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Dead of the Day: March 9, 1985

Berkeley Community Theater
Berkeley, California
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Our Dead of the Day comes from the Berkeley Community Theater on March 9, 1985. The show is solid, and there are a few really outstanding songs. In the first set, the Sugaree proves to be really nice with some sparkly jams and nice vocals from Jerry. The Let It Grow set-closer, though, is possibly even better as Bobby nails each verse and Jerry provides some sprightly and scintillating licks. The second set starts off with a rare China Cat> Cumberland. And, a bit later, the Eyes, though not truly otherworldly, delivers. However, the highlight of the night is easily the Other One> Wheel > Sugar Mags, with Merle Saunders helping out of Space. The entire show is fast and upbeat, providing a different pace than most. For instance, just listen to the One More Saturday Night where Bobby is more or less racing through the lyrics and the band sounds a bit like Cassady on Benzedrine.

Speaking of drugs, this was the first Bertha – and fourth show – since Jerry’s January 18, 1985 bust. And, unsurprisingly, the knowledgeable hometown crowd goes absolutely nuts when Garcia gets to the “test me test me, why don’t you arrest me” verse of Bertha. The actual circumstances of the arrest were far sadder than the crowd’s response would have you believe. With Jerry’s rampant drug use spiraling out of control, a large number of his close friends staged an intervention, and we can only begin to imagine the shear volume of substances Jerry was using when the Dead’s inner circle decided it was time to do something. Jerry apparently acquiesced to entering rehab, but somehow everyone let him drive himself there. So, on his way, he stopped off at Golden Gate Park to finish off his supply of heroin, coke, and god knows what else while, perhaps, taking stock of his life. As he was making his way through at least twenty-five different packages of various drugs - per the police report - a cop approached the car and, inevitably, made the arrest (for more information see this blog post). Incredibly, Jerry ended up getting off without jail time, allowing him to play this March 9th date. Incidentally, the Frets Magazine cover photo above was shot on January 12th, just six days before Jerry's arrest. The white powder on his chest was probably coke, considering Jas Obrecht, the interviewer, later noted that Jerry did about twenty lines over the course of an hour while they talked (you can read Obrecht's comments and the interview here). And, for those who are counting, there are only nine anymores at the end of the Bertha.

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