Midtown Ballroom - Bend, OR (April 13) A.W.

Ok so day three, here it is.  Got to Bend the night before, so the day was well spent.  Bend is like Portland, sort-of, but in a small town feel.  It grew on me this visit around.  So, knowing that these boys were super hot and ready for their southbound journey, I knew we were in for a treat.  Small show, small venue, Wednesday night.  I was rooting for a trip to follow those boys down to the “Riverside”, and knew it may be a possibility since they hadn't given us one yet, and hadn't dished it out it since Texas; but being a Wednesday night I knew that called for some deep deepness, but I was optimistic.

Starting with a great opener of “Up On the Hill Where They Do the Boogie”, the crowd was caught right off the bat.  “Redbird” was next; oh how I love this tune.  I love how Ben's vocals just get stretched out of him on this one and it’s got such a nice hop to it.  “Night Out” was followed by “Dreams”, a lovely tune with room to jam.  “Red Rocking Chair” was next, which has a special place in my heart.  “Don't You Lean On Me” was followed by “Whitehouse Blues”.  “Come Together” is a really different cover I've heard them do before; I love how Jeff adds in the dark with his whipsy cut-like sounds he throws in; Dave had some good banjo action and I loved the "thunder" of Ben's beat and Adams smooth fingers.  The mandolin on this one just gives it a little distance.  We got another “Steep Grade Sharp Curves” at this one, but I didn't mind.  “Boots” is a fun one, and with “My Gal” to follow is even more fun.  “Girlfriend Is Better” is another cover I've heard them do a few times, but Jeff's mandolin on this one took it deep.  “What The Night Brings” closed the first set.

Last chance to dance.  I was ready.  After being in the back middle, then balcony, I had to be in front for rest of this.  Damn OLCC, I hate how they just split the floor like they do, you can never be as close as you want to be; but I found a spot and worked it. “Looking Back over My Shoulder” is a great opener for one hyped crowd. One my favorite songs Ben sings.  Its got great banjo chords and Adam warmed up right off the bat.  Jeff sang us “Crow Black Chicken”, an old twangy number that kept the crowd in tune.  “Rain Still Falls” was to follow, how appropriate.  “Little Lover” I just love; I just love when Dave sings.  “Paul & Silas” is a fun one with loads of mandolin rips.  Jeff sang us a Grateful Dead number “Althea”; I just love how so many Dead covers are really starting to creep in each of their shows.  Got some of that feedback action with another “Sidewalk Stars”.  “Ain't Been Myself in Years”, a tune Jeff sang for us, was followed by a new one.  “Far From You” is a slower new one, and features Adam on the harmonica. Very Cool.  “Ain't No Way of Knowing” brought the wind blowing to “Dawn's Early Light”.   This is another one of those deep bluegrass numbers that everyone can trot along with. This song has always taken me for a ride, for more times than I can remember, but this time the horse took us out into deep waters and we all just sailed right out into sea.  Jeff was throwing in all kinds of elements I hadn't heard before and every member reached out to each and every one of us and saturated us with rip after rip of what you can never seem to get enough of.  They pushed it hard and “2 Hits and the Joint Turned Brown” was the perfect next song. We hadn't gotten a little reggae/skat number yet, "too small to smoke and too big to eat."

We got a damn fine “Raleigh And Spencer”, a fast tune everyone digs.  I've seen this pushed into “Riverside”, so I was amped for the possibility.  But that great number took us to the encore.  We got a good mini run of “Troubled Mind” into “20 Eyes” and back into “Troubled Mind” with some super crazy fast picking.  Man those boys had a smoking little finish to a super hot show. How sad it was to be going back up north and not down to Eureka for the next show. My final words...String Summit baby; dance your own dance.

Written by Audrey Whitlatch

Yonder Mountain String Band
4/13/11 Midtown Ballroom, Bend, OR

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