Boulder Theater - Boulder, CO (December 30)

The weather was absolutely gorgeous for our forth night of line duty, and the line was much bigger than the previous nights.  A huge problem we were having with the line all week was that people were clustering around the doors, not getting in a line, and by the time doors opened, it was madness.  Luckily, tonight we saw Ted drive by, and as he passed us an orange Boulder Theater cone came dislodged from under his van - which we promptly took and used as a line guide.  It was perfect.

The fourth night was Kinfolk night.  As we entered the Boulder Theater, we saw the huge screen hanging down on the stage, showing a slideshow of Kinfolk photos through the years.  There were so many amazing photos, with crowd reactions to match.  We are a big family, and it was clear as we all shared these memories with each other.  I think that this should be a part of every Kinfolk Celebration.  Then I saw that Brian Langeliers was walking through the crowd handing out fans and Kinfolk shirts.  Seriously... fans.  That was so cool.  I've been bringing my own fan to shows for years, so it was neat to see a bunch of Kinfolk using fans on this night. 

"Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the Boulder Theater!  Home of your Yonder Mountain String Band!"  Alan Roach, the announcer for the Colorado Avalanche hockey team announced each band member (including Darol Anger on fiddle) as they ran onto the stage, just as if they were joining their teammates on the field.  It was so cool, and as they were all gearing up and starting to strum, we heard, "Colorado Kinfolk, are you ready?!  Yonder Mountain String Band!" and they blasted right into "Oklahoma".  Holy sh*t, that's how you start a show.  Having the band announced like that got all of us riled up and I could feel the adrenaline start to shoot through my body.  Thank goodness they started with "Oklahoma", because we needed that energy release.  The crowd wend wild for this song, especially as Darol stepped in and added his frenzied fiddle to the mix.  I love Darol and I was so glad he was the guest for the final two nights.

They were determined to make us dance, because the next song was "Damned if the Right One Didn't Go Wrong".  How can you not love one of the best guitar riffs ever played?  The song went to a whole new level tonight, with Dave playing outside of the box and Darol mimicking Adam's guitar.  Then it was time for a Dave Johnston instrumental, and we got "Strophe".  "Some traditional bluegrass for ya, folks!" was how Jeff introduced the next song, and I knew that it was going to be something very NOT bluegrass, because that's just how it goes when Jeff tells you something like that.  It was the Misfits classic, "Skulls".  How awesome is that?!  I've only gotten that song once before, so I was so happy to get it.  Also, when listening to it a couple years ago, Dale said it sounded like Adam was singing "I want your scones", so that's what I think of any time I hear it.  And I just love hearing Adam and Dave sing "Hack the heads off little girls and put em on my wall."

Ben asked how many of us came from out of state, thanked us for traveling, then asked how many people were from Colorado.  Sarah, one of my best friends from Des Moines recently moved to Denver, so she gave a huge yell, "What?  Nobody's actually FROM Colorado."  Then Ben introduced Kurt Cobain, which was actually Jeff wearing a gross blonde wig.  Adam laughed and told him he found that wig in the alley that morning - a great funny moment before Dave sang "Winds of Wyoming".  God, I love this song and all the back and forth between Jeff and Adam before Dave just takes over.  It gets me every time.  "No Expectations" came next, and it felt like forever since the last time we got this song in the middle of a set. This is another one with great back and forth soloing between the guys, and adding Darol to the mix gave it so much more.

The next song was the only song that has been named by Kinfolk, "Rambler's Anthem".  I don't even know when we last heard this song, it seems like it had been forever.  I love it when all four guys sing together, which only happens in a few songs, this being one of them.  "A Father's Arms" was next, and instead of Adam's guitar intro, Darol took it on the fiddle.  I like this song more every time we hear it, and I really liked Darol's addition to the song.  Afterwards, Jeff said, "So I'm proud to say that I've known David Johnston for almost 17 years of my life.  He never ever ceases to amaze me, his grasp on the english language is... amazing?... that's not good enough."  He introduced a song by the Kentucky Colonels that Dave and Jeff used to play with The Bluegrassholes, "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down", in which Dave always has something new to say.  Tonight, Dave's three syllable phrases started off as "corn syrup" and "rice krispies", classic Dave.  Then Ben talked a little about New Years, "You know, this year I've decided to change it up...  This year I'm gonna think about the stuff I'm thankful to not have had to deal with over the course of the last year.  I'm going reverso."  I like that idea.  A heavy "Death Trip" was next, and we thought that that would be the end of the set.  We surely didn't expect them to bust out "On the Run" for the actual end of the set. Hell yeah.  "On the Run" is just about as good as it gets, and it's one of those songs where I get completely engrossed in the bass.  I love it.

