Dark Star Orchestra took the stage at the Palace Theater in Albany, New York on November 16th playing the original setlist from the May 19th, 1977 at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, one of the infamous Spring of ’77 shows that make up a huge dynamic of what the Grateful Dead did in their prime.
Dark Star Orchestra is a band completely established around the extensive archives of the Grateful Dead and their immense set lists that spanned the 30 years of touring. To some, it may be an anomaly how a cover band could acquire the amount of attention that Dark Star has achieved in their 15 years of touring, but after seeing them live it is no wonder they have gained as much positive attention and feedback over the years.
The scene outside of the Palace Theater before the show began could have been passed off as a Grateful Dead Show of the past. Deadheads swarmed the street, some selling goods, others talking about their excitement and predictions for the show.
The show began with “Promised Land” into “Sugaree”, which indicated to any knowledgeable Grateful Dead fan that this was going to be an excellent night of music. The Spring 1977 tour for the Grateful Dead was perhaps the pinnacle of their performances, including such famous shows as May 8, 1977 at Barton Hall at Cornell University. Much like most Grateful Dead Shows of the past the Palace theater was thick with smoke and the aisles filled with dancing fans, engulfed in the music. Dark Star Orchestra has an uncanny way of encapsulating The Grateful Dead’s sound and vibe throughout each show.
The highlights included the first set’s “Sugaree” and “Dancing in the Streets.” The “Sugaree” from May 19, 1977 is referred to as perhaps one of the best of all time. The second set was on fire with a phenomenal “Ramble on Rose,” “Terrapin > Playin’ in the Band > Uncle John’s Band> Drums > The Wheel > China Doll > Playin’ In The Band.” May 19th did not have an encore, so Dark Star Orchestra closed with “Let Me Sing Your Blues Away”, which they proclaimed defined exactly what they were about as a band. Their second encore was the famous sing along, feel good song, Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves In London”, ending what was clearly a crowd pleasing show that definitely made its mark on Albany.
Set 1: Promised Land, Sugaree> El Paso, Peggy-O, Looks Like Rain, Row Jimmy, Passenger, Loser, Dancin’ in the Streets
Set 2: Samson and Delilah, Ramble on Rose, Estimated Prophet, Terrapin Station> Playin’ in the Band> Uncle John’s Band> Drums> The Wheel>China Doll> Playin’ in the Band
Encore: Let Me Sing Your Blues Away, Werewolves in London