Dark Star Orchestra made a swift trip through Chicago during their 2013 winter tour, Saturday February 2nd. The band successfully sold out The Vic Theatre and played their 2154th show since they formed in 1999. Dark Star Orchestra is notorious for playing shows based on particular Grateful Dead setlists from their 30 years of touring or just playing original and frequently covered Dead songs.
Upon entering the theatre I was hit with an overload of senses. I felt like I could see tie-dyes for miles and smell buds for days. I heard fans busily chatting about what they thought would be played due to the presence of two drum kits (which clearly rules out the years 1970-1972). There were people of all ages continuously filling the venue, from ages 60 to 17. My favorite girls and I moseyed our way into the floor space provided, and decided there was not enough room for dancing nor breathing due to the sold out show.
We opted to make our way up to the balcony level where you could clearly see that the theatre had a worn in feel to it with vintage architecture and beautiful ornate plaster reliefs covering the ceilings and walls. I have seen Dark Star numerous times and the separation between me and the band did not phase me.
There were seven band members that sauntered onto the stage each taking their respective places. As the music began to play the crowd went wild and immediately everyone started to dance. There was a comfortable feel to the show and I knew I was right at home. The two drum sets added to the energy of the show bringing life to the percussion. Lisa Mackey was the only female in the band bringing a warm, feminine touch to the show with her talented vocals, belting out every lyric in perfect rhythm with the band. At the beginning of every song played I immediately recognized the melody. The band continuously kept me on my toes, interested in what would be played next. As the show went on the intricate tie-dyed backdrops began to come alive, maybe it was the enticing lights or maybe the vibrant energy of the show, or maybe it was more than that, it’s hard to say.
Set break came and went and the show continued on, at the end of the concert the band traditionally announces the date and venue of the show that they played. We were all anticipating the year with many guesses in our heads, we were informed that they had played an original setlist that night, creating a unique experience for fans of all ages. The band closed the show with an encore of Werewolves of London which typically leaves the crowd howling for more. DSO showed The Vic Theatre and the patrons of Chicago what was up. Thanks for a great night and an amazing show, rage on Dark Star, Ray John.
Set One: Promised Land ; Dire Wolf ; All Over Now ; Peggy-O ; Passenger ; Dupree’s Diamond Blues ; New Minglewood Blues ; Candyman ; Dancing In The Streets
Set Two: Bertha > Good Lovin’ ; Friend Of The Devil ; Playing In The Band > Shakedown Street > drums > space > I Need Miracle > The Wheel > If I Had The World To Give > Around And Around
Encore: Werewolves Of London
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