Monday, December 4, 2006

Dark Star Orchestra - Live 12.1 & 12.2.06 - Washington DC

These guys (and gal) are the preeminent Grateful Dead cover band. They haven’t merely mastered the Dead catalog – DSO recreates, song-for-song, one of the 2,500 shows that the Grateful Dead performed during their 30 year tenure (although they do throw in an original DSO setlist from time to time). When I saw them on Friday night, they were playing a show that was originally performed on June 7, 1977. DSO ’s goal is to simulate the show with as much precision and authenticity as possible, from mic placement to vocals. As a Deadhead who was too young to see them in their heyday, I have immense respect and gratitude for this project. I’m not the only one – both the Friday night and Saturday night shows were sold out.

The music was great both nights. Friday night was about a 4 hour show (shew). The second set on Friday night kicked my ass above all. I got seamless renditions of “Scarlet Begonias”,”Fire On The Mountain”, “Candyman”, “Terrapin Station”, and “Morning Dew” – which are tops on my list of favorite tunes. Then they come back with the classic “Uncle John’s Band” for the first encore. After they had completed the show and announced that it was originally performed at the Winterland on 6/7/77, they closed out with a lively “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” This made for a nice full-circle experience personally, since I was listening to the Rolling Stones when I pulled up at the 9:30 Club :O)

They dialed it back on Saturday night and kept it around 3 hours. The sold-out crowd was really getting on my nerves most of the night, so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked. I can not understand why people come to concerts to get drunk and socialize. Especially with the inflated alcohol prices and the cost of a ticket. Furthermore, why these people must stand in front of the stage is a mystery to me. I was so tempted to tell people they wouldn’t have to scream as loud if they weren’t right in front of the amps. UGH . Still, it’s a testament to DSO & the music of the Dead that I kept a smile on my face despite my exasperation. We got to the show a little late on Saturday night, and I swore that I heard “Shakedown Street” playing when we were waiting to get in. I spent the whole first set saddened that I had missed my most beloved Dead song. Then, to my surprise, they bust out “Shakedown Street” during the second set! Woohoo :D I’m looking forward to much more fun with DSO – going to see them again in Charlottesville tomorrow night (they’re playing tonight and I’m still having trouble convincing myself I shouldn’t go). If you love the Grateful Dead, definitely check out DSO – “Like I told you, what I said, steal your face right off your head!”

Fri, Dec 1, 2006 at 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C.
Set 1:Bertha, Jack Straw, Tennessee Jed, L. L. Rain, Peggy-O, El Paso, FOTD , Music
Set 2:Scarlet> Fire> Good Lovin, Candyman, Estimated> He’s Gone> drums> Samson, Terrapin> Morning Dew> Around
Encore: E1: Uncle John E2: U. S. Blues
Filler: Satisfaction

Sat, Dec 2, 2006 at 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C.
Stranger, Half Step, Me & My Uncle> Big River, TLEO , Cassidy, Mr. Charlie, Waiting for a Miracle, Lazy Lightening>Supplication, Touch of Grey
Blow Away, Shakedown, Sailor > Saint, Crazy Fingers> Playin> Drums >Space> Attics> Throwing Stones> NFA
Encore: King Solomon Marbles> Revolution

For more information on Dark Star Orchestra:
Jambase Bio
Official DSO Website
Wikipedia Bio