The Grove of Anaheim will witness a resurrection from the dead. But there wonâ€™t be rotten flesh, bloody limbs and spilled brain matter and the sound of listless groaning. Instead, there will be billows of patchouli and pot smoke and 20 minute mellow guitar solos.
Itâ€™s a different kind of dead. Itâ€™s The Grateful Dead tribute band, Dark Star Orchestra, and they are coming to the Grove Dec. 2 to play songs from the Deadâ€™s past shows.
â€œItâ€™s never the same (song) twice,â€ said drummer Rob Koritz.
Dark Star Orchestra recreates Grateful Dead set lists and songs while adding in their own twist on the traditional and well-known improvisations.
The Grateful Dead was a San Francisco band that started in the late 1960s. The Dead was known for their unique musical styles that fused different genres such as jazz, blues, folk and psychedelic.
Tribute bands attract big audiences and every popular band has a designated tribute band. The Beatles, have the Fab Four and the Doors have Wild Child. Dark Star Orchestra is the gold standard for the Dead.
Dark Star Orchestra tours around the country, keeping Dead jams alive long after the group broke up when frontman and hippy icon Jerry Garcia died. For this tour, Dark Star Orchestra will recreate classic set lists tailored to the city they played in. For Anaheim, the band will reprise a Dead jam from a Los Angeles show or nearby city.
What draws fans to tribute band concerts is the nostalgic feeling of revisiting a show and hearing the same songs from a past tour.
Each show is different.
â€œItâ€™s so heavily based on improvisation, we can be artistically creative,â€ Koritz said.
While resurrecting the many Dead songs through their countless tours, Dark Star Orchestra is also preserving the Deadâ€™s fans.
Dark Star Orchestra is trying something new in their upcoming tour, From a City Near You.
The tour offers the band to recreate a showâ€™s set list from one of the many historical venues the Dead performed in over their four decades of touring.
â€œI absolutely would go, and am going to shows from this tour,â€ said Randi Mattson, a loyal Dead fan, who calls herself a hippie. â€œThis is a nice little hint from DSO to their fans about what might be upcoming in a particular show â€“ a classic show from a fan’s local area. Good idea!â€
Mattson has been attending Dead shows since the â€˜70s and is part of the many dedicated Dead Heads who travel across the country to see their favorite band while adding the number of shows to their bragging list.
Koritz, who has been in Dark Star Orchestra for about 12 years, has been to about 93 shows. Other members, like Rob Eaton, who play guitar, has seen more than 400 Dead shows and has studied the intricate moves of Bob Weir, the Deadâ€™s original guitarist and background vocalist.
The tour allows fans to relive their favorite Dead show, while Dark Star Orchestra adds their own flare to the improvisational jams.
â€œOne of the things that will attract a (Dead) Head to the music is the improvisation and spontaneity of any show,â€ said Dan Espinosa, who is a jam band fan. â€œWhether it be the way a jam is played out, or what most view as the ever changing set list.â€
Jam bands are musical groups, popular in the 1960s, known for featuring extended improvisational solos and grooves played over steady rhythmic beats and simple chord progressions.
The tour, Koritz believes, will bring out fans and it gives Dark Star Orchestra a chance to play different songs.
â€œI would definitetly consider hopping on this tour,â€ Espinosa, 19, said. â€œAlthough it may not be the same as seeing the Dead currently playing, (now under the name Furthur), it is a show that is worth seeing for anyone involved or interested in jam band music.â€