Dark Star Orchestra to perform songs of the Grateful Dead


Dark Star Orchestra drummer Dino English spoke to Kaleidoscope host Juliet Fromholt this week ahead of the band’s August 12 performance at Rose Music Center at the Heights. English began playing with the Grateful Dead cover band in 1999, and has shared the stage with several members of the original Grateful Dead, including Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and Donna Jean Godchaux.

In the interview, English reflected on his life on the road with Dark Star Orchestra. He told Juliet,

“Being on the road like this is a bit like riding a bucking bronco — you hop on the bronco and you try to ride it as long as you can. And so far I’ve been able to pull this off for about 24 years, myself. There’s always something new that comes around the corner… but the music all makes it worth it. We all absolutely love this music and believe in what we’re doing, so we’re going to stick with it as long as we can.”

Two-thirds of the band’s concerts, English said, exactly replicate setlists from actual Grateful Dead performances. The other third he calls “elective” concerts, which allow the band to experiment with their repertoire. English talked with Juliet about his extensive knowledge of the Dead’s catalog.

“After playing all these Grateful Dead setlists over so many years, and knowing the different approaches the band would take at those times, we might have three or four arrangements of the same song.”

English also talks in the interview about the differences between audience member’s behavior in different parts of the country. West Coasters, he said, like to dance, while East Coasters tend to focus on watching the band. “The Midwest has their own thing too,” he added. “We play in Ohio quite a bit, and love doing it.”

Dark Star Orchestra performs this Saturday, August 12, 2023, at Rose Music Center at the Heights. Tickets to the show are available at rosemusiccenter.com. More information about the band, including upcoming tour dates, is available at darkstarorchestra.net.

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