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Dark Star Orchestra to present Grateful Dead tribute, tonight

  • The Dark Star Orchestra will be performing at 8 p.m. today at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe, playing music from the iconic Grateful Dead.
    The Dark Star Orchestra will be performing at 8 p.m. today at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe, playing music from the iconic Grateful Dead.
Published November 23. 2011 05:01PM

The Dark Star Orchestra, one of the nation's top tribute bands to the iconic Grateful Dead, makes a return appearance to Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe, tonight.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $29.

The concert is part of the band's "Fly by the Night" tour.

For over 13 years and - as of this tour - more than 2000 shows, Dark Star Orchestra has embodied the Grateful Dead's live experience for fans both old and too young to have ever seen their own Grateful Dead show.

Drummer Dino English said he enjoys coming to Penn's Peak. "It's definitely one of our favorite venues. It's a beautiful venue and we always have a lot of fun."

Every past concert by Dark Star at the Peak has drawn large crowds.

English won't reveal what the band has up its sleeve for tonight's event.

"About of the time we play actual Grateful Dead shows," he said. "The other third are made up on our own shows."

He continued, "The aspect of doing the Grateful Dead show in its entirety is one of the unique things we do. At Penn's Peak, it is part of the guessing game. We don't reveal the show ahead of time."

English has been with Dark Star Orchestra, named for a song released as a single by the Grateful Dead, for the past 12 years.

He said, "Ever since I saw them live, I've been a Grateful Dead fan ever since."

English is a native of St. Louis but presently lives in Kentucky. The band was formed in Chicago.

Dark Star has performed in 48 of the 50 states. The only two they haven't played in were South Dakota and Hawaii.

The band has also been to Europe, with an extensive tour done of Germany and Austria. In March, Dark Star has an engagement in London.

English said the band reached its 2.000 concert just prior to the Penn's Peak concert. Also, Nov. 11 makred the bnds 13th anniversary.

Dark Star has played with Bob Weir a few times. Weir was a founding member of the Grateful Dead.

Other Grateful Dead members who have been on stage with Dark Star include the late Vince Welnick, drummer Bill Kreutzmann, and Donna Jean Godchaux.

A couple of months ago, Dark Star was part of the "Hardly Strictly Bluegrass" festival held at the Golden Gate Bridge and performed before 30,000 people.

Besides English, other band members are:

• Jeff Mattson: (lead guitar, vocals) - A veteran of over 30 years on the road, Jeff was a founding member of The Zen Tricksters and has played guitar for the Donna Jean Godchaux Band and Phil Lesh & Friends.

• Lisa Mackey: (vocals) - When the show is from the seventies Lisa signs on to provide the harmony. Fans find it's always a pleasure to hear her rendition of Donna Jean Godchaux vocals performed in perfect key. She previously performed with Shotgun Ragtime Band and Dime Store String Band.

• Rob Koritz: (drums) - Rob has seen 93 Grateful Dead shows.

• Kevin Rosen: (bass guitar, vocals) - Kevin was a founding member of DSO along with Scott, John and Lisa. He has been to over 100 Grateful Dead concerts.

• Rob Eaton: (rhythm guitar, vocals) - He has seen over 400 Grateful Dead shows.

• Rob Barraco: (keyboards, vocals) - In 2002 he joined with the original members of the Grateful Dead for the Alpine Valley reunion shows and then toured with them in 2002 and 2003. He has seen over 300 Grateful Dead shows.

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