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Review photos Dark Star Orchestra celebrate 28th anniversary Grateful Dead’s first Shoreline shows

13 November 2015 No Comment

Dark Star Orchestra
10-02-2015 @ Regency Ballroom
San Francisco, California
Photos & Review: Jeff Longo

Dark Star Orchestra performed at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, wrapping up an amazing three night run through the Bay Area on their annual Fall West tour. The fun kicked off the previous evening in Redwood City but saved a little something special for the two night run in the Dead’s backyard.  What was probably obvious to some in attendance was the Grateful Dead actually performed a three night run in the Bay Area exactly 28 years ago to the day.

For all things Dark Star Orchestra including Winter Tour Dates – click here

Part 1 – 2015-09-24 – Grass Valley CA at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium
Part 2 – 2015-10-01 – Redwood City CA at the Fox Theater
Part 3 – 2015-10-02 and 10-03 San Francisco CA at the Regency Ballroom

Whispers throughout the show were finally confirmed – the weekend’s recreation was originally performed by the Grateful Dead in 1987 on 10-02 and 10-03 at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View California! This is significant beyond the matching dates as these were actually the very first two shows the Grateful Dead ever played at the brand new outdoor venue – which was built specially for the Dead by promoter Bill Graham, in fact Shoreline was designed in the shape of the the “stealie or steal your face” logo (when viewed from heaven) & reserved seating included an extra 3 feet of pitch in each row allowing Deadhead’s plenty of dancing space.

Friday October 2, 2015 – Night 1
The first set kicked off with the classic Cold Rain & Snow moving into a bluesy Little Red Rooster. Rob Barrco’s playful piano licks complimented Jeff Mattson’s dirty slide guitar along with dueling solos from Rob Eaton. Cowboy sing-along ballads Me and My Uncle into Mexicali Blues had the joint rocking before Rob took over on a soulful and extremely touching rendition of Brent Mydland’s Far From Me. Then a rock show broke out when a monster Let it Grow was unleashed, “Listen to the thunder shout I am, I am, I am, I am,” a high energy shred-a-thon from start to finish to close out the set.

The second set began with a smokin’ China > Rider that could have literally set the building on fire. A tsunami of energy surging through the jam into Rider as the crowd screams, “If I was a headlight on a north bound train!” Switching gears to a surprisingly fun Man Smart, Women Smarter into a powerful Ship of Fools. A turbocharged Truckin popped out next, an extended hard rock jam session highlighted by Skip’s massive bass bombs.  The jam moved into Drums as Rob Koritz & Dino English entertained with unworldly percussive voodoo while spooky search lights scanned the crowd making it impossible to take a bathroom break, very intense. Dissolving into an extended & very tripped out Space segment till the chaos dissipates and a mystical rendition of The Wheel reminds us “if the thunder don’t get you then the lightening will.” Hitting the homestretch with Gimme Some Lovin’-> All Along The Watchtower > Don’t Ease Me & encore Black Muddy River completing the historical Dead set. With a little time left over we were treated to a couple of Jerry Garcia Band favorites – I Second that Emotion and Shining Star to cap off an extraordinary evening.

Originally performed by the Grateful Dead on 10-02-1987 Shoreline Amphitheatre Mountain View California

Set One: Cold Rain & Snow, Little Red Rooster, Stagger Lee, Me & My Uncle > Mexicali Blues, Row Jimmy, Far From Me, Let It Grow
Set Two: China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, Man Smart (Women Smarter), Ship of Fools, Truckin’ > Drums > Space > The Wheel > Gimme Some Lovin’ > All Along The Watchtower > Don’t Ease Me In
Encore: Black Muddy River
Filler: I Second that Emotion, Shining Star

Saturday October 3, 2015 – Night 2
Night 2 kicked off as expected with the amazingly versatile Rob Barrco rocking out to another Brent tune, Hey Pocky Way. A heavy rock New Minglewood Blues burst forth followed by a sizzling Candyman, Paint My Masterpiece, and West LA Fadeaway. But the set took flight on a breathtaking Bird Song with soaring, beautifully layered vocals and harmonies. Seamlessly seguing into a high energy take on The Music Never Stopped that reached into heavy metal territory with an extended rocking jam section to bring the first half to a close .

The second set kicked off with two headbanging renditions of Maggie’s Farm into a blazing Cumberland Blues that almost sparked a hippie mosh pit. Taking it down a few notches Rob Eaton lead the melancholy Bob Weir classic Looks Like Rain that slowly built to a climactic finish. I lost my shit for real as the chords of Terrapin Station filled the air. The prog juggernaut was delivered with absolute perfection, building with intensity. A feeding frenzy of energy as the intensity built with every verse till the venue explodes, “and the whistle is screaming: TERRAPIN!” Ultimately relenting into another excellent extended Drums > Space sequence that eventually forms into the Dead’s heaviest tune The Other One – a short but blistering ride on the magic bus.  The madness pauses momentarily for a blissful Stella Blue then it was back to the rock show with Throwing Stones into a standard-length Lovelight into Black Muddy River that closed the original Dead set. The evening ended with a ridiculously fun The Mighty Quinn that softly brought us all back down to earth.

Originally performed by the Grateful Dead on 10-03-1987 Shoreline Amphitheatre Mountain View California

1st Set: Hey Pocky Way, New Minglewood Blues, Candyman, When I Paint My Masterpiece, West L.A. Fadeaway, My Brother Esau, Bird Song, The Music Never Stopped
2nd Set: Maggie’s Farm-> Cumberland Blues > Looks Like Rain > Terrapin Station > Drums > Space > The Other One > Stella Blue > Throwing Stones > Turn On Your Love Light,
Encore: Black Muddy River
Filler: The Mighty Quinn



Dark Star Orchestra will kick off their Fall Tour East on Nov 12 before wrapping up with a Cosmic New Year’s celebration at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia.  Jamaica Jam in the Sand is scheduled for January 19-23, 2016 DSO will headline four nights with 2 full sets each night – they will be joined by Steve Kimock and his tribute to Jerry Garcia featuring Jeff Chimenti, Jay Lane, Reed Mathis and Dan Leibovitz, plus the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band.Winter tour will begin 2/11 hitting the southern & midwest US.  Immediately afterwards they will hit the road again for their Winter Tour 2016 starting February 11 in Orlando, FL with stops throughout the South and Midwest. For all things Dark Star Orchestra click here

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Part 1 – 2015-09-24 – Grass Valley CA at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium
Part 2 – 2015-10-01 – Redwood City CA at the Fox Theater
Part 3 – 2015-10-02 and 10-03 San Francisco CA at the Regency Ballroom

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