Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Not So Much Dark As Dim

We may argue (good-naturedly, of course) about the BEST EVAR Dark Star. 10/31/70? The nearly hour-long journey to the center of Rotterdam from the Europe ’72 tour? The out-of-nowhere brilliance of 1/10/79? Cleveland ’72? Cleveland ’73?

If we’re honest: the best Dark Star is the one you’re listening to at the moment.

Unless you’re listening to this one: 12/31/81 from the Oakland Auditorium. Now, I’ve not listened to most of the 90’s Dark Stars because my time on this planet is finite, but none of them can possibly be as half-assed as this version. It is the dictionary definition of “ehh, fuck it.”

The rest of the show is worth a listen (and so is the DS: a bad Dark Star is still fucking Dark Star, maaaaaan), all three sets of it.

WARNING: Joan Baez.

BONUS: the recording I’ve linked to is courtesy of FoTotD David Gans, whose wonderful oral history of the band This is All a Dream We Dreamed can be purchased right over there on the sidebar.


  1. Well, I was actually there, and I can confirm that “ehh fuck it” pretty much summed it up.

    In another decade, Phil Lesh said “Dark Star is always playing somewhere, and sometimes we get to hear it.” That is why the one we are listening to is always the best. Well, except for Dec 31 81

    Warning: Joan Baez, very relevant if you don’t know what you are getting into there.

  2. starlight flashes

    March 10, 2016 at 11:39 am

    i’m shur what yer problem iz wit dis dark star, but tanks four pointying it out, as it is purty d@m good!!!

  3. But it still was my only Dark Star. And it immediately followed Morning Dew. Well it did go into Bertha (I was so hoping for St Stephen). Love David. 35 years ago last night. Oh and jerry got married to mountain girl that night at the show

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