Dark Star Orchestra Adds Donna Jean Godchaux to 7/8/78 Red Rock Recreation

Article Contributed by Musical Earth | Published on Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Hosting the musical memory of one of the Grateful Dead’s most beloved, historic shows, Dark Star Orchestra has pledged to recreate the July 8, 1978 performance at Red Rocks Amphitheater at the iconic venue 40 years to the day of its original performance. The band announces today that original Grateful Dead member Donna Jean Godchaux will be making a guest appearance on stage with the band at the upcoming July 8 performance. Having performed with The Dead at the ’78 show, Donna Jean notes “I refer to Red Rocks as the hallowed hall of Rock-n-Roll; one of the most amazing venues in the country.  I loved playing there with the Grateful Dead and am looking forward to playing there with Dark Star Orchestra. It will be a blast!”

Members of DSO are also thrilled at the opportunity to perform with Donna at Red Rocks, especially recreating this infamous show. “I've had the privilege and the pleasure of playing guitar in Donna Jean's band for many years, so I can attest better than most to the beauty and soulfulness of her singing and songwriting. To have her back on the same stage she sang on 40 years ago will be an honor and a treasured event,” says Jeff Mattson, Dark Star Orchestra lead guitarist/vocalist.  Dark Star vocalist Lisa Mackey offers a soulful take on the collaboration noting “from the very first day I met Donna Jean, I have felt her presence about 1-2 minutes before I see her shining face.” 

Another highlight of DSO’s Red Rocks announcement today includes the news that Grateful Dead recording engineer, Betty Cantor-Jackson, will be on hand at the Red Rocks show to document the performance in her trademark manner. Deadheads & audiophiles know her infamous ‘Betty Boards’ as the tangible, audio supply chain to the band’s timeless live shows, having created & shared her crystal-clear audio recordings of some of the band’s most vibrant output, including the original 1978 Red Rocks performance. 

In more immediate Dark Star Orchestra news, at the upcoming Dark Star Orchestra performance at Boston’s Wilbur Theater, Thursday May 10, Jeff Mattson has been offered the opportunity to perform with hand-crafted Doug Irwin guitar, Wolf, used by Jerry Garcia in the 70s and 80s, including at the legendary 1978 Red Rocks performances.