"We are so excited to be here with you guys the next five days!" No truer words could have been spoken in the Boulder Theater this night, and with Andy Hall joining the band for the first night, we were ready to get this week started. The reunions began in line, making the wait much more fun than standing in line for three hours should be. We eventually got inside, found our spots, checked out the awesome stage setup, and met up with more Kinfolk as we continued to wait for the music to start.
The show started with "Dawn's Early Light", and I immediately felt the added depth that Andy Hall brought to the song. The dobro was a perfect addition for this song, and as it would turn out, for the whole show. The next thing I noticed was the amazing light setup. The stage was made to feel like a living room, with couches and many, many lamps everywhere. And once the music started and Ted got those lamps going, it was quite a sight. I watched the first bit of the song from the balcony, determined to get some shots up there before I cemented myself to my rail spot, but I couldn't stay for long. It looked amazing, but I needed to be where I belong, and I made it to my spot between Colin and Michael Walker before "Dawn's" progressed into a fun "Cuckoo's Nest".
Ben stepped up to the mic and said, "I have moved to California and I flew home today... and that means, back to Colorado." He then sang "40 Miles From Denver" to a very happy crowd who sang along to every word. Afterwards, Adam said to Ben, "I've said this before, that song has way too many chords, and it's just been verified by Andy Hall, as well." Then it was time for Adam to sing "Spanish Harlem Incident". This show was off to a very good start. "Down there on the banjo, you know him, you love him, you probably owe him money, Mr. David Harold Emeritus Thelonius Johnston!" Jeff introduced Dave, and Dave sang us "Little Lover", informing us that it was a song about a fictional tramp. Then he went on to say, "Oh boy, there's a treat on the next song, it's just like sugar candy!" Andy Hall sang this sweet piece of candy, or as most people know it, "Deep Elem Blues".
"You guys are doing a good job already. God, I love Colorado, I love home. It's f*cking great." These were Jeff's words before starting an always energetic "What the Night Brings". We could all feel the energy from each other, from the band, and from being together in colorful Colorado. And it felt good. The next song mixed with all of that energy and brought the return of the "Rain Still Falls" scream. That was fun. Next came the first of the three fan-voted songs for the night, "Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo", which was dedicated to the folks in the balcony. If the crowd wasn't already ecstatic about this show, they got there with this song. "High Cross Junction" was next and was another song that perfectly integrated Andy's dobro with Yonder's sound. There were some jaw-dropping moments during that one for sure. The first set finished with a hypnotic "Mother's Only Son", and we were left with the set break to marinate on the first of many fun sets for the week.
Andy Hall was back on stage as the band tuned up for the second set and Jeff said a few words, "Holy sh*t, nine more to go." That was a good feeling; having already had so much fun, yet knowing that there were still nine more sets of music for the week. The second set started with one of my favorites, "Looking Back Over My Shoulder", then Andy led the band in a dobro tune, "Fireball". We all had fun getting down to this one. The crowd got extra excited and rowdy as the band played their classic, "Ramblin' in the Rambler". And after the "Jagermeister" shot, Adam introduced the song that would be the meat in the "Rambler" sandwich, "Here's a song that was elected by the popular vote, as opposed to the electoral college..." We were treated with the second of the fan-voted songs, "In the Woods With the Munchies". What a silly song. Ben Hines also had fun with it by playing with Adam's voice a couple times. I guess it's just fun to see Adam break his "ice-man" image... with a goofy song about weed, nonetheless. I could feel the build-up in the energy as they brought us back into "Rambler", and by the time it hit, the place was ready to explode. And this was only the beginning of the set.
It was already time for the third fan-voted song, "Mason's Children". Holy smokes. People freaked out for this one. Michael Walker had to give Chelsea his spot before she lost complete control. Then it was time for another fast Yonder classic, "Bolton Stretch". Dang it, I love this song. It just never gets old. But honestly, none of it gets old. Just better and better. I love hearing my favorite solos over and over again, and this song is full of them. Ben thanked us and said, "So far, I think our first date's going very well. Would you like some popcorn?" Ah, the old popcorn joke. Lucky for us, we spend a lot of time with Junkyard, so we've heard this doozy a few times. After joking around a bit, they played one of my favorite jug band tunes, "Yes She Do (No She Don't)". I really love this song, and we only get it one or two times a year. This was another one that was particularly great with Andy Hall. Dave and Adam sang "Don't You Lean on Me" and then had some great back and forth: "That's David Johnston down there, sporting a nice, nice flannel." "Thanks baby, I'll tell you what man, I'll be your gumdrop, alright?" Alright. Next was "Hit Parade of Love", and I couldn't believe my ears. We never get this one, and Dave picked the hell out of it. What a treat. Ben made sure we were all having a good time so far, "Man, it is just getting started, isn't it?" And they played "Northern Song". This was yet another one where Andy sounded just phenomenal. I'm always a little weary about guests, just because sometimes they break up the flow that the band has together, but Andy fit in so well, it was as if he'd been playing with them forever. But finally, it was time to bring the show to its end, and they did it with another big one, "Piece of Mind". They really weren't pacing themselves, that was for sure. This was a super funky, jammed-out "Piece of Mind", and it was a perfect end to the show.
As they came out for the encore, there was one extra person joining them on stage. It was Rushad Eggleston on cello, and they all jammed on "Kentucky Mandolin". Let me tell you, this made me excited for more Rushad. This was a fantastic show and I felt that Yonder started their New Years run strong. We knew we were in for some fun and different stuff the next few days, and we were ready for it.
"We'll see you all tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day." Awesome.
Written by Dorothy St.Claire
|Yonder Mountain String Band|
12/27/11 Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO
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