Donna Jean God Chaux Band & Dark Star Orchestra at Penn’s Peak

On the bill for Thanksgiving eve was Donna Jean God Chaux band w/ Jeff Matson, opening for Dark Star Orchestra.. Donna Jean God Chaux band consists of; Donna Jean- Vocals; Jeff Matson- Vocals & Lead Guitar; David MacKay- Bass Guitar & Vocals; Joe Chirco- Drums; and Devin Greenwood- Keys & Vocals.

The night was torn open with “New Speedway Boogie,” an old Grateful Dead classic. Rob Koritz, (Dark Star Orchestra- percussion) joined Donna and band on stage for the rest of the show after the first song.

Donna was able to flex the golden pipes during the next song “From the Heart of Me” and completely serenaded the venue. “Darkness Darkness”  was up next and between Jeff on lead guitar, David on bass, Joe on drums and Devon on Keys they completely lit the stage up. They closed the night with “Mission in the Rain” next followed by Lisa Mackey (Dark Star Orchestra- background vocal) coming out for the last song of the set “Midnight Moonlight.”

This was a power packed performance with a firecracker end. Donna Jean, the band and Jeff totally owned the stage for their five song set list. My only complaint is that they only had time for five songs.

Next up was Dark Star Orchestra. The fog settled and a majority of the audience were transported back to the Winterland Arena in 1977, December 29th. The night was opened with “Jack Straw” followed by “They Love Each Other” and “Mama Tried.” Next was “Looks Like Rain” “Tennessee Jed” and Minglewood Blues.”  John then exited stage left as the band welcomed Jeff Matson in his place for the last two songs of the set. (Jeff will be taking over for John as a temporary replacement until they find a permanent one.)

Jeff sang “Sugaree” absolutely beautifully and showed he is more than capable of filling the gap for Dark Star. “Promised Land”  was the closer for the first set and packed full with energy and jive.

The second set was opened with a personal favorite “Bertha” that flowed right into “Good Lovin.” “Must Have Been The Roes”  was next followed by “Sunrise.” During Sunrise, Lisa Mackey let loose and completely blew me away with her vocals. “Playin in the Band” followed which flowed right into “China Cat Sunflower,”  “ I Know You Rider,” “China Doll,” “Not Fade Away” (during this song the crowd went absolutely wild singing along) and somehow ending up back at “Playin in the Band.”

For the encore DSO came out blazing with “Terrapin Station” and “Johnny B. Goode.” During “Johnny B. Goode” Rob Barraco was the soul of the song completely tearing it up on the keys. The band had time for one last song and after wishing everyone happy holidays they closed the venue with “Brothers and Sisters.”

Signing Out: Marcus Shellenberger



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