Dark Star Orchestra: Keeping the Dead Alive?
One of the strangest phenomena of the 21st century is that “tribute bands” have crawled out of the nightclubs and somehow managed to establish themselves as legitimate concert attractions commanding big-show ticket prices.
Is rock & roll really so caught up in the quagmire of its past?
Well, take a look around at the upcoming seasons of some of Nippertown’s concert halls:
The beautifully refurbished Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield plays host to the Woodstock Festival Tribute on Friday.
The Linda in Albany features Beatlemania Again on Saturday, October 2 – a return appearance.
The Palace Theatre in Albany is welcoming Experience Hendrix on Saturday, November 6; the Pink Floyd Experience on Friday, February 18.
The Egg in Albany welcomes Celebrating Queen on Friday, October 8; the Beatlemania & Woodstock Tribute Show on Saturday, November 13; Hammer of the Gods on Saturday, March 12.
Even the classy Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy hosts Arrival (an ABBA tribute band) on January 14.
And for the second day of the Applestock Festival at the Altamont Fairgrounds on Sunday, October 3, it’s a wall-to-wall line-up of nothing but tribute bands churning out musical homages to such disparate stars as Madonna, Johnny Cash, Michael Jackson, U2 and more.
So what – if anything – makes the Dark Star Orchestra different? We’re not sure, but it’s not just Deadheads who are raving about the band. “The hottest Grateful Dead tribute act,” declared The Washington Post. “A cover band for people who don’t like cover bands.”
Rolling Stone raved about DSO’s “fanatical attention to detail,” and the Associated Press concurred, “Dark Star Orchestra takes its act to a level of detail that befits a rock band famous for its fanatical following.”
Could it be that DSO – with Jeff Mattson in the Jerry Garcia lead guitar chair – is something more than just another tribute band?