[My good buddy Salvador Sriracha recently attended a Dark Star Orchestra show, and he passed along this show review shortly afterwards. This show came about a week after he had a terrible time at a Furthur show in San Fran, and this "review" is less about the specific music that was played at this show and more about... well... just read it and you'll see. Enjoy!] ------
I just got back from the Dark Star Orchestra concert. It was spectacular. I don't say that lightly. Completely and unexpectedly blew my socks off. I felt like I experienced something special, like "we're playing the Fillmore for two nights this weekend, but it's Monday night and we're gonna blow away this crowd of ~300 b/c what matters is not 'the Fillmore' but love of music."
I also feel compelled to say something like: I will never again malign the music of the Grateful Dead. The music is FUCKING AWESOME. I don't know what was going on with "Furthur" the other day, and/or with me, but I'd say I had literally 100 times more fun tonight than last Sunday. I almost want to cry. I felt so opened up tonight and--again I feel compelled to say, even though it's ridiculous--the vibe was unbelievably positive. I understand this shit in a new way after tonight. I'm proud to know a place out of the woodwork of which emerged that crowd, to experience the celebration of music that is still alive.
Between the second set and the encore, I asked my friend--the biggest phishhead in Ashland--what show this was (DSO re-enacts full shows, if you didn't know that)--and he quickly said that at song #4 he called it as 5/17/74 (Vancouver). Hooray. (Also lol--an affectionate lol--that he could do this.)
I took my daughter to the first set, until she got too tired and we left during the last song. She was surprisingly happy. Here are some choice comments from her first rock concert (!):
1. Before the show, we walked into the venue, looked at the stage, and then walked out and got pizza. At the pizza place, where she decided she liked one of the phish posters the best (yay for her!) she commented, "everyone seems happy tonight." She meant everyone around town and at the pizza place (where people were playing dead songs on the guitar and harmonica, randomly). I was like (internally), "Ok, I'm gonna ignore this insight of this incredibly perceptive, miraculous child, as much as I can, b/c that's irrational, but I also feel an incoming joyful vibe."
2. At the concert, she said, "The lights are dancing just like the people. And I like them."
3. I then noticed she was putting her hands flat on the ground, and I was like, "?" until I realized: she's feeling the vibrations of the bass and the dancing, on the floor. She then confirmed this observation.
4. After about 40 minutes, she was way too tired. We then used the rest of the set ("Playing in the Band," the first set closer) and the set break to go find ice cream, etc. When we got home, she told my wife, "My ears almost fell off" and I had to ignore the glares of my wife that she had not used earplugs, even though I had brought them (first set wasn't that loud!!). Then I booked it back to the show for the second set, without my daughter, missing the first 3 songs, which turned out not to matter.
Everything I have written above is a distraction from the main point: Wow. Yes. Thank you. Etc. I had a really fucking stressful day, and that show healed me. Very unexpected; honestly after last weekend I was kind of like, "well, I guess I had it wrong about this whole thing, as depressing as that is."