A Cosmic New Year’s Celebration

Roll away 2014 with the music of the Grateful Dead, on Dec. 30 and 31, when the Dark Star Orchestra crashes the Paramount for a two-night performance in Huntington.

“We really dig the Paramount. It’s a beautiful venue,” said Jeff Mattson, lead guitarist/vocalist for Dark Star Orchestra. “The people couldn’t be nicer. That is why we come back.”

What sets Dark Star Orchestra apart from any other cover band is how they have continued to recreate “classic” performances from the Grateful Dead’s more than 30-year history, typically song by song and in order.

This story originally appeared on LongIslandWeekly.com.

Mattson, who is a Melville resident, said this is the third year Dark Star Orchestra has performed at the Paramount since he joined the band back in 2010.

“All the people I’ve grown up playing for come to the shows,” Mattson said. “It’s sort of a homecoming…best part is I get to go home and sleep on my own bed.”

Living on Long Island for the past decade, Mattson recalls past performances with the Zen Tricksters—a Long Island–based Grateful Dead cover band that he cofounded—who performed every Thursday at a club aptly named New York Avenue.


“I remember playing the night after Jerry Garcia passed, a lot of people came out,” Mattson said. “We just wanted to be with each other. It was a very emotional night. There was an electricity of emotions running through the performances.”

Shortly after guitarist John Kadlecik left Dark Star Orchestra in 2009 to perform with the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, the band brought in Mattson as a permanent replacement.

For Mattson, what sets Dark Star Orchestra apart from any other cover band, is their attention to detail and level of production.

“What we want to do is not to play the show note for note, but to listen to the style of the band at the time, all the important landmarks,” Mattson explains. “We will listen and skip through [a set] and find out the pertinent information to the show.”

Since most of the band’s performances derive from past performances of the Dead, the band rarely announces what they plan to perform before setting foot on stage. However, Mattson said that DSO has something very special planned to help bring in the 2015 New Year.

The Dark Star Orchestra’s Cosmic New Year’s Run will be performed on Dec. 30 and Dec. 31. For more information on tickets, please call 800-345-7000 or visit www.theparamountny.com.

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