Dark Star Orchestra Replicates 1st Show To Celebrate 25th Anniversary In Chicago

Listen to the celebratory show which saw founding bassist Kevin Rosen guesting with the Grateful Dead tribute act during the encore.

By Nate Todd Nov 15, 2022 10:22 am PST

Dark Star Orchestra celebrated their 25th anniversary at The Vic Theatre in Chicago on Friday. The Grateful Dead tribute group recreated their first show on November 11, 1997 which in turn was a replica of GD’s October 8, 1981 concert in Copenhagen, Denmark.

DSO noted on their website that they played in an “elective style” as vocalist Lisa Mackey joined the rest of the band — guitarists Rob Eaton and Jeff Mattson, keyboardist Rob Barraco, drummers Dino English and Rob Koritz and bassist Skip Vangelas — for the joyous evening. The first set got underway with a 10-minute “Feel Like A Stranger” ahead of a pairing of “They Love Each Other” and “C.C. Rider.” “Cumberland Blues” and “Cassidy” followed before the band embarked on a three-song seamless sequence of “Loser,” “Mama Tried” and “Mexicali Blues.” A linking of “Althea” and “The Music Never Stopped” concluded the first frame.

The classic pairing of “Scarlet Begonias” and “Fire On The Mountain” kicked off the second set, together clocking in at around 30 minutes. DSO then offered “Playing In The Band,” which had to be stopped due to a medical emergency in the audience. The Grateful Dead tribute act resumed with the epic, “Terrapin Station,” ahead of the “Drums” and “Space” segment. “Not Fade Away” emerged from “Space” followed by “Black Peter” in the ballad slot. A pair of Chuck Berry tunes, “Around And Around” and “Johnny B. Goode” sealed the set.

At the beginning of the show, DSO noted that no one from the current lineup played the first show at Chicago’s Martyrs back in ‘97. For the encore, DSO brought out founding bassist Kevin Rosen to lay down the low end on “U.S. Blues.” The band would add Stephen Stills’ “Love The One You’re With,” to cap off the celebratory evening.

Listen to full-show audio below taped by sos with mixing and mastering by Alex Ford:

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Setlist (via DSO.net)

Set 1: Feel Like A Stranger ; They Love Each Other > C.C. Rider ; Cumberland Blues ; Cassidy ; Loser > Mama Tried > Mexicali Blues ; Althea > The Music Never Stopped

Set 2: Scarlet Begonias > Fire On The Mountain ; Playing In The Band* ; Terrapin Station > drums > space > Not Fade Away > Black Peter > Around And Around > Johnny B. Goode

Encore: U.S. Blues**

Filler: Love the One You’re With


* band stopped playing due to medical emergency in the audience

** Kevin Rosen on bass

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