The Pageant - St. Louis, MO (December 31) D.S.

New Years Eve! The official Day Last of our Yonder year. The day itself was pretty laid back for me and my friends. There were tornado warnings, but hey, we're from the midwest. Tornado schmornado. At about 4p.m. we got things started and headed down to the Halo Bar.

Photo courtesy of Stephenie Gardner

We were super excited for the early entry because we were hosting a Kinfolk raffle for the fans that got there early and waited in line. We had a box full of merch and a whole lot of winners. Thanks to everyone who participated!

When we got into the Pageant, the air was electric. Everyone was just anticipating what was to come, talking to each other about their requests and what they thought the band would actually play.

It seemed to take hours, but the band finally hit the stage and the show began. They started with "Jesus on the Mainline"... then incredibly, they went into "Polka on the Banjo". Holy cow. It was amazing to hear that song in Lawrence, and now they were doing it again! Needless to say, Max was pretty happy.

They wrapped up "Jesus on the Mainline" after "Polka", then we got "New Deal Train" and "Deep Pockets". After that... "Althea". The crowd went WILD! So many people requested this song, and they did a killer job.

After "Althea" was "Gilpin Swing". So first, we got a Max freak out from "Polka", then a Steve (and nearly everyone else) freak out from "Althea". Now it was Carin's turn. She's been waiting for a "Gilpin Swing" as long as I've known her. Another new cover, "Goodle Days" was next, followed by "Up on the Hill". Then it was my turn to freak out. Adam played those first chords of "Dogs" and I was in pure bliss. I never expected to see them play it, and it was so much more than I ever expected. It's just so heavy and emotionally charged. One of my favorite Yonder moments, ever. End of set 1.

So the first set break went pretty quick. The band came back to the stage, and it was obvious something was up. Todd was standing with a couple other people on the side of the stage, looking out at the crowd. I looked over at Ben, tuning his bass, and he just had a huge smile. I didn't want to get my hopes up, but I felt it coming...

Jeff: "Hey Ben, will you tell us a story?"
Ben: "Only this once."

Jeff spoke the magic words. The crowd went wild. I had talked to someone before the show who knew what was going to be played. She asked me what I wanted to hear, and my reply was "Dogs and the Sherif Saga". "Well, this might be your lucky night." It certainly was. The saga started off with an "On the Run" jam that broke into "Part 1". Now, I have one tiny, miniscule complaint about this. And it's really stupid, but I can't help it. One of the best musical moments at a Yonder show is when "Part 1" goes right into "Bolton Stretch" - without pausing or slowing down - and they slowed it down here. Not a big deal, but I had to mention it.

Besides the sheer elation and excitement of hearing the Sherif Saga in its entirety, we now know the order of the songs in this story:

Everything in this show came together perfectly: amazing song selections, high-energy performance, and the company of so many wonderful people. And it was just Yonder. Pure Yonder. There were no frills or New Years gimmicks. They just came out as they always do - and rocked it.

The second set break was full of laughter and hugs. We were all in disbelief over what we had just heard. The break didn't last long, and the band was back for one last set. What else were they going to do? We didn't even care. This last set was just icing on the cake. Delicious icing. They opened with "Piece of Mind", Jeff finally getting back in the spotlight after a very long "Ben" set. A few songs in, it was finally just about midnight. I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be ringing in the new year than with my favorite band and some of my favorite people. Balloons fell, couples kissed, friends hugged, and we started 2011 with "Keep On Going".

Photo courtesy of nebraskawhit
Photo courtesy of nebraskawhit

The show rounded out with "New Horizons"> "Dreams"> "New Horizons" in the "Keep on Going" sandwich, followed by "Someday's Reunion", "Left Me in a Hole", and a slightly drunken "Angelside". The encore closed out the show with "Ooh La La" and "Another Day".

Photo courtesy of nebraskawhit
Photo courtesy of nebraskawhit
Photo courtesy of nebraskawhit

If anyone ever doubted this band's dedication to their fans, this show would make them believe. There were so many requests posted all over the internet for this show, and the band really listened and put together the perfect show. It felt like a thank you to everyone who follows Yonder all over the country, seeing show after show, year after year. Hands down, this was the best Yonder show I've ever seen.

Written by Dorothy St.Claire

Yonder Mountain String Band
12/31/10 The Pageant, St. Louis, MO

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