Freebird Live - Jacksonville Beach, FL (February 19)

written by Eric Martin

After a long drive, we arrived in sunny Florida on a warm Sunday afternoon. Michael Walker and I quickly threw off our Georgia winter clothes and jackets and explored this cool little beach town. Soon enough though we would make our way to Michael’s favorite spot; standing in line.  It was there I saw something I thought I would never see. Adam Aijala. In shorts! And a BLUE t-shirt! As if that wasn’t luck enough, while standing in line with my camera, I met someone who offered me a photo pass for the night! Already such privileges in the state of Florida.

We made our way inside and posted up on the rail. I was excited to see the venue had a cool little balcony that encircled the room. I was planning on moving around and getting some different shots, but this would be one of those nights that the guys kept me rooted to my spot all night. Unfortunately, the Stringdusters weren’t the opening act tonight. Instead, it was a local band, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, or as I called them, Grandpa’s Pearl Snaps; based on my observation that every member was wearing a similar button up plaid shirt. These guys were talented but not my cup of cough medicine, and I was ready for some Yonder!

It being Sunday, the show started off with a gospel number. “Train Bound for Gloryland” would lead us into a rockin' “Little Rabbit”. They introduced the next song as a Todd Snider tune. Since they played “Just Like Old Times” last Sunday, I was hoping for a “Sideshow Blues”, but I knew better when I saw Adam grabbing his harmonica. I decided that since I skipped out on this song last week I would give it another chance tonight. Still not a huge fan of this one, and that’s as negative as I am willing to get about Yonder.

Jeff introduced the newest dad in the band, and Ben would take over with “Troubled Mind” which put me right back in the show. Even though I love the “Troubled mind”> ”20 Eyes” sandwich, I was hoping for a nice, un-sandwiched "Troubled Mind" tonight, which is just what I got. “Almost as fast as makin' a baby folks!”

It was Adam’s turn next, to the delight of his parents who were looking down on him from the balcony. And to my delight, it was “Far From You”. Good ol' sappy Adam A. Jeff would pick things up with “Out of the Blue”, then it was Dave’s turn to sing an old number. I like the sound of that. I was hoping for an “8 Cylinders” this tour, and was very excited to get it tonight. Up next was one of my favorite Danny Barnes covers, “Going Where They Do Not Know My Name” followed by “Sangaree” to the delight of the crowd, seeing as the song says “Jacksonville”. Adam introduced the next song as, “JACKSONVILLE!!” The lyrics went as follows; “Jacksonville f*cking rocks. F*cking rocks. F*cking rocks... Sorry mom” Adam would apologize, remembering his parents were right above him. “20 Eyes” was next, and I was excited that I got a full “Troubled Mind” but still got to rock out to “20 Eyes”. Again, such privileges in Florida. 

Only a couple more before the half. What could they be? “Mothers Only Son” got the place rocking, and was immediately followed by that familiar bass riff, and “2 Hits and the Joint Turned Brown” to end the set on a fun, hazy note. “We’re gonna go watch Eastbound and Down. We’ll be right back.”

Soon after, the second set would start off with “Angel”. Every time I hear this song I wonder how it ends up in the “less often” category of the Yonderpoll year after year. I always enjoy this one. After "Angel", “Shake Me Up” got the energy even bigger for set 2. “Damned if the Right One” would keep that energy going. Always fun to hear this one. Adam would take over next, and Ben would dedicate this song to Adam’s parents, saying “If they hadn’t cut off that 6th finger we would be really rich.”

What an intro to “Honestly”. Again I was pleased to get this one on its own, and really happy when “Rag Doll” would start up afterwards. “To See You Coming Round the Bend” would keep everyone’s feet stompin'. Slowly the guys plucked and picked until it came together to be “Morning Dew”! Yes! This got the audience swaying and singing along. This was my first “Morning Dew” and man oh man was I excited to see this. I leaned as far forward on the rail as I could, a huge grin permanently spread across my face. The song picked up and got everyone jigging again, and then right into “Cuckoo’s Nest”. What a second set so far! Everyone’s playing was on point, the boys were all having a blast up there, and their energy and excitement could be felt radiating through the entire venue. Anytime I think a show couldn’t get better, it gets better. I should know by now….

One way it can always get better is a Dave song. This time an awesome “Winds of Wyoming” would lead us into the Del song “Loneliness and Desperation”. Del yeah! Adam kicked off “Country Boy Rock n Roll” like he always does; fast and awesome. The last chunk of music would be a good one; a “New Horizons”> ”Crow Black Chicken” sandwich. Two or three years ago “Crow” was my choice for “less often”. Lately though, and tonight especially, I really enjoyed this song. At this point I'm not sure if I got tired of the song, or if I never really liked it, but I loved it tonight!

Another quick encore break was followed by Split Lip Rayfiled's “Crazy” and Adam singing about missing his wife in “Another Day”. Another great show and the halfway point of the tour in the books. Hard to believe Cabin Fever Tour is halfway through, but there are still plenty more good times to come.

Written by Eric Martin

Yonder Mountain String Band
2/19/12 Freebird Cafe, Jacksonville, FL

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