The Slowdown - Omaha, NE (August 18)

Omahahahahaha!  We always have such a good time when we see Yonder in Omaha, but we had only ever seen them play at the Sokol Hall (despite the opinions of many, I like the Sokol).  We weren't very excited when the show was announced and they were playing some weird outdoor venue, but we got very excited when the venue change was announced, and the show was moved to The Slowdown.

This was our fourth day of driving all day and dancing all night, and we were tired.  The I-29 detour threw us off a bit, but we managed to find our way from Kansas City.  We made it just in time.  As we pulled into town, ominous clouds were filling the sky.  We checked into our hotel and only minutes after turning on the local news, we heard the hail they were warning us about.  The storm didn't last long, but it definitely left its mark.  All the cars in the lot had a little bit of damage, but Josh and Anitra's rental got a nice big crack.  Bummer, but what can you do?

We headed to The Slowdown after the first storm, but the weather wasn't getting much better.  Some of us hung out inside the bar playing Guess Who?, while the rest of us waited outside watching the rain.  It was a pretty cool storm.  But I think the coolest thing about this day was that two of my best friends, Sabrina and Jenni came out for the sold out show (and it was Jenni's first Yonder show!).  

We got in, found our spots, and I took Jenni to meet all of our awesome Kinfolk friends.  I love it when worlds collide.  It was a fun pre-show hangout, and before we knew it, it was show time.  

The boys came out and after a little joking about the weather, got right on it with "Paul and Silas".  I wandered around the venue, including up in the balcony as they set a nice groove with John Hartford's "Goodle Days".  I really enjoy looking down and seeing everyone dancing in the front rows... but I love being one of those people even more, so I headed back down to the floor just in time for Ben to tell us to never read Phantasy Tour if you're in a band, then rock out some Danny Barnes with "Going Where They Do Not Know My Name".  I love Danny Barnes, and I love this cover.  Not to mention that Dave totally shredded it on this one.  And speaking of Dave, "It Takes a Lot to Laugh It Takes a Train to Cry" was next.  This song has such a good groove.  "I wanna be your lover baby, I don't wanna be your boss!"  I love it.

"One More" was next, and the first original song of the evening.  And they nailed it.  I am really digging this song right now.  Next, Adam thanked us for coming out despite the weather, and asked Ben if he was having a "Funtime".  Another Danny Barnes song?  Yes, please.  Then it was Ben's turn to talk about the weather, saying he had never seen anything like what he experienced that day, and that the locals just shrugged it off.  I guess it's just not that scary to a lot of us midwesterners.  After all, if you're in the midwest during a tornado or thunderstorm warning, you will know the locals because we're outside watching the storm, not hiding from it in the basement.  As Ben sang "Casualty", and I boogied with Jenni and Sabrina and all of my Kinfolk friends, I completely forgot how exhausted I was from the last few days, and felt so happy that I could share what I love so much with people who are so important to me.  The joy kept on flowing as they picked their way into Burle's "Winds of Wyoming".  I have grown to really love this song. Dave was meant to sing it, and the back and forth between Jeff, Adam, and Dave is just incredible.  

A smokin' hot "Mental Breakdown" was next, and after dedicating the next chunk of music to a little band named Phish, we got "Cuckoo's Nest", "Elzic's Farewell", and "Jesus on the Mainline" to end the first set.  I mean, come on.  This was great.  

The setbreak was a little long, especially to Jenni who's face was just priceless when I told her they would play for almost another couple hours when they came back out.  No matter how comfortable your shoes are, it's hard to escape the sore feet that come with a great show.  But, she was having a great time, checking out what it was all about.  Finally, Yonder came back out, and "Irondale" was our set two opener, going right into "Left Me in a Hole".  I like how this song is such a sing-a-long, yet it's so wordy.  I loved looking out and seeing so many people singing their hearts out to this one.  "Raleigh and Spencer" started with a blast, and the immediate reaction from the crowd was just intense.  People love this song, and it showed.  I really love the bass in this song.  Good stuff.  They slowed it down with a sensitive Ben song, "Someday's Reunion", before immediately cranking it back up with "You're No Good".  I think they have been having a lot of fun with this song in the past couple years, and it really shows when Dave just goes nuts and takes the banjo to all kinds of fun places.  

Jeff introduced "Just Like Old Times" as being written by one of his favorite songwriters, Todd Snider.  This is a good song and it's obvious that Jeff loves it because it's one they have been playing quite often.  Jeff spoke about Red Rocks and the end of their summer tour a little before kicking off the next song, and for a moment I got a little sad, being reminded that we only had one more show before a break of almost two months before our next Kinfolk reunion.  But the sadness only lasted a moment before they started "Traffic Jam".  Everything was going to be ok. Really ok, because "Traffic Jam" was sandwiched around "Althea".  That was awesome, and they seem to know when we need a breather, because they slowed it down again with "Natchez Whistle".  But then right back into a fast one, "Up on the Hill Where They do the Boogie".  This very well could have been the end of the show... but it wasn't.  "You folks got more in ya?"  Jeff asked, "Cause we got more in us."  And after a little pause, we got a nice little treat with "Naughty Sweetie".  I don't even know the last time I heard this.  This song has one of my favorite lines, "The blues that make me stop, pop, and shiver, the blues that make me wanna go and end it in the river...". So great.  Then some weirdness happened before "I am the Slime".  But what else would you expect?  A little distortion mando brought us to the final song of the set, "Illinois Rain".  Good job; we were all thoroughly satisfied with this night of music and dancing and fun.

The boys came out for the encore and as the lights dimmed and the distortion rang, we heard Jeff's voice, "Look mommy, there's an airplane in the sky" as they started "Goodbye Blue Sky".  I love how they do this cover, it's so beautiful and creepy.  It also makes a good encore, but with another song after it.  A fast bluegrass song is always the best way to finish the night, and the band must have felt the same way.  "I don't care, what you say, I'm gonna drink my corn liquor anyway!"  Jeff screamed.  And after Dave's request for "One corn liquor, please", they kicked off the last song of the night, "Let Me Fall".  One of my all-time favorites. Thank you Yonder and Kinfolk for another great show.

Written by Dorothy St.Claire

Yonder Mountain String Band
8/18/11 The Slowdown, Omaha, NE

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