By Jeffrey Allen Federowicz
In the world of rock music, there are tribute bands which attempt to honor a popular group and there are cover bands which play their own version of a famed groups hit songs. Combine the two and kick things up a few decimals and you have the Grateful Dead musical hybrid, Dark Star Orchestra.
This Friday evening the DSO will take audience members on musical journey back to the past at the Community Arts Center in Williamsport when the Grateful Dead come to life once more.
What sets the DSO apart from other bands is that they perform an entire show that the Grateful Dead would have toured with — call it modern day music recycling.
“Our show is sort of like a time capsule in a way since we present the same type concert the Dead would have performed,” said Rob Koritz one of the band’s two drummers during a recent phone interview. “We try and stay true to the spirit and feeling the band had. There music was classic, so it’s great to be able to go out on stage and play these songs.”
Over the years, the music of The Grateful Dead has attracted a varied and colorful fan base which includes everything from baby boomers and aging hippies who refuse to grow up, to college students and young musicians.
“It’s always interesting to look out into the crowd at one of our shows and see the mix of people that have turn out to see us,” Koritz said, who has a jazz and classical music background. “It’s like music all unites them together.”
Since its conception nine years ago, the DSO has earned the respect of fans because of the group’s commitment to being as authentic while covering all of the music with impressive accuracy.
From “Stella Blue”, “Big River”, “Jack Straw” and “Dark Star”, DSO features the kind of drive and passion The Grateful Dead poured into their performances.
“For people that remember going to see the Dead or for the younger generation who might not have been born yet, our show gives the audience a chance to experience what kind of show the Grateful Dead did while they were on tour,” Koritz said.