The Venue - Gainesville, FL (February 2)

Groundhog Day. We managed to wake up early enough for the free breakfast in our Orlando hotel before we packed up the convertible to head out for Gainesville. It was a beautiful cloudy day, perfect for a little drive.

Once in Gainesville, we wandered around a little bit, got a bite to eat, then it was time to head to the show. The Venue looked like an abandoned building, and we wondered what kind of place it was inside.

Around 8pm they started letting us in, but there was some kind of mix-up and the pre-sale will call list was not there. Lori had her receipt, so she was ok, but Steve and Alison would have had to buy new tickets if Colin and I hadn't wound up with extras. What is so hard about selling tickets and putting ticket holders' names on a list, MusicToday? Not good. But, we all got in and got our rail spots, and it was all good.

The band came on around 9:20 and opened with a "Deep Elem Blues" jam that went into "Steep Grade Sharp Curves". That was pretty cool, and the audience LOVED it. Despite the incredibly run-down appearance of this place, the sound was AMAZING. Good job, Hines. Once again, the boys were in a pretty good mood, and couldn't help but talk about the weather back home (-40 wind chill) and how happy they were to be in Florida instead.

This 1st set was full of goodies. "Bolton Stretch", "Irondale", "Nothin But Nothin", "Ain't No Way of Knowing", "Free to Run", "Troubled Mind"> "20 Eyes"> "Troubled Mind", "Half Moon Rising", "Howard Hughes Blues", and a killer "Honestly"> "Casualty"> "Honestly" were my favorites of the set. We all thought "Casualty" went really well in the "Honestly" sandwich.

There was one thing that was really REALLY crummy about this show. People could smoke in the venue. It was so disgusting. There were even two dudes "working", sitting on the sides of the stage, that probably lit a cigarette every song or two. Then there were the people behind us that were chain smoking. I was coughing throughout the entire show, and I seriously felt as if I would get sick sometimes. I mean COME ON!

On a happier note, we met some really nice folks. I wore my Des Moines: Hell Yes shirt, which prompted another girl from Des Moines (Natalie) to come up and introduce herself. Turns out we went to the same high school, graduating a year apart. Small world. Then there were a nice couple behind us, Ricky and Jasmine, who were seeing their first Yonder show. Such nice folks, and they had a great time.

The 2nd set started with ANOTHER "Deep Elem Blues" jam into "Ramblin'"> "Ripcord Blues"> "Ramblin'". LOVE me some "Ripcord Blues". Dave is the man, playing with a broken hand. Hardcore.

This set was smokin' hot. The rest of my favorites from this set were "Polly Put the Kettle On", "Loneliness and Desperation" (Jeff forgot the words), "Illinois Rain", "Spanish Harlem Incident", "I Had Someone Else", "Raleigh & Spencer"> "Riverside"> "Raleigh & Spencer" (nice!), and in the encore... "GROUNDHOG"!!! I had "Groundhog" in my head all day, and by the time the encore came around, I had let go of the thought that they might play it. Talking to Ben Hines after the show, he said he pushed them to do it. Thanks again, Ben!

Written by Dorothy St.Claire

Yonder Mountain String Band
2/2/11 The Venue, Gainesville, FL

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