BEAVER CREEK, Colorado " Dark Star Orchestra returns to the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek tonight, where last year's rocking performance sold out. It's anyone's guess which concert from the Grateful Dead's 30 year repertoire Dark Star Orchestra will choose to revive, but Rob Koritz, the drummer who channels Mickey Hart's skills, hopes it's from the late '80s or early '70s, two of his favorite eras to play.
Vail Daily: What's your favorite moment while playing with Dark Star Orchestra?
Rob Koritz: We've had so many amazing moments but the first thing that popped into my mind happened in my first two weeks in the band when I stepped into the Fillmore in San Francisco for the first time to play there.
VD: How do you decide which show to play on a given night?
RK: Rob Eaton picks the shows because if we all put in our opinions, we'd never agree. He actually does it on the off time and when I get on the tour bus, there will be a book waiting for me that has the whole tour's line up.
VD: What about playing with actual members of the Grateful Dead?
RK: It's cool that they want to do it. We've played with pretty much all the survivors... It was very surreal the first couple of times, but the real statement is when they decide to come back a second, third and fourth time because the first time might have been a novelty, but they enjoyed it enough to come back and do it again.
VD: Tell me about your past shows in Vail.
RK: We played a lot at Garton's and then when it was 8150. It's the only venue we ever played that actually rocked. We even had to tie everything down.
VD: The glow-stick phenomenon has really hit a nerve with your band, can you tell me about this?
RK: I don't like them at all. I think they're dangerous as can be and that's just when they're out in the crowd. And then when they start throwing them at the stage it takes away from us being able to concentrate on the music. We're up there dodging glowsticks and hoping that our equipment doesn't get hit.
VD: What do you say to Grateful Dead cover/tribute band naysayers?
RK: If you're skeptical, come check it out. You'll see that we treat the music with a lot of respect and are serious about what we do.
VD: As a fellow Wildcat, I'd love to know what you think of Arizona making it to the Sweet 16 as 12 seed.
RK: Go Cats, Bear Down! They had no business being there but it's really fantastic. I'm also a big Missouri fan because I grew up there so it's been a great tournament.
Todd Altschuler is a advertising consultant for the Vail Daily and an avid Deadhead.