Grateful Dead tribute act Dark Star Orchestra welcomed former guitarist John Kadlecik to guest on a song last night at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Kadlecik replaced current DSO guitarist Jeff Mattson for “Cumberland Blues” during Monday’s first set at the iconic Morrison, Colorado venue.
Dark Star Orchestra focused the elective setlist on material from the early and mid-1970s in the opening frame. The band then went with one classic from the Grateful Dead’s late-1960s repertoire after another for the second set and encore at Red Rocks.
The pairing of “China Cat Sunflower” and “I Know You Rider” was connected by a “Beautiful Jam” to get the action underway at Red Rocks. Guitarist Rob Eaton then led the group through “Black Throated Wind” before vocalist Lisa Mackey made her first appearance of the night to back Mattson on “Here Comes Sunshine.” Next, Eaton introduced John Kadlecik, who left DSO in 2009 to join Furthur. Last night marked Kadlecik’s first guest spot with Dark Star Orchestra since his departure.
John K. took Jeff Mattson’s space on stage for “Cumberland Blues” and then said farewell to the appreciative crowd. Mattson was back on hand for “Box Of Rain” and the Mackey-sung Loretta Lynn cover “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man).” Dark Star Orchestra ended the frame with the “Weather Report Suite” into “Let It Grow” sequence and a rollicking “Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad.”
Dark Star Orchestra kicked off Monday’s second set with an emotional “Morning Dew” featuring a fierce solo from Mattson. Keyboardist then channeled Ron “Pigpen” McKernan on “Easy Wind” as Mackey played harmonica. From there, an exploratory “Dark Star” gave way to “St. Stephen” complete with its “William Tell Bridge” before DSO jammed into “The Eleven.” Next up was “Cryptical Envelopment” as the lead-in to the evening’s “Drums” and “Space” segments.
Bassist Skip Vangelas provided the rumbling bass line that signaled the start of “The Other One.” DSO then took it down a notch for “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” and capped the set with “Alligator.” The band returned to end the night with a “Viola Lee Blues” encore.
Set One: China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, Black Throated Wind, Here Comes Sunshine, Cumberland Blues (w/ John Kadlecik on guitar replacing Jeff Mattson), Box Of Rain, You Ain’t Woman Enough, Weather Report Suite > Let It Grow, Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad
Set Two: Morning Dew, Easy Wind, Dark Star > St. Stephen > The Eleven, Cryptical Envelopment > Drums > Space > The Other One > Death Don’t Have No Mercy, Alligator
Encore: Viola Lee Blues