Jefferson Theatre - Charlottesville, VA (February 26, 2012)

written by Kelli Scott

AAHHH~ Charlottesville! Where to begin.... We all got the word that Adam needed to rush home for a family emergency while waiting in line for the St. Baldrick's fundraiser Friday afternoon in Asheville. We were all bummed, but then it was quickly said that Larry Keel may be the fill-in for the Charlottesville show. Living in Southwest Virginia, we know Larry Keel is a local legend, mad man, and flat pickin' extraordinaire. Jamie and I were super excited to hear that Larry may be the guy for Charlottesville.

Sunday, Feb. 26th, what an amazingly beautiful day to take a drive from the Blue Ridge up the Shenandoah Valley to Charlottesville. The sky was bright with sunshine and a wonderful dreamy color of blue. It was approaching 50 degrees, which was a tropical treat for the last weekend of February. We took our time driving into town, and met up with Derek and Monica at the hotel. From there, the 4 of us headed downtown. As soon as we parked and walked onto the mall, we spotted Kurt, Justin, Jim, and Ann. It was great to see the familiar faces, and get the afternoon underway. After chatting for a while, we got a bit to eat at Miller's. I was told this was Dave Mathew's joint. Great food! I got the fried green tomato salad with goat cheese and cucumber salsa. OH MY! It was so good! We also saw more Kinfolk coming in and out of Miller's, filling up before the big show.

Now it was time to meet Jim and Ann, who were holding our spot in line. Ann and I had enjoyed the previous Thursday and Friday in Asheville at the Orange Peel with some of the most incredible people in the whole world.... so she and I were still beaming and full of anticipation for our last night of Cabin Fever Tour 2012. The doors opened, and we waited some more... I really like the Jefferson Theater. It has a spot for everyone. There are 4 levels, with the top 2 allowing for theater seating. You have a good view from almost everywhere, and there is no metal rail... the floor goes all the way up to the stage. :)  I found my spot down front with Kurt, Justin, Jim, Ann, and John, while Jamie, Derek, and Monica found their spot by the soundboard to get the audio gear set up.

The show began and as expected, Larry Keel came out to fill in for Adam. That was not the only change on stage. Dave was in Adam's spot! (Larry in Dave's spot.) I love Dave, but am rarely on his side, so it was a TREAT to enjoy his rippin' banjo rolls right in front of me. For me, nobody drives the train home like Davey J! They started the show off with a fast and happy "Redbird". It got the crowd moving, but you could tell right off the bat that this crowd was a little different from the outrageous dance party had in Charlottesville the previous year. I don't know if it was just the Sunday thing, but the crowd had a mellow vibe (or my side was mellow... Kurt may have a different story). It was nice. After "Redbird", Jeff welcomed the crowd and with a huge smile said, "Welcome to your Church on Sunday, and we've got lots of bluegrass planned for tonight.". This was followed up by "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down" and "Maid of the Canyon". It was getting a little hot and sweaty by now, and it was time to welcome Larry and let him sing a good ole' Del tune, "Mountain Song", one of my favorites. I mean, how could you not fall in love with, "Way up on the mountain, In the sweet southern air, Is where I seem to lose loads I have to bear. Silence of the snowfall and the peacefulness around, I feel so blessed with all that I have found." Then Jeff ripped into a hot ass "Red Rocking Chair"! Oh, the bluegrass fun. :)  Ben cooled it down with a very deep "New Deal Train", and then Jeff mentioned the wonders of the crazy Danny Barnes, which led into "Pretty Daughter". I really like this song and they have been playing it a lot lately.... fine with me! Again, Larry took the reins and gave us his classic, "Groundhog". You know, it's never a good thing to have a member of Yonder missing, but Larry is family and fit in so well... The band and Larry gave many shout-outs to Adam and his family. Jeff said that everyone should dance a little harder to send Adam all their love and energy, and then proceeded to do the running man for everyone. :)  I had to think of Dorothy!

The 1st set continued on with a fun, upbeat, raging "Red Haired Boy", and then everyone got a good laugh from Dave and Green Day's "Dominated Love Slave". He said, "he was far from God Damn alright!", and proceeded to play and sing the hell out of it. The always fun Hartford's "Howard Hughes Blues" followed, and then Larry led the band into "Soul Shakedown Party", which was just that --- a great little soul shakedown dance party. The set ended with a hard driving "Oklahoma". I didn't want it to end... it was a great way to keep the crowd wanting more, and kept the energy up for the 2nd set!

The 2nd set opened up with "Boatman", which got the crowd back into the show, and was followed up by a funky "Criminal". Then Dave said, "let's play 'Little Lover'" (another favorite), after which Larry was let loose on "Whirly Pig". It was rooted, dirty, spacey, and I LOVED IT! The entire show had spacey elements... maybe more than an average Yonder show, but "Whirly Pig" took the cake. It was GREAT! Although, Ann did lean over to me once to say... I feel like I'm back at a Dead show. :)  Larry definitely made us "all fall down" with the "Whirly Pig".

Dave pulled out "Winds on Fire", which fit really well because Keller & the Keels cut this one on their album, "Thief". Larry gave a very powerful solo. Jeff then gave a big shout out to the Infamous Stringdusters, and everyone went crazy! I mean, we were in Charlottesville. He then sent out a "Steep Grades, Sharp Curves" in their honor. I really missed the Dusters in C'ville. It was great to see them at the Orange Peel. I really got used to them being there, and when they had to sit the C'ville show out, I felt like I was missing something. I can't wait for the Festy this October.

By now, the crowd and 2nd set were heating up! They chopped and picked around to tease us with what became "Traffic Jam"> "June Apple"> "Traffic Jam". OH YEAH, BABY! It was so good! Larry got our attention with, "Hey, Ya'll Watch'tis", and his always fun story about the "Culpepper Woodchuck". The 2nd set ended with a big "Years With Rose"> "Riverside"> "Whiskey Before Breakfast" jam. The "Years With Rose" was soft and sweet, followed up by a dark "Riverside", and then a fun, light "Whiskey". I love how Hines does the sound effects with Jeff's voice on "Riverside"... and Ted's lights! Those 'back of the house' boys are the sh*t! They have elevated Yonder, over the years, to a full show experience. Thanks boys for all you do!

The encore opened with "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke". I'm not sure why, but I can really relate to this song. :)  And they closed the Jefferson with Willie's "Bloody Mary Morning", which made me want the show to just start all over again... I could do 4 sets, no problem. :)  All and all, this was more than a solid show, and a great way to end the weekend. In the honor of "the show must go on", Yonder ordered up the best Virginia could offer, with the out of this world, flatpickin' experience of Larry Keel.

If it's gonna happen... it will happen on Cabin Fever Tour! Don't worry boys, that's life. Keep bringing it, and know the Southeast loves you!!! Here's to all the 2012 CFT Sold Out shows.

Written by Kelli Scott

Yonder Mountain String Band
2/26/12 Jefferson Theatre, Charlottesville, VA

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