Dark Star Orchestra @ McDonald Theatre - Eugene, OR
by Finn Turnbull
on Feb 13th, 2019
The celebrated celebration of the Grateful Dead experience, known as Dark Star Orchestra, brought two sets of dead head bliss to Eugene, Oregon on Monday night. In a flower child town like Eugene, DSO have no trouble packing the house as fans of Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and friends all gather to re-live the best days of the Grateful Dead performances. Since 1997, Dark Star Orchestra have been together doing their best to recreate and continue the essence of Grateful Dead concerts. They are known for playing entire shows once before performed by their idols. In fact, they’re so good at what they do, not only have they developed their own devoted following, but practically every Dead member still alive today has performed with Dark Star at least once.
At the McDonald Theatre, Dark Star Orchestra played two sets, starting the first with “Don’t Ease Me In.” Set one also gave Eugene uncanny renditions of “Me and My Uncle,” “Deal,” and the Rolling Stones cover of “It’s All Over Now.” Jeff Matson, who takes the role of Jerry, has mastered his predecessor’s guitar tones and style. His beautifully smooth and flowing guitar improvisation is easily one of the best tributes to Garcia to date. Rob Eaton and Matson’s vocal impressions of Bob and Jerry are also chillingly accurate.
Set two started with the famous “Scarlet Begonias > Fire on the Mountain” jam and continued by satisfying all the rest of the Grateful cravings. The second half of the night included “From the Heart of Me” followed by a massive fusion of “Estimated Prophet > Eyes of the World > Drums > Space > The Other One > Wharf Rat > Sugar Magnolia.” After the magic of the jam had been spent, and the crowd was left reeling, Dark Star came out for an encore of “One More Saturday Night” and “I Need a Miracle.”