Dark Star Orchestra keeps the Dead alive with the right mix of music and emotion
After Dark Star Orchestras next tour, they will have played 1,385 shows, about half of what the Grateful Dead DSOs reference for shows, songs and style played in their entire existence. The band is known for their Dead show re-creations, but concert-goers shouldnt expect note-for-note renditions. Instead, rhythm guitarist and vocalist Rob Eaton said the band focuses on rendering a feeling, an essential quality of the Deads community that defined an era for its listeners. The original setlists Dark Star performs about one-third of the time follow the same vibe. Eaton said Sunsation-goers should expect this format, because the Dead never played a two-hour show, the time allotted for Dark Star at Copper Sunday. Itll be one of those things where we step on stage and have absolutely no idea what we want to play until we look at the crowd and say, Lets play this, Eaton said. Thats pretty much what the Grateful Dead scene was about, anyway.
Eaton: The Grateful Dead created a special microcosm of society that appealed to a lot of people. What you did is you basically checked all your stuff at the door … You checked whatever your sexual preference was, whatever your political orientation was … What fueled it all was the bigger picture the people, the music, the band, the setting when it really worked was phenomenal … People went back again and again to get that feeling.
Eaton: I dont think its a responsibility … Were just Deadheads. For us its just as meaningful as anybody else. We dont look at it in the sense of time to carry a torch, but if we can tap into that communal energy at all its a really wonderful thing to turn young kids on to this scene and this music and to this power that was there.
Eaton: The shows are really just a setlist for us. How I do it I dont really know, its different every time. We do do repeats (of shows) but not in the same area. We have different guitars that help us sonically with different time periods … Its more of a mindset … because you cant copy this music. If you start copying it youve lost it all together.
Eaton: Its absolutely a big honor. Theres never been a master plan about this, what were going to do or how were going to do this … Its an extreme honor because it justifies the fact that were doing OK. Its not blasphemous.
Music is free at the Burning Stones Plaza, Copper Mountain, unless otherwise noted.Saturday: All day Volcom Peanut Butter and Rail Jam in the Catalyst Terrain Park Noon Peter Rowan 1:30 p.m. Stanley Jordan 2 p.m. Steve Kimock and Jerry Joseph 4 p.m. Michael Franti and Spearhead 7 p.m. Sunsation Sessions (ticketed show) with Peter Rowan, Steve Kimock, Stanley Jordan and Jerry Joseph. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and available in advance at the Copper Adventure Desk in the MAC or at the door.Sunday: Noon WhiteWater Ramble 1:30 p.m. Stanley Jordan 2 p.m. Lotus 4 p.m. Dark Star Orchestra
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