Dark Star Orchestra Brings The Dead To Brooklyn
Dark Star Orchestra, the preeminent interpreters and duplicators of the Grateful Dead experience, brought their finely tuned jam machine to the always friendly confines of Brooklyn Bowl. Performing an original set list, rather than its usual practice of drawing wholesale from a previously played Grateful Dead show, the group still managed to encapsulate the musical essence of prime time 1970s Dead.
A classic rocking rendition of stalwart opener “Bertha” kicked things off before the band dove into “Good Lovin'” – all you need. A sobering version of the gamblers’ lament “Loser” followed, though it too soon soared to rollicking heights, fueled by Jeff Mattison’s delicate assault on the higher end of the fret board and Rob Eaton’s powerfully strummed chords.
The Stones classic by way of Bobby Womack “It’s All Over Now” led the way for a subsequent cavalcade of favorite tunes – the sublime sorrowful soldier’s tale “Peggy-O,” the relatively rare Lesh rocker “Passenger,” the sultry sailor’s tale “Jack-a-Roe.” A “Lazy Lightning” jammed into “Supplication” preceded the raggedy Dylan standard “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” with the audience shouting the appropriate affirmation, “I’m going back to New York City; I do believe I’ve had enough.” Garcia’s ballad ode to the streets of San Francisco rounded out a solid set.
The “Help > Slip > Frank” trifecta to start the second set found us munching on the the Bowl’s delectable cuisine, but we made it back to the dance floor just in time for the quasi-reggae West Coast paean “Estimated Prophet,” which segued neatly into the equally dubbed-out “Fire on the Mountain.” A twin drum assault pilfered from the vault of the vintage Rhythm Devils followed, hard hitting syncopated textural beats that captivated most of the capacity crowd.
The Band’s sing-along Americana anthem “The Weight” closed out a thoroughly enjoyable evening filled with soul-soothing music, and familiar faces shaking and spinning defiantly into a dwindling Monday night. The next evening, the set list replicated a June 15, 1976 Grateful Dead show at the Beacon Theater occurring just one night after another Beacon show recreated by DSO in New Haven eight years ago. Coming around.
Set 1: Bertha > Good Loviin’ , Loser, It’s All Over Now, Peggy-O, Passenger, Jack-A-Roe, Lazy Lightning > Supplication. Just Like Thom Thumb’s Blues, Mission In the Rain
Set 2: Help On the Way > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower, Estimated Prophet > Fire on the Mountain > drums > space > Cosmic Charlie > I Need A Miracle > Black Peter > Going Down The Road Feeling Bad
E: The Weight