Dark Star Orchestra Performing With Jerry Garcia Guitars In San Francisco


Jeff Mattson of Dark Star Orchestra will play two guitars once owned and used by Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead during a pair of upcoming DSO shows at The Warfield in San Francisco. Mattson will use Jerry Garcia’s Martin D28 acoustic guitar on February 14 and Garcia’s Fender Stratocaster — nicknamed “Alligator” — on February 15.

Both guitars were recently won at auction by Andy Logan. “Alligator” was last used in a concert performance on August 1, 1973. “I was three years old when Alligator was last on stage, and drooled over Europe ‘72 bootlegs and videos never dreaming I would get to see Alligator played live,” noted Logan in a statement from DSO. “Thanks to Rick Turner and Dark Star Orchestra, we fans will all get to hear Alligator’s return to the stage with its unique tone cutting through the room. Other than the Grateful Dead, there’s no band that has put in more time studying and playing this material, than Dark Star Orchestra, so I am thrilled they will have the honor to kick off the next chapter for this time-tested instrument that is dripping with Grateful Dead history.”

Garcia used the acoustic during his time on the historic Festival Express tour in 1970. Mattson will play the instrument on Valentine’s Day as part of DSO’s recreation of the Dead’s February 14, 1970 show, which comes on the 50th anniversary of the concert. Tickets for both nights are on sale now via AXS.