Tennessee Theater - Knoxville, TN (February 25, 2012)

written by Dorothy St.Claire

My first trip to North Carolina was followed by my first trip to Tennessee, with a show at the Tennessee Theater in Knoxville.  This show was going to be so different from Yonder's usual show.  We had heard the day before that Adam would be flying home for a family emergency and that Andy Falco would be filling in for this one show.  Larry Keel would be Adam's replacement the following night in Charlottesville, giving fans two terrific alternatives.  

The Infamous Stringdusters were once again opening for Yonder, and once again played a great show.  However, the Tennessee Theater is all seating and almost all of the few people that were there this early were sitting in their seats.  I was in the pit for the beginning of the Dusters' set and felt so self-conscious standing in front of a crowd of people sitting down.  I found Bear and Brian at the side of the pit, telling them about my insecurities while shooting the band, "Why do you think we're dancing over here?"  I only stayed in the pit long enough to take some photos before I headed to my seat.  Michael, Alison, Eric, and I all had row A seats, putting us in the front row behind the pit, which ended up being a great spot with plenty of room to dance.  

"Bet you guys didn't expect to see me over here."  Dave said as Yonder hit the stage and he got situated in what was usually Adam's spot.  "Bet you guys didn't expect to see me over here."  Andy Falco echoed as he took his place in Dave's usual spot.  They opened with their first gospel song of the night, "Jesus On the Mainline", immediately showing us that Andy was more than qualified for the job.  

"Raise your hand if you had a baby a few weeks ago." Ben raised his hand and told us about his 3 week and 1 day old baby boy before singing the great "Ain't No Way of Knowing".  "Thank you very much, on behalf of myself and my diaper that needs changing."

Dave gave us all some fatherly advice, "Always dab, never swipe" before singing "You're No Good".  Dave definitely got along on this one.  It was so cool to watch him next to Jeff, like a mirror of Fayetteville when Jeff was in Ben's spot.  From a photographer's standpoint, it's awesome to have a different lineup to shoot. "Kentucky Mandolin" came next.  Not one of my favorites, but they played the hell out of it.  Maybe Adam normally stands in the "sweet spot" of the stage, because Dave was channeling something new tonight.  He has been playing exceptionally well lately, but he did some things that I just haven't heard from him in a while.  It was pretty sweet.  Travis Book came out mid-song and took turns playing Ben's bass, back and forth until it all culminated in the four-armed bass monster, with both of them playing the same bass at the same time, driving the crowd crazy. This was a pretty cool "Kentucky Mandolin", that's for sure.  

"Sideshow Blues" came next and got the whole crowd bouncing around.  Then Jeff held up our friends' daughter's sign asking for a couple songs.  "We already played that one," pointing to "Jesus on the Mainline", "how bout that one?"  "River" was the next of Brylee's requests, and Ben sang a beautiful version for her.  Next was something I just couldn't believe.  Ben and Dave sang "Long Gone".  Holy smokes. I've been waiting so very, very long for this song, and I finally got it.  And it was better than I ever could have dreamed.  I only wish that Colin had been there to hear it with me.  I think they should really just throw this one back into the rotation.
Photo courtesy of Stephen Jaquish
Photo courtesy of Stephen Jaquish

"We'd like to play another gospel song, if that'd be alright."  Well, duh.  Jeff introduced "This Train is Bound for Glory", which was followed by Willie Nelson's "Good Hearted Woman"; two fantastic songs to dance to.  And once again, Dave was doing some awesome stuff during "Good Hearted Woman".  Actually, I was blown away by Dave during this song.  We sent a bunch of good energy Adam's way, then Jeremy Garrett entered the stage for the final two songs of the set, "Cuckoo's Nest" and "2 Hits and the Joint Turned Brown".  You really can't go wrong with adding a little fiddle, and these last two songs were right on.

"Please take your seats for the beginning of the second set," Jeff said in his best deep announcer voice.  Thank God no one was still sitting down.  Dave and Ben gave us some great banter as the band got tuned and ready to play.  "Kaufmann, can you get me down to the depot on time?  I gotta sugar-candy my rig."  "You got a little sweetheart you waitin' on down by the depot, David?"  "A little rock candy, a little gingham..."  "I don't even know what gingham is..."  Well, alright.  Ben definitely got us to the depot on time with "Going Where They Do Not Know My Name".  I love this song and thought it was the perfect way to kick off the second set.  Chris Pandolfi came out next and took his place next to Dave, keeping the banjos contained next to the fire extinguishers as they played another Danny Barnes tune, "Death Trip".  Falco's solo during this song was super trippy and added a whole new sound to the song, then Pandolfi came in and added his unique banjo sound.  It was pretty cool.  You know what else was cool?  Hanging out and dancing by Ted for a couple songs.  This is what Alison and I did for "Death Trip" and "Rag Mama", giving us a rarely seen view of a Yonder show.  It's a cool view, and it's really fun to watch Ted and Hines work, but our home is on the rail.  So even though there was no rail on this night, we couldn't stay in the back for long and made our way back to our spots before Dave started singing "Loved You Enough", which "Features the feeling of heartbreak, alienation, post-coital idiosyncratic blues..."  And here's something else that was very cool about this show: sharing our dancing space with Peggy, Kristen, and Aaron.  Getting to boogie with them just made my week.

An extreme "After Midnight" fell upon us next, which after much hardcore jamming turned into a stellar "Shenandoah Valley Breakdown".  "Country Boy Rock and Roll" came next, which always makes me dance extra hard, with tonight being no exception.  Before the next song, Ben asked our permission to play a "proper" bluegrass tune, in the key of B, like they teach you in the schools and on the streets.  I will never object to some bluegrass, and it was a good choice with "Sharecropper's Son".  Andy Hall, or the "last of the Dusters", joined the band on stage as we all kicked ass for Adam during the last chunk of music, starting with "Up On the Hill Where They Do the Boogie".  We all missed Adam dearly, but we also know that some things are more important than shows, and he needed to be with his family for a few days.  "Up On the Hill" turned into a dark and dobro-heavy "King Ebenezer", featuring the creepy green light on Jeff.  Finally, one of the most kick ass versions of "Raleigh and Spencer" brought up the rear, with Andy Hall adding just what this song has always needed.  The Tennessee Theater might have been full of seats, but there were no butts in them during this chunk of music.  

The encore brought everyone back to the stage, where the eight piece bluegrass monster would play a funky "Come Together" and the best "Shady Grove" I've seen.  Hell, it was so good, even the musicians had to lay down for a second.  This was such a good show and a fun way to end a three night run.  

What an incredible three nights with so many of my favorite people.  You Kinfolk are all so amazing and every time I see Yonder I am overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of our community of people.  Through births and deaths, a lot has happened on this Cabin Fever Tour, but as long as we are all here for each other, we know everything will be alright.  

Written by Dorothy St.Claire

Yonder Mountain String Band
2/25/12 Tennessee Theater, Knoxville, TN

Click below to preview tracks from this show


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please share your thoughts on this post!