The set break came, the projection screen came back down, and this time it was old photos of the band.  That was way cool.  They looked like babies in some of those old live photos.  There were also baby pictures of Ben and pictures of Dave with is baby.  I thought it was such a great idea to share our Kinfolk photos at the beginning of the show, and then for the band to show some of their old photos during the set break, it was very heartwarming.  I think that sharing all of these memories with each other brought us all closer.  We really do have the best fan community out there.

The screen rose, and the boys came out for the second set, starting with "Freeborn Man".  When it was time for solos, Jeff yelled, "David Johnston!" before Adam's solo, prompting Adam to say, "I'm not David Johnston" as he ripped through his solo.  Darol's fiddle was wailing through the whole first part of the song, making me think that it would be great to get the usual meat in the "Freeborn Man" sandwich, "Wheel Hoss".  Well, they turned it around on us and gave us "Blue Collar Blues" instead.  I like this song, but maybe not inside "Freeborn Man".  The sandwich finished out strong before  sliding into a lovely "Ooh La La".  Nice!  Then one of my favorites, "You're No Good", with Dave telling us at the end of the song, "It's not true".  

It was Adam's turn, singing "Near Me", one of my first favorite Yonder songs. "Illinois Rain" was next, and I was surprised that blonde Eddie Munster (long story) didn't freak out since he was screaming for the song the first three nights.  My favorite part of this song is the end of the solos when Adam and Dave sync up and play together.  Ah, so good.  Jeff talked about all of the wonderful photos, including the band's old photos, which included photos showing the day their bus was pulled over and searched.  "I would like to dedicate this song very sincerely to all the 12 police officers that were on our bus in Lincoln County, Ohio.  ... I don't usually like to speak for other people, but from the bottom of our hearts... kiss my balls."  Ben then said in a low and mean voice, "Step out of the bus please, Blues Traveler." Then in a high voice, "We're Yonder Mountain."  "Aww, f*ck!"  And "Town" was next.  That was a pretty good introduction.  I don't know why, but I didn't like this song much when I first heard it.  Now it's a different story.  I love the flow and bounce of the lyrics.

Ben thanked everyone for sending in so many requests, "It was almost like we didn't even have to work to come up with the set list."  Jeff and Dave sang "This Train Is Bound For Glory", then Ben and Adam sang "Redbird", which Jeff dedicated to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  "Well, that was fun."  Ben said with a huge smile on his face, "So how's everyone doing?  I haven't asked that yet."  He looked out at the crowd for a moment as he took a couple deep breaths, "I even tattooed it on my arm, but I still forget all the time."  It was Jeff's turn to sing anyway, giving Ben some time to breathe, singing "Steep Grade Sharp Curves". Things slowed down a bit after that with a beautiful "Morning Dew" that really took its time building up, with Darol's fiddle putting so much emotion into the song. When it finally blew up, it was explosive, getting the whole audience into the air. "Funtime" and "Raleigh and Spencer" finished off the second set, and I was definitely feeling the effects of the boogie in my entire body.  It doesn't hurt as long as you keep dancing, but once the band left the stage, my feet and knees started screaming.  Oh well, it's all totally worth it.

As the band came back out to the stage, Jeff gave props to Darol as the whole audience chanted his name.  Then they played "They Love Each Other", making Gregg and Nilima two happy lovebirds.  "This is the worst balloon drop I've ever seen." Ben said before singing an extremely energetic "Sharecropper's Son" to send us all out.  This was an amazing show, and probably my favorite of the run, so far.  The Kinfolk family vibe was there in full force and it felt so good to be a part of it with all of our dear friends.  

Written by Dorothy St.Claire
Yonder Mountain String Band
12/30/11 Boulder Theatre, Boulder, CO

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