• 149 WESTCHESTER AVENUE, PORT CHESTER, NY 10573-4549 · (914) 937-4126

  • May 18th, 2018

    reCAP :: Dark Star Orchestra :: 2018.05.11

    Words by Howard Weiner
    Photos by Scott Harris

    “Touch of Grey” kicked off Dark Star Orchestra’s performance on Friday night and the wheels began to spin. This eliminated a recreation of any Grateful Dead show prior to 1983. When Lisa Mackey swayed to the mic to provide harmony on “Feel Like a Stranger,” I realized that this show would be a DSO original, and I was happy about that. Nobody does historical recreations like DSO, but now there was tangible suspense and anticipation, they could play any song, in any style, from any era. Getting back to “Stranger,” Jeff Matson incrementally delivered a smoking solo as the band thundered the jam to conclusion.

    Starting with “Black Throated Wind,” the ending segment of the opening set was remarkable. After Rob Eaton channeled Bobby Weir, it was time for a Jerry tune, and Matson played Dylan’s “Tough Mama” in the style of Jerry Garcia Band. Jeff reeled off three explosive solos which drew elated roars from those on hand. “Weather Report Suite” followed. The Prelude and Part 1 were played to perfection (circa ’74). “Let it Grow” had that blazing blend of rock and jazz, and featured a brief drum solo (circa ’76) towards the end.

    Set two opened with a good time “Loose Lucy” and Estimated Prophet > Eyes of the World followed. “Eyes” had a gripping ’77 feel to it, and an extraordinary second solo drew the loudest cheers of the night to that point. The band effortlessly turned the clock back to 1970 as Rob Barraco channeled the spirit of Pigpen on “Easy Wind.”

    On the other side of drums Matson led the band into a hypnotic “Spanish Jam.” And then The Cap went nuts once they heard the royal opening of “St. Stephen.” The surging jams of the Aoxomoxoa anthem propelled DSO into “The Eleven.” This was the jam of the night. Their execution was ridiculously thrilling—what a raging performance! This is as close as you can get to experiencing what it must have been like to see Primal Dead as if you were in the Fillmore West. DSO closed the set out with poignant Jerry, “Come a Time,” and Bobby rock, “Sugar Magnolia.” For the encore, Mr. Barraco delivered an old-school Pigpen rendition of “Hey Jude.” Catching an original Dark Star Orchestra show has its advantages.

    Set 1: Touch of Grey, Feel Like a Stranger, Brown-Eyed Women, It’s All Over Now, We Can Run, Jack-A-Roe, Black-Throated Wind, Tough Mama, Weather Report Suite

    Set 2: Loose Lucy, Estimated > Eyes > Easy Wind > Drums > Space > Spanish Jam > St. Stephen > The Eleven > Comes a Time > Sugar Magnolia

    Encore: Hey Jude