Terrapin Crossroads - San Rafael, CA (August 3, 2012)

written by Linda St.Claire

I arrived at Terrapin Crossroads early to meet my friend Mimi and taste the food offered by Phil Lesh's wife, Jill Lesh. She plans and directs an amazing organic restaurant with great organic wine and deserts like a warm brownie with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. Yum. It's obvious that I am a foodie, of sorts, and was looking forward to eating at Terrapin Crossroads for as long as I was looking forward to seeing Yonder play again. I am lucky enough to have a pro ticket buyer in the family and wouldn't have gone to the show otherwise. Thanks Dot!

This would be my sixth Yonder show and I was hoping to hear some of the songs I'd heard before. After saying hello and visiting with a great bunch of Kinfolk, Mimi and I headed in for the show. Mimi has the advantage of being very tall so we hung towards the back of the venue for the first set. Still, we were only about 20 feet from the stage. I love a small intimate venue. Phil has done an amazing job of creating the best acoustics and we were in for a treat.

Yonder started out with "Blue Collar Blues". Fun fun fun! I actually know this song! The audience of course started dancing and didn't stop. Dave created the beat with his banjo and I sang along. I love my job! Yeah! "Pretty Daughter" followed, as did the hypnotic strumming of the instruments. The audience bobbed to the rhythm. The band rolled right into "Left Me in A Hole" and we sang along to the chorus, acapella - well at least I did. It's easy to close my eyes and flow with this song. "Easy As Pie" stepped up the beat in the room; the dancing frenetic, as Dave and Jeff traded licks. The temperature in the room started to rise. "Don't Worry Happy Birthday" gave everyone a chance to catch their breath and cool down as Dave told his story. And then Jeff picked up the pace again and the band jumped into "Spanish Harlem Incident", a Bob Dylan song. And what would the night be without a tune from the Sheriff's Saga, "Mother's Only Son". Ben was in top form.

"One More" was up next and Jeff enjoyed entertaining us with his WaWa pedal. I started to feel that energy, the energy one feels when the band is in sync. Not one flaw, a perfect jam, controlled chaos. I think this may be one of my favorite tunes. "Little Lover", "Straight Line", "Cuckoo's Nest" (the way you boogie- another of my faves), "What the Night Brings", wow! The band was totally warmed up now - no, actually they were hot! Set one was over. Everyone took a break in anticipation for what was to come.
A short break and the boys were back on stage. They really are one of the hardest working bands in America, aren't they? The audience, including me, were very excited as Jeff introduced Phil Lesh as he joined the band. "Let's see what we can make happen in the sandbox tonight folks" Jeff said. "Brown Eyed Women" was their first foray into a Dead song. I felt so at home. What a great tune. Hoots and Whoops called back from the crowd. Adam sang as if he owned the song. "I've Been All Around This World" included some great Adam licks too. That's an old tune dating from the 1930's and the remaining origins are a mystery. If you are interested in more check out this site: http://www.whitegum.com/introjs.htm?/songfile/I2VEBEEN.HTM 

"Midwest Gospel Radio", a beautiful instrumental, allowed for some deep breathing, swaying, and sharing smiles with our neighbors. I was welcomed to the rail by some very cool folks, Bear, Brian, Nicole, Greg, and Andrew were there, and we had a great time. "Midwest Gospel Radio" included more tasty licks by Adam. The band flowed into "Rag Doll", another of my favorite tunes. There's a sort of "growl" to Jeff's voice that proves successful. The next Dead song they played was "Eyes of the World". Wow, do I have to write it again - another one of my favorites. My review is totally biased. It's a beautiful song. Everyone sang along. Hardcore old Deadheads and Kinfolk, side by side tonight. What fun. The band gathered around Dave while he picked. We could see a real camaraderie amongst them. They flowed right into a 10 second "Shakedown Street" teaser. But everyone would have to wait until Saturday to hear that one. Jamming - that's what was happening, and Ben continued the Saga with "Criminal". He and Phil singing and playing their basses, they were working hard. Dave focused, plucked, and showed us all what talent he has. Jeff hit the WaWa pedal, and Adam took his turn picking and slightly grinnin'. They gave us a real treat when they played "Fire On The Mountain". The audience was alive and the room was charged! They went back into "Criminal" again and then ended their session with Phil. Ever the gracious host, he hugged all the guys and stepped off the stage. It was obvious the band had a great time. "Holy crap, thanks Phil" was Jeff's reply.

They continued on their own, confident and energized. "Boatman", "Naughty Sweetie", and "No Expectations" followed. Yonder Mountain was not a letdown. We were all carried along on the wave and I could see the kinfolk were very content. The last 35 minutes was a continuation of the first two hours. The band played "Only a Northern Song", continued the Saga with "Casualty", and ended our night with "Crazy", "Southern Flavor", and some kick ass pickin' by Jeff, Dave and Adam. Thanks boys! See ya next time.

Written by Linda St.Claire

Yonder Mountain String Band
8/3/12 Terrapin Crossroads, San Rafael, CA

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