Alternate tuning? You betcha. Listen to how this extremely talented gentleman has his guitar tuned at the beginning (thanks, whatdidisay!!):
It’s D,G,D,G,B,D from top to bottom. Tune the low (top) string down to D. Tune the second string down to G. Tune the top (sixth) string to D (like in the Gardening at Night, 9-9, Windout trio). This is a drop G or alternate G tuning.
Now, Peter Buck does not play the bass parts like the gentleman above does, but it sure sounds great! And with the alternate tuning down, we just have to see what Peter Buck does. Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot of recorded material out there. Here is Meredith College:
Something different’s going on and I can’t quite pick up on it. Almost looks like his pinky (4th finger) is down on the strings.
Looks and sounds very similar.
Some good looks here–2003:
If the 2003 video is how they played it in 1985, then the first video is pretty much right on. I think the last chord in the “chorus/bridge to chorus” is like this (not sure what to call it because remember the strings are tuned differently).
The last bit of difference between the way that whatdidisay plays it and what I see and hear Peter Buck doing is on the chorus–Peter Buck slides up between the second and last chords. So it goes like this: