With a built-in audience of thousands of Dead Heads scattered across the country, Grateful Dead tribute outfit the Dark Star Orchestra has long been acclaimed as one of the most faithful cover acts to focus on the career of Jerry Garcia and company. In fact, the group doesn't play songs of the Dead so much as it attempts to recreate entire concerts.
Each night, the band decides on performing one show from the 2,500 that the Grateful Dead performed during their 30 year tenure as fathers of improvisational rock. Dark Star Orchestra presents the complete original set list, song by song in order, recreating historic music with faithful interpretation. Precision is king with this group, which position the stage plot based on the year of Grateful Dead show to be performed.
Dark Star Orchestra adapts their phrasing, voice arrangements, and even arranges musical equipment to specific stage set-ups for the various eras in which they perform. At the end of every performance, the band announces the date and venue where the original show just covered took place. Dark Star Orchestra dips into nearly every incarnation of the Dead, so many fans can experience shows that originally happened long before they were born.
The band received an enormous endorsement with the inclusion of bandleader and Jerry Garcia sound-a-like guitarist/singer John Kadlecik in Bob Weir and Phil Lesh's latest project, Furthur (though Kadlecik has since moved on, replaced by East Coast guitarist Jeff Mattson). The band's spring tour brings DSO back to the Bay Area for a string of shows in Marin and San Francisco including a special acoustic show at Terrapin Crossroads Monday night.
Dark Star Orchestra
Monday, April 6, 8 p.m. $49 (sold out)
Tuesday-Wednesday, April 7-8, 8 p.m. $30
Great American Music Hall