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Live Review Dark Star Orchestra do it with the lights on in Berkeley at UC Theater

8 April 2016 No Comment

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Dark Star Orchestra
Spring Tour West
04-07-2016 @ UC Theater
Berkeley, California
Jeff Longo

Dark Star Orchestra kicked off their three night run at the newly remodeled UC Theater in downtown Berkeley on Thursday. This was the band’ s first performances in Berkeley but also the first performance at the newly re-modeled UC Theater! This is by default as the original theater opening was scheduled for the prior weekend but was canceled due to power and permitting issues. While the power issues have been resolved the permits were not.

As front-man Rob Eaton explained as the band took the stage that the Fire Marshall had not inspected the sensors for the huge light rig, which alerts when there is a fire, and we had a choice: we can cancel the show or we can leave the house lights on. So we’ll do it with the lights on – a very Dead moment:) While the house lights remained on the stage lights were working, not sure if this will be fixed or not for the Friday and Saturday shows but I can tell you after a couple of minutes it was hardly noticeable.

There are some tickets still available for Friday and Saturday shows at Tickefly and UC Theater online – To celebrate the new venue and DSO first appearance in the city they are breaking tradition and have pre-revealed the Saturday’s recreation: the Grateful Dead’s August 24, 1972 performance at the Berkeley Community Theater. A smoking 72 set that you do not want to miss.

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For Thursday’s show the Dark Star Orchestra beautifully recreated the Grateful Dead’s performance at Paramount Theater on 1976-06-04 in Portland, OR. The second show the Dead played post-hiatus and as it turn out featured some nice song surprises. The stage was set up with two drummers – Dino English and Rob Koritz, Rob Barraco on keys, Lisa Mackey backup vocals, Jeff Mattson on lead guitar/vocals, and Rob Eaton Rhythm/vocals.

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The band launched into The Promised Land to get the party started and while the first set had it moments the majority of the set had a a very laid back tempo, especially the beautifully slowed down version of Friend of the Devil, a sweet Candyman, and the first surprise of the evening, a lovely Mission in the Rain lead by Mattson. Lisa Mackey provided some beautiful accompaniment with Rob Eaton on the melancholy Looks Like Rain and Cassidy, but the highlight was definitely when a Help/Slipknot/Franklin’s popped out to close the set.

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After a short break the second set kept things going with a rocking Playing in the Band with some interesting space jamming. A funky Might As Well and Sampson were full of energy till the tempo dropped for another surprise appeared. More than a few roared thier approval on a slowed down, psychedelic version of Cosmic Charlie with perfectly delivered harmonies till a blazing Let it Grow hit the gas pedal again.

This is my sixth Dark Star show and every time they absolutely blown me away and tonight was no exception. Lights on, lights off, doesnt matter this band delivers the goods, every time. So far I have experienced a 1969, a 1972, two 1987, a 1980, and now a 1976 show. I cant wait to see what they have in store for us on Friday.

Set One: The Promised Land ; Friend Of The Devil ; Mama Tried ; Sugaree ; Cassidy ; Candyman ; Big River ; Brown Eyed Women ; Lazy Lightnin’ > Supplication ; Mission In The Rain ; Looks Like Rain ; Help On The Way > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower

Set Two: Playing In The Band ; Might As Well ; Samson And Delilah ; Cosmic Charlie ; Let It Grow > Drums > Let It Grow > Stella Blue > Dancing In The Street > U.S. Blues

Encore: Johnny B. Goode

Filler: Let Me Sing Your Blues Away

Tickets available at Tickefly and UC Theater online

“We’re thrilled to announce on Saturday, April 9th, Dark Star Orchestra will pay tribute to Berkeley by recreating the Grateful Dead’s infamous 8/24/72 Berkeley Community Theater show on the last of our 3-night stand at the UC Theater in Berkeley, CA as part of Spring Tour West. Considered one of the best Dead performances ever, this show will take us on a journey we’re unlikely to forget. Out of over 2,500 shows, DSO has only announced a handful of setlists in advance making this night quite the exception and the perfect way to celebrate our first ever shows in Berkeley. We hope you’ll join us in bringing this epic ‘72 Berkeley Community Theater show to life!”

For all things Dark Star Orchestra – click here

Listen to the original Grateful Dead performance from August 24, 1972 at the Berkeley Community Theater here:

Check out photos and reviews of Dark Star Orchestra 2016 Fall Tour West:

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



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