Canopy Club - Urbana, IL (February 20)

Day last. Bittersweet. We were all so excited for these two shows, in particular this show at the Canopy Club. We got there super early to wait in line. It was a lot of fun, though. When the soundcheck started, Jeff came outside with his mandolin to see how far his wireless would work. Then a few of us went in the little hallway to listen to the sound check... A new song! Exciting!

The doors opened a little after 8pm, but those of us with will call had to wait until doors to get our tickets. Kind of a crummy way to do things, since those with real tickets that stood behind us in line got in much quicker. We were still perfectly fine and got our spots on the rail, but it would be nice if will call would open a little early.

Even more awesome people came to this show, and we spent our pre-show time catching up and laughing it up with a lot of dear friends. We also talked a lot with one of the security guards, who was pretty darn cool. I love it when members of security at a venue don't judge us before they meet us. Sometimes music fans can really be treated like garbage by those working to "keep us safe", but those that treat us like normal, respectful people really make a difference for everyone's show experience.

Suddenly, the lights went low, and that familiar roar grew out of the crowd. The band was coming on stage. No matter how many times I see this band, I get butterflies in my stomach. I can feel the excitement through my whole body, and I just can't keep the smile off my face.

Free to Run opener. Perfect. Into Years with Rose. Yes. Into Over the Waterfall. Hell yes. The crowd was wild right from the start. Maybe I'm biased, but the midwest rules. We always get great shows and we always bring the heat. We got Eli Renfro in this set, which was a pleasant surprise, since they played it only about a week before. After a fun Sharecropper's Son, we had another surprise with Sunday Afternoon - which we had never heard live before. That was really cool. A couple more songs in and we got yet ANOTHER surprise with a cover of Todd Snider's Just Like the Old Times. They finished off the first set with a Rambler> Illinois Rain> Rambler sandwich. This was really special for us. Jeff gave a toast to two crews of people. Their crew and our crew. Thanks, Jeff. We all work hard and travel all over the country to see Yonder, and it feels good to know that they appreciate it and don't mind seeing us every night. Oh, and that Illinois Rain? HOT!

The second set started strong with Bolton Stretch, followed by the crowd favorite, Boatman. Then it was time for Josh and Pearhead to freak out - I Am the Slime. Pearhead has taken to calling Josh "Slimer" since he always seems to get this song. Finally Pearhead got it again, too. Next was a new Adam song, Far From You. We had heard them playing around with this song during soundcheck, Adam pushing them to play it a little faster. It was a great, heart-felt Adam song. I'm excited to hear this song again. The rest of this set was non-stop awesomeness. Must've Had Your Reasons is always a favorite of mine, as is Southern Flavor, Jesus on the Mainline, Oklahoma, and Elzic's Farewell. And they threw a Lost John in there. Lost John! I haven't heard this song since, I dunno, New Years run '04?

All too soon, it was encore time. How sad. These last shows go by so fast. They Love Each Other was the first encore song. It was very fitting. Lots of hugging and singing along. Don't get me wrong, I love this cover, but I really love it when they end with a bang - some fast-ass bluegrass. And end with a bang, they did. Going Where They Do Not Know My Name. I love love love this song. It was the perfect end to a great night, and a great tour. This never gets old. We'll see you all in the Spring!

Written by Dorothy St.Claire

Yonder Mountain String Band
2/20/11 Canopy Club, Urbana, IL

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