Dark Star Orchestra brings the Grateful Dead to Harrah’s Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Dark Star Orchestra brings the Grateful Dead to Harrah’s Lake Tahoe

Adam Jensen
Dark Star Orchestra brings its live show to the South Shore Room Sunday, April 10.
Courtesy Photo |

If you go

What: Dark Star Orchestra

When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 10

Where: Harrah’s Lake Tahoe

Tickets: $22.93 plus fees

Info: http://www.ticketmaster.com

The Grateful Dead concert experience is legendary among the band’s dedicated fans, and a Chicago band will keep the spirit of those shows alive at the South Shore this weekend.

Dark Star Orchestra brings its road show to Harrah’s Lake Tahoe this Sunday, April 10.

The band has nearly two decades of experience playing the songs of the Grateful Dead. Sometimes Dark Star recreates set lists played by the Dead over its 30-year run, other times it creates a custom set list of Grateful Dead songs to entertain their dedicated following of Deadheads. The varied set lists allow the band to focus on a certain era one night, then mix and match eras the next.

“It’s really cool because we get to play these combinations of songs the band never did,” said keyboardist Rob Barraco during phone interview Monday, April 4.

The Dead’s improvisational style also allows Dark Star’s own musicians plenty of room to play around and push their musical boundaries, something the group has done across more than 2,200 shows during its career.

“It’s the most fun music to play because you can utilize all the jazz chops in the rock format,” Barraco said.

And chops aren’t missing from Dark Star. Barraco has played keyboard and guitar since he was 6 and has been a professional musician all his adult life. He was the keyboardist for “The Cosby Show” and “It’s A Different World” and toured with Freddie Jackson before joining The Zen Tricksters. He’s also toured with Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh. Barraco joined Dark Star in 2005, and still loves the music of the band he first saw in March of 1972.

“From the very minute they opened the show, I was hooked,” Barraco said of the experience.

Dark Star aims to leave the stage with both the band and the audience in a state of euphoria.

“That’s why people come to the shows — they come to dance, they come to take a journey,” Barraco said.

The keyboardist said the Dark Star didn’t have anything specific planned for Sunday’s show, but assured attendees of a good time. The performance is part of Dark Star Orchestra’s only West Coast swing in 2016.

“I guarantee that when we come to Tahoe we’re going to blow the doors off,” Barraco said.

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