This was our second Thursday night show in the past week. We had seen Yonder the previous Wednesday in Indianapolis and the night after in Urbana (which is always a great show, being kind of like a hometown show for Dave, and now Allie). We ended up missing out on the amazing Madison show the previous Saturday, and were so bummed so we made the five hour drive to Kentucky; because who can ever get enough Yonder?!
Not sure what to expect about the venue, we made our way to the Kentucky Theatre. This was not the normal venue for Yonder in Lexington. Dorothy said that their usual venue called Buster’s had just recently closed and The Kentucky Theatre was chosen as a backup. Buster’s was more of a dive bar, from what we heard, as this was our first Lexington show.
Walking in to the theatre the vibe was different right away. The Kentucky Theatre is a historical theatre and is usually used for showing movies through the week. We grabbed a drink and were going to make our way down to our usual rail spot. We walked in to the main room, which was very pretty, but we saw a room full of chairs and most people were sitting. This was definitely a little different than the usual crowd and it was a huge change from any show we had ever been to. We talked to Dorothy and luckily she said we could still stand down in front of the stage, as there was a small pit area. We also learned that there was an 11:30 pm curfew, another thing we were not used to. But Horse Feathers, who had been opening for them this tour, was not playing so it meant we still got a full show.
When Yonder came out on the stage, there was maybe a handful of us standing in front of the stage, while most everyone else was in their seats. Ben started by saying welcome “And it’s nice to see some familiar faces, we appreciate everyone coming out.” It was nice that there were a few other Kinfolk there, especially since it was a sparse crowd. We learned that Adam had the flu. He just looked like he didn’t feel good and was sitting down to start the night; he was such a trooper! But that also meant no Adam songs for the night.
They started off by playing a classic Colorado number “Criminal”, and then went into “Naughty Sweetie.” To me it felt like there were a couple parts where they normally would have jammed a little harder, but the unusual crowd seemed to be holding them back a bit. There was definitely still some good jamming in there, but maybe we were just used to a bit more. Next it was Jake’s turn to sing “Nothin' But A Breeze". I really like Jake singing this cover. The energy in the room was getting better and they seemed to be feeling it. Jake got in to a nice mandolin solo, and really captured the crowd. By this time it seemed like more people started to make their way down to the floor, and turning around looking at the crowd most all of them were at least on their feet. Maybe part of the reason for the late crowd could have been that there was no opening band, and that some may not have known that Yonder started at 8 pm instead of the usual 9 pm start.
Then it was Dave’s turn to bust out “High on a Hilltop” which I personally love. Next, Ben sang us the always great “Funtime.” Everyone around us was dancing by this point and really getting in to the music, which reflected on the band as they were busting out the jams on this tune. It started turning into the more usual rowdy Yonder crowd that we are used to. Then it was “Must of Had Your Reasons”, which is always a great one to hear, followed by Dave singing “Don’t You Lean on Me.” Next we got to hear Allie’s amazing voice in one of my new favorite covers, “Jolene.” She had the audience completely captivated, all eyes were on her, and for good reason. I had never seen Allie live until our first new Yonder show over their two night run in Chicago last November, and I fell in love with her right away. Not only does she have such a strong and amazing voice, but she completely shreds the fiddle, which she did with “Jolene.” Then Ben took us into “Mothers Only Son,” which is a great jamming tune. We got to hear some great solos from everyone and the crowd absolutely loved it! Then they finished off the first set with Jake singing “Lonesome Road Blues,” and just like that it was set break.
Waiting for Yonder to come back for set 2, the atmosphere was completely different than when we were waiting for the show to start. The whole place was full of so much energy. We of course new what we were in for, that’s why we drove five hours for the show. But I think a lot of the people that had been sitting waiting for the band to start had a completely different view of Yonder after the first set, which is pretty exciting. We will never forget our first Yonder show over 10 years ago - one time is all it takes and you're hooked!
They came back out for the second set with Allie shredding on the fiddle for “White Freightliner Blues.” I love this song anyway, but to get to hear Allie throw down is always an amazing thing. Then they jammed into “Kentucky Mandolin”, which of course you have to play in Kentucky, after all it is the Bluegrass State. This was one of the highlights of my night, as I always love to hear some serious shredding. The best part was when everyone else stopped playing and let Jake just throw down a killer solo. I really like Jake, and as Ben has said he is “An absolute force on the mandolin”. I think he is getting so much more comfortable, and you can really tell by his jamming. Then Ben lead us in to a classic cover “Suspicious Minds”, which everyone loves to hear. Then they finished out this great jam by going back in to “White Freightliner.” You would have never known it was the same crowd as the beginning of the show, as everyone was dancing their hearts out by this point.
Dave then slowed us all down a bit by singing “Fingerprint,” and we got a nice David J banjo shred. Next Ben sang us "Complicated", one of my favorites. It’s always great when Ben gets the electric bass out and shreds for us. I always hope that it’s coming at some point in the show, and of course Ben didn’t disappoint. Then we got to hear Jake's great voice covering “Walls.” The next song was supposed to be “Damned if the Right One Didn’t Go Wrong", but we had heard several people yelling requests for a lot of the show. Usually I don’t quite get how people can just yell requests at the band; don’t they see the setlist is already made?! But they have been very generous lately in playing requests, in fact they played some of our requests we had made online for this show (thank you guys!!). Ben then said “Sometimes we get requests online or sometimes they come from this girl" (pointing to a girl down in front of him). And she got her request of “River.” This is a song I have only personally heard them play live three times (this being the third), so it was pretty cool. It’s great to have such a personable band, it really means a lot to the fans. Then they finished off the night with a very nice “Traffic Jam” into “Rag Mama”, a song I personally hadn’t heard live for a while. I really like “Rag Mama” it reminds me of a little swing type number and just makes me dance. And Adam even got up out of his chair for a while, which was great to see! Then they finished the second set by going back into “Traffic Jam.” It seemed like this set just flew by, but it’s never long enough for me. They came back out for an encore of “40 Miles From Denver”, which just really seemed fitting for tonight. We are used to hearing them play two encores and it seemed like when “40 Miles” was over, the crowd was dying for more. But I think a lot of this had to do with the 11:30 curfew. And just like that the show was over. I want to say, we gave huge props to Adam for hanging in there the whole show. You could tell he wasn’t at his best by his looks, but not at all by his playing. He still killed it as always!
We stuck around for a bit to get a setlist, like we always try and do, and Dorothy was nice enough to take our picture for set two. Then to our surprise, Jake was just hanging out in the lobby of the theatre after the show. I was able to get him to sign the setlist and get a picture with the new amazing mandolin player, who is such a nice guy! We even headed to after hours with him and some others to check out a local band called The Restless Leg String Band. If you haven’t heard of them, check them out, they were very good! And all of the local people were so nice; it’s great to make new friends. It was a great ending to our night.
This was our fifth time seeing the new lineup, and they are just on fire! You can tell the chemistry is getting so good and they all just seem so happy, which really plays into the show. It was a great ending to another amazing show! Until next time, which never seems to be soon enough!
Written by Anj Way, photos by Dorothy St.Claire