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Tuesday, May 17

Dark Star Orchestra Keeps the Vibe Alive for Grateful Fans of All Ages. D.S.O Review For May 15, 2016. Long Island, N.Y.

 Dark Star Orchestra Keeps the Vibe Alive for Grateful Fans of All Ages. D.S.O Review For May 15, 2016. Long Island,N.Y.  Words & Photos by : Lori 



It is 1977, April 22nd to be exact and The Spectrum in Philly is all a buzz with the Grateful Dead playing to a house full of deadheads!  If one were to close their eyes on Saturday night, May 15, 2016 it would feel exactly like this! Dark Star Orchestra played on Long Island at the newly renovated Westbury Movie Theatre, now known as The Space.  And a rocking space for live music it is when DSO came this evening.  In a downpour, Dead fans poured in through the doors of The Space to relive a bit of 1977 and Dark Star Orchestra did not disappoint.
Staying true to the setlist from the Spectrum show, which is what DSO is known for, they opened with "The Promised Land". Starting to heat up the ready-to-rock crowd they played with the groove with some laid back songs until they kicked it up a notch with "Deal" ripping into their rendition of this tune, which had old and young singing along to this Garcia/Hunter classic. More songs like "Tennessee Jed" and "Peggy O",that the Grateful Dead played classic versions of in 1977 lead up to the first set break with "Playing in the Band" giving Deadheads a taste of what they expect to hear later in the evening. 

Jeff Mattson, a dead-on (pun intended) persona for Jerry Garcia, as well as an accomplished guitarist on lead, he was using his Garcia-style vocals to give new life to these familiar songs.  Rob Eaton,on guitar and vocals, seemed to be the ground to Jeff Mattson's exploratory leads.  Eaton was mesmerizing to watch play guitar with such emotion one could feel his whole body giving in to the groove and the crowd just loved it!  Lisa Mackey, Rob Barraco (naturally),Skip Vangelas, Dino English and Rob Koritz, all played their parts in the band beyond description tonight and it was just like 1977 in 2016.

Dark Star Orchestra was on fire this evening and loving the roles they were playing with such precision. You could just feel the flowers in your hair and the dirt under your feet as everyone danced around and around to the wonderful sounds of "Scarlet Begonias" followed by "Fire on the Mountain". Which the audience was eating up with hands bouncing and flying around with joy. The good ole' Grateful Dead seemed alive again, while old well-worn tunes were sung. The band set the place on fire. Another highlight was the Bobby favorite "Samson and Delilah" and they kept rolling on from one revered song to another.  

"Got my mojo working",which wasn't in heavy rotation in 77' was a welcome treat then into "Dancing in the Streets". To end the setlist, "The Wheel" rolled into "Terrapin Station" to end the 77' concert. No encore was played in 1977.  That was not to be tonight.  Tonight DSO gives an encore, a special dedicated to Hot Tuna! Hot Tuna who will be playing in the line up at Dark Stars' own Dark Star Jubilee over Memorial Day Weekend 2016.  What a way to remind fans to head on over to the Jubilee by playing a bit of "White Rabbit". 

Most of the new fans walked out hooked, the first Dark Star Orchestra experience was not to be disappointing.  One can understand the true Dead Heads love for this group, DSO give honor to Jerry Garcia and all of the Grateful Dead band members with each set list they repeat in their melodic style and twist of turns of rock and roll history.  Well played Dark Star and thank you for a real good time.​

Edited by: Greg Heffelfinger