Montbleu Theater - Stateline, NV (April 20)

We had been waiting for this part of spring tour since last year's spring tour. We have some great Kinfolk friends in the Tahoe area, and we were even able to make it out west a couple days early.  This part of the country is so beautiful, and on our drive from Truckee to Stateline, we made a photo op pit stop.

At first, we were excited about the shows being in a casino resort, since that means no driving between hotels and venues, and there's usually food available all night. But, I would trade all of that to be in a smoke-free zone.  I know people like to gamble and smoke, but come on... we were just there for some music.

We got to the box office area early enough that the craziness had not yet begun, but after an hour or so, it was clear that the will-call situation was not going to be easy or quick.  Most of my friends had tickets, but those who had MusicToday will-call tickets had to wait basically until doors were open to get their tickets.  Luckily, we were all at the front of the line, because many other people missed part of the show because the will-call process took so long.  Very unorganized, Montbleu and MusicToday.

Once inside the venue, we saw that it was very casino-y.  There were different levels with tables and chairs and more security than I have seen at a show in a long time.  We got our spots and waited patiently (fully decked out in our new Ben shirts) for the show to start.

Finally coming to the stage sometime around 9:20, they opened with "What the Night Brings".  Not one of my favorite newer songs, but it gets stuck in my head so easily that I like it more and more.  At least when we hear it live it's not just the mandolin lick running over and over in my head.  They continued the set with the classics "40 Miles From Denver" and "Kentucky Mandolin"; sped things up with "Loved You Enough"; and got us into a groove with "Pockets".

Being 4/20, we were waiting for the obligatory marijuana songs, and we got the first one next with "Granny Won't You Smoke Some".  I like this song a lot.  It's just fast and fun.  Being in the front row, we didn't see much of security, but I heard that this is when a lot of people started getting booted for smoking.  Go figure.  One of the biggest problems with this venue was that at some point early in the show, security stopped letting people on the floor.  Even those who were already on the floor and left to get drinks or to use the restroom (which was not even located in the venue - you had to go all the way back to the casino and past a bunch of slot machines to get there) were not allowed back.  Jen was one of these casualties.  Even though all her people were down front and she'd been there since doors opened, they wouldn't let her back.  Then she got shoved around enough that she just decided to leave the show.  One of the most dedicated Kinfolk LEFT THE SHOW.  That should be enough to tell you all that Yonder should never play here again and should go back to the Crystal Bay Club on their next trip to Tahoe.  But enough about that.

The first set was fun - we got "They Love Each Other" and a fun "My Gal" - finishing off with "Cuckoo's Nest"> "Up on the Hill Where They do the Boogie".  But then the second set... that was a horse of a different color.  I don't think there was one low moment in this set.  Some of my favorites?  "Ragdoll", "Winds of Wyoming", "Going Up", "Country Boy Rock and Roll"... and then, a sweet, sweet sandwich: "King Ebeneezer"> "Snow on the Pines"> "Legalize It"> "Snow on the Pines".  And throw a "Free to Run" in there for good measure to close the set.

This was such a fun show.  Even though there were major flaws with the venue, Yonder still put on a fantastic show.  Unfortunately, casinos bring out the worst in people.  By the end of that night, we were ready to get outta there and back to California.

Written by Dorothy St.Claire

Yonder Mountain String Band
4/20/11 Montbleu Theatre, Stateline, NV

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