Relive a Dead show with Dark Star Orchestra
There are a lot of cover bands around, and a lot of those are Grateful Dead cover bands. You’ve seen them, they’re good. Most include the music of Jerry Garcia, Bobby Weir et al, with other cover songs and some originals mixed in.
Dark Star Orchestra is a different breed of ‘Dead’ band. What DSO does is recreate the Grateful Dead; not with hippie wigs and fake beards, but through live music. They play the set list song for song in the same arrangements used by the Dead members of that period.
When you’re at a DSO show, you may as well really be in the Providence Civic Center back in May of 1981. Or you could even be at the 1973 Denver Coliseum show listening to Weather Report Suite. Who knows?
Actually, no one does, and that’s part of the trip. The date of the show to be recreated is kept secret right up until the performance. Oh, there are clues (the number and placement of microphones, the keyboard setup, a midi guitar), and the secret becomes part of a game. Usually the audience in front starts throwing out guesses toward the end of the first set. The wiser observer waits for the start of the second set to venture a showdate.
Sometimes a curious look comes over the faces of the audience as they realize, ‘Hey! I was at this show!’ followed by a smile as they realize that they’re at the show.
The DSO players are John Kadlecik (lead guitar, vocals), who played in the Chicago area with Hairball Willie and Uncle Jon’s Band before forming his own band Wingnut and ultimately cofounding DSO; Lisa Mackey (vocals); Dino English (drums); Rob Koritz (drums); Kevin Rosen: (bass guitar, vocals); and Rob Eaton: (rhythm guitar, vocals).
Rob’s name may be familiar to those in the recording business, both professional and the vast Grateful Dead taping world. He has been involved in the Grateful Dead community since the 70’s and studied literally at the feet of Bob Weir from the vantage point of hundreds of front row seats as well as numerous backstage passes. He previously played all over the East coast with his own Dead-oriented band, Border Legion, before signing on full-time with DSO.