The Grateful Dead may have disbanded in 1995, but the Deadhead spirit lives on through the Dark Star Orchestra, a tribute band made up of seven members who present faithful reproductions of the rock legends’ live shows.
With original set lists and even the same instrument arrangement and musician configuration as the Grateful Dead, Dark Star Orchestra brings to life the music that spawned what has arguable become the most loyal fan base of all time, the Deadheads.
“Our approach is what we call ‘traditional,’” drummer Dino English said in an interview with The Miami Hurricane. “We hear all the parts of the music, the melody and harmony. Each part is important.”
The band has been together for more than 11 years and its members vary in age from 30 to “50 something.”
“I would say our relationship is one like a brother and sister,” English said. “We’re all friends but it’s deeper than that. We get in fights like brothers and sisters but we love each other in the end.”
Though musicians in the group have come and gone, the current band members have been together for about nine years and are some of the best Grateful Dead cover artists nationwide.
“We’re all Deadheads; we grew up listening to the Grateful Dead, going to shows and I think we all regard this as the best music out there,” English said. “We play the music we love the most.”
Although the band sticks strictly to Grateful Dead music, English says there is a lot of individuality in what they play.
“We’re all way into music in general but the Grateful Dead is such a special experience that that’s what we’re drawn to,” he said.
The Grateful Dead were more than an extraordinary jam band in the ‘70s. They gave birth to thousands of die-hard Deadheads who experienced the feeling of being part of something bigger through their music and live shows. Today the fans consider themselves an extended family.
“Deadheads from all over the planet are part of the family,” English said. “We try to keep that vibe going.”
Dark Star Orchestra is more than just a cover band playing rock songs from the ‘70s to an aging audience. The group’s goal is to achieve something almost supernatural.
“We’re trying to tap into the group mind, the audience and the band, a feeling together,” English said. “We’re going for that magic feeling music gives you.”
Dark Star Orchestra will be playing in Pompano Beach this Saturday, Jan, 31, at Club Cinema at 9 p.m.
If You Go:
Who: Dark Star Orchestra
What: Playing the music of the Grateful Dead
When: Saturday, Jan. 21 at 8 p.m.
Where: Club Cinema, Pompano Beach, Florida, 3251 North Federal Highway, Pompano Beach, FL 33064