It’s been well established by now that fans of the Grateful Dead, likely more than any other fanbase within popular music, love to revisit old shows courtesy of the tapers who captured the live recordings of the Dead over the years. While many of those recordings have since been shared by the band as official releases, much of the audio captured by the tapers still exists online as unofficial communal bootlegs.
One of the newer and more interesting recordings which appeared online recently is the full-show audio of the Dead’s final performance at The Greek Theatre in Berkley, CA on August 19th, 1985. What makes this performance different than any of the other taped recordings from that show, is this one features the isolated audio of Bob Weir‘s rhythm guitar, giving fans an excellent solo display of his unique playing style.
The band’s performance that night was that of a benefit for their Rex Foundation, and was also broadcasted on the local radio channel, KPFA-Berkeley.
Well-known Grateful Dead taper Charlie Miller was apparently responsible for helping to track down the guitar’s isolated audio feed, which was a result of Weir being recorded separately for the band’s three-night run at the outdoor amphitheater.
The audio has since been synced with video taken of the performance that night, and is now on YouTube for fans to replay over and over. It’s almost impossible not to appreciate Weir’s unique playing style, which listeners will discover is very subtle but filled with plenty of melodic color and differently-shaped chord structures.
Watch and listen to Weir’s isolated performance that night via the video below.
Bob Weir Isolated Guitar – The Greek Theatre – 8/19/1989
The video’s uploader, cleantones, explains how the audio/video sync came about, adding,
“Thanks to Charlie Miller and his vast connections and immense generosity this little gem has come to light. Apparently Bobby was trouble shooting his guitar rig and had his guitar recorded separately for the three nights at the Greek by Don Pearson. This final performance was leaked in one way or another. Being the total A/V nerd that I am I insisted upon syncing the entire recording to the existing video recording of this performance. The shared recording was ever so slightly sharp in pitch. About 50 cent (half semitone). I corrected for this and manipulated the timing to sync to the video. I also left the slightest amount of the original audio in the mix. I think it makes it that much easier to follow along. It’s over 30 VU lower. There are a couple of tape flips and two tiny gaps with no Bobby audio that I trimmed out. This is really meant for die hard deadheads, Bobby fans, guitar players, and other curious folk. Don’t forget to share, like, and of course subscribe to my channel. Some good stuff on here. You just gotta poke around!”
Happy listening Deadheads!
Setlist: Grateful Dead | The Greek Theatre | Berkeley, CA | 8/19/1989
Set One: Let The Good Times Roll (Sam Cooke cover) > Jack Straw, We Can Run, Tennessee Jed, It’s All Over Now (The Valentinos cover), Loser, Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again (Bob Dylan cover), Box of Rain,
Set Two: China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider > Playing in The Band, Uncle John’s Band > Playing In The Band reprise > Drums > Space > The Other One > Wharf Rat > Not Fade Away (The Crickets cover)
Encore: Foolish Heart