it.

When all is said and done The Grateful Dead is a very broad chuch and there will doubtless be fans out there who like this concert. After all it is a pretty good set list. It’s just not for me.

Not the bad day at the office that I originally thought just a seriously ordinary one. A disappointing 4/10.

The Set List – Grateful Dead Live

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