written by Kayla Clancy
We arrived at the House of Blues fresh off the road from Harvest and an awesome show in Milwaukee. Awaiting the doors to open in the lobby proved to be its own source of entertainment. Funky art decked the walls and friends began to arrive. We received celebratory headbands for Lori's birthday and 100th show. Then as we entered, more familiar faces appeared.
Soon, after a set from Brown Bird, Yonder took the stage.
The show kicked off with "Trainbound For Gloryland" and "Sideshow Blues". Then "Fingerprint" got the Dave train in motion; you gotta love that fast pickin'. Next the boys pulled out "Rag Doll". As the song played out, a solid jam took off. I paid attention to the sound of each individual instrument, everyone contributing their own seamless piece.
Up next was "Spanish Harlem Incident", which got everyone dancing. This was the first show I got to watch from the rail, and subsequently one of the most memorable. I had never felt so immersed in a live performance before. Needless to say, I was hooked. As I peered down the rail, everyone's smiling faces showed I was not alone.
After the song, Ben talked about him and Adam's excursion to the Chicago Music Exchange, where they got to play some sweet instruments, some belonging to Gene Simmons or Jimi Hendrix. If you haven't already, the video is worth checking out.
Starting up next was "New Deal Train", followed by a captivating "Jail Song". Jeff dedicated "At the End of the Day" to Trey Anastasio, who was playing down the street, and also to his mom, who was at the Yonder show. Jeff looked up to her on the balcony as he played.
Up next was "Holdin'", which seemed to get everyone smiling. The mood of the crowd continued to build during "Only A Northern Song". Everyone's soloing was so captivating. No time was wasted as "No Expectations" started. It was a strong song to end the first set.
During the set break I wandered through the House of Blues and noticed that quite the Yonder party had erupted, which I guess is not too surprising. Still wearing the Happy Birthday headband, many people approached me and wished me a good one. I found it funny and passed the messages to Lori as I found my way back up front.
As the next set began with "What the Night Brings", everyone was getting down even more than before. "Polka on a Banjo" kept us moving around. The second set was appearing to be filled with even more energy than before. Then came "Pockets", which is always a fun one. At this point my happiness only continued to rise. Jeff introduced "Pretty Daughter". His singing seemed to pull out something from deep within him. "Damned if the Right One Didn't Go Wrong" and "8 Cylinders" began to calm things down a little, slowly telling a story with quiet words and serenading banjo riffs. The pace quickly picked back up with "Too Late Now". The vibe was fun and Dave's playing continued to stand out strong. Adam's playing was also incredible. The string of every chord he played carried through the room. Jeff's comment proved the crowds excitement obvious. "If you're feeling it, let it out!" he said. Everyone cheered.
Ben sang "Lost John", which was followed by "Not Far Away". Before "Rambler's Anthem" began, a single balloon floated above the crowd. Jeff offered a remark. "We're not quite raging that hard, but just enough... The Flaming Lips were here, but they're not anymore." I laughed and looked to Jordan, who said it's part show, part improv comedy act. After "Rambler's", the boys mentioned that they did a little recording for their new album during their stay in Chicago. Before the next song, Jeff told us to "get down and boogie, funky children." We all laughed, and silently agreed.
"Althea" came next. It was my first time hearing them play it, so I especially enjoyed it. Good vibes filled the crowd, and as Jeff said "the love we bring", he couldn't have been more right. As everyone sang along, I closed my eyes and felt every sound. "On the Run"> "Death Trip"> "On the Run" finished the set.
The boys came back on stage for their encore and wished Lori a happy birthday and 100th show. The encore began with "Steep Grade Sharp Curves" and concluded with "Let Me Fall". Everyone up front was groovin' all night. I'd see Rick and Melissa on one side, the birthday crew down the other, and some mayhem erupting behind us as Max, Bub, Jordan, and Theo danced around. As Dorothy snapped photos on the balcony, obnoxious gestures were made, surely capturing some shining moments. It had been an amazing night filled with great music and good people, and day two was still to come!
Written by Kayla Clancy, Photos by Dorothy St.Claire
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