The people who call Dark Star Orchestra a cover band are just plain ignorant. Yes, they play the music of the Grateful Dead, right down to reproducing identical setlists, but the way they handle the material is downright reverential, though not in a knee-bending way, more like acolytes who’ve been lit from within by exposure to sacred teachings. For the Impound’s money, they’re a lot closer to the original energy of Jerry Garcia and the Dead than an aggregate with ex-members like Furthur. DSO comes at this music with a verve that makes different eras in its history shine, illuminating them, if you will, with a dedication that’s powerful and joyous.
DI’s eye in NYC, Suzy Perler, hit Irving Plaza for DSO’s stab at a legendary New York City performance at Fillmore East from the same day in 1971. Check out the setlist here. Suzy snags some of the band’s impassioned, delighted spirit in these shots.