The second night of Yondergrass was scheduled to be an all fan-request set and it got off to a rolling start with a nice "Jesus on the Mainline" with Jeff ranting about tornadoes tearing through St. Louis telling everyone to get down, then rambling on into a solid version of "Polka on the Banjo" back into "Jesus". Great way to get the crowd into the rhythm of what's sure to be an epic new years show.
Coming up next was "New Deal Train" and "Deep Pockets". Jeff tells a story about two fans that came up to him in a restaurant earlier in the day and paid for his lunch. He returns the favor with an always welcomed Dead tune, "Althea"(1st time played), which they proceed to knock out of the park evoking all the emotion of the Dead. The boys proceeded to change up the groove with a jazzy "Gilpin Swing" and kicked into the first verse of Hartford's "Goodle Days" straight into another great Hartford cover of "Up on the Hill Where They do the Boogie". Being a Colorado kid I can't help but stomp around to it! Coming to the end of the set we were all treated to a very psychedelic version of Pink Floyd's "Dogs". As an all request set, there's few songs I or any Yonder fan could have requested to see performed better.
Coming back from set break there is a subtle but noticeable anticipation in the air that something epic is not far away. With no sheriff songs played on the 30th and none first set tonight, I'm feeling lucky! The Yonder boys take the stage with Jeff asking Ben to tell him a story. Ben agrees by saying "just this once." Opening up the set with a "Lord Only Knows">"Bolton Stretch">"On The Run", I think to myself, "Holy shit! We're actually going to get it!". They continue to rip through the saga with "High Cross Junction">"Sometimes I've Won">"Jail Song" into a foot-stomping "Casualty" with Adam in all his flatpicking glory and Dave tearing up the 5-string and the story progresses quite fluently. "Things Your Selling" comes next, a little slower than all previous tracks. Thank god because my legs were already getting tired from bouncing around The Pageant. St. Louis was then treated to "Catch a Criminal">"I'd Like Off">"Looking Back Over My Shoulder" into one of my favorite sheriff songs, "Mother's Only Son". They continue to segway into a "Finally Saw the Light" that evokes thoughts of life's tales that have come and gone back into "Mother's Only Son". Next up comes the "End of The Road", played only once before by YMSB, hopping straight back into the raging bluegrass everyone has become accustomed with for Yonder with "On the Run". Set two is over, legs exhausted from dancing, face hurts from a constant smile for 80 minutes, my god are we lucky to have heard the first complete saga in years.
After a well-deserved second set break I make my way to my spot for the third and final set, not having a clue what to expect after the madness I have just witnessed. They waste no time breaking into an always popular "Peace of Mind" after which Jeff informs the crowd of YMSB's plans to produce a new record in the following year. Next up Adam sings his song "Pockets", Ben sings "Ain't No Way of Knowing" and a nice bluegrassy-version of "Brown Mountain Light" to round out 2010. Jeff and the band make their thank yous for the year and then the new year's countdown begins. The new year is rung in with a solid 5-layer sandwich known as "Keep On Going">"New Horizons">"Dreams">"New Horizons">"Keep on Going". They're on fire and the year is only about 30 minutes old. Ben sings us "Someday's Reunion" and Adam "Left Me in a Hole". Very nice boys. We are again treated to an end of set sandwich with "Angel" into a dark and dirty version of "Follow Me Down to the Riverside" where Jeff likes to play with his hatchet in the tool shed back into "Angel" to round out the last set of the New Year's Celebration. After a short break, the Yonder boys come back out to wow us one more time with Ben opening up with an uplifting "Ooh La La". Adam ends the night with "Another Day" sending the crowd out into the streets of St. Louis with faces full of smiles, and I am so extremely grateful to have had the chance to witness such an amazing night of music.
Written by Matt Mertz
Yonder Mountain String Band
12/31/10 The Pageant, St. Louis, MO