Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dark Star Orchestra: for an "adventure seeking audience"

            The sounds of The Grateful Dead are coming to The Grove. Dark Star Orchestra will be taking the stage in Anaheim, performing classic hits from the legendary touring jam band. Dark Star Orchestra formed in 1997 under the concept to tour and perform real Grateful Dead show as they had been performed during the Dead’s original tour days.
            The band is comprised of seven members; Jeff Mattson, Rob Eaton, Kevin Rosen, Lisa Mackey, Rob Koritz, Dino English, and Rob Barraco. As the band tours they pick out a Grateful Dead show that was performed near the venue that they are performing, and play the same set list as the Dead had.
            The bands current tour crosses the country from Los Angeles to New York, adding to their already impressive touring resume. Over the past thirteen years Dark Star has performed nearly 1,900 shows all over the country.
            Dark Star’s lead guitarist, and somewhat of a newcomer to the band, Mattson has performed 124 shows with the band since November of 2009. Mattson’s a veteran to the road touring with a number of bands over the past 30 years, including The Zen Tricksters and Phil Lesh and friends.
            “Yeah I was sort of a disciple of Jerry Garcia if you will,” said Mattson musingly.  Mattson first saw The Grateful Dead perform in 1973, “all around the same time I started playing their music.”
            Mattson has performed Grateful Dead songs before, “just not in this particular context where it’s kind of taken to a higher place,” said Mattson. Playing in Dark Star Orchestra isn’t easy, especially when you’re filling the shoes of the immortal Jerry Garcia. “To join this band you have to be really familiar with the music because there’s a lot of music to learn and a lot of understanding of style.”
            To capture the essence of The Dead and receive critical praise across the country has been Dark Star’s mission for the past 13 years and there are no slowing down, impressing audiences with musical skill and great energy. “It’s definitely for a more adventure seeking audience,” said Mattson. “It’s almost like a jazz concept in the rock world, and that’s The Dead.”

-Fred Randall


  1. Mattson w/DSO is strong sauce!! Love this band and am totally psyched about their show tomorrow night at the Grove!

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