written by Tom Clinge
After witnessing the barnburner Winter Tour opener in Knoxville just weeks before with my Dad, I was beyond stoked to return to The Orange Peel - where I lost all of my hair last year. This would be yet another two night run at the Peel, which would be guaranteed to be a run for the books. But once again, I had the issue of having no ride to the show. Thankfully, I had a free ticket from street teaming for the show, which I was able to use as incentive for someone to use their car to drive from Boone. An hour before leaving Boone, a small crew of Boonies including Samantha, John John, and Trey were convinced that they should make the trip to Asheville. Then we were off!
After making a quick pit stop to the liquor store, after all what Yonder show would be complete without some whiskey, we witnessed a gorgeous sunset over the mountains right before the snowstorm would hit. An hour and a half of driving went by and we were finally in Asheville. We pulled into our destination, the Downtown Inn, around 5 o’clock. Now for people that don’t know what the Downtown Inn is, it is a run-down hotel that is pretty much a free for all, so a majority of the Kinfolk stay there so we didn’t have to go anywhere to pregame, just up and down stairs to each other’s rooms.
Before I could put all of my beer in my fridge, I must’ve received ten texts from Andrew, who was wandering downtown, so I felt that I should finally give the die-hard Pretty Lights fan a call to come over. Shortly after, Andrew’s goofy self was knocking at my door, which started the pre-party. After a few shots of Maker’s Mark and a beer, Andrew got a text from D’eric saying he was pulling up to the hotel. So naturally Andrew and I walked upstairs to D’eric’s room where we continued to kill my bottle of Maker’s Mark with him and his friends. Then before we knew it, it was time to start heading to the show.
Now the only things I can remember about the walk to the Orange Peel was Andrew blabbering about some Bassnectar show while D’eric and I proceeded to push each other into anything that was in our path. Why, I don’t know, but it happened. A few bruises later, we turned the corner revealing the Orange Peel. We all got our tickets from will call just in time to catch the end of Lake Street Dive, or LSD if you will.
It was while Andrew and I were standing in the back near the merch table when we ran into Dorothy. After talking for a while, she pointed out where everyone was at, even though we could have assumed everyone would be in the same spot as usual, so we went to the bar to get our drinks. After running in circles wondering what to do with my coat, I finally made my way to the front where I met Michael and Kelli at the rail. Naturally I asked Michael if I could put my coat in front of him to which he sarcastically gave me some lip for asking such a request along with asking where my car is, knowing that it broke down on me only two weeks before, the day of the tour opener in Knoxville. Shortly after talking to Michael, I saw Colin, who I hadn’t seen since Canopy Club tour closer last year in March. I was nothing but smiles after seeing so many Kinfolk in such little time, when my grin grew bigger when I saw Steve and Christy in their spot in front of Adam after failing to meet up with them at the Downtown Inn. Knowing that there were more Kinfolk around, I turned to see Annie and Jim next to Kurt who was wearing a Philadelphia Flyers hockey jersey. I laughed my way over to Kurt, ready to taunt him as I was wearing my Chicago Blackhawks jersey (the better team). As Kurt turned, we both laughed as we greeted each other, right before getting into an intense hockey talk. After what only seemed a minute or two, the house music stopped and the band took the stage.
After a short intro, Jeff reminded the crowd that tonight would be Jason Carter’s last night on Winter Tour. How could I have forgotten?? “Oh lord, tonight is going to be a rager,” I thought. Just then Jeff started a fast paced mandolin shred with Davey J jumping in shortly after. What was this, I wondered. Over a minute of jamming went on then Jeff shouted, “I’ve been run down!” as Jason Carter’s violin screamed. It took me a few moments then suddenly it popped in my head. "Whipping Post"! As an opener?! Alright! I’ll take it! This Orange Peel show in the middle of winter was sure to be a heater!
The fast jam turned slow after ten minutes of nonstop madness which segued perfectly into "Looking Back Over My Shoulder". It was then when I asked Andrew if he brought his glow sticks to the show; somehow he managed to forget them. After being mildly disappointed in Andrew, Ben picked me up with his quirky lyrics to this chapter of the sheriff saga. The song ended and Jeff said “how good it is to be back in Asheville for a proper two night stand.” I couldn’t agree more.
The next song started with me spilling beer everywhere, mocking Andrew and his “air hump dance” as Davey J’s Stealth banjo was heating up the place. I stood there trying to think of what song was playing so I could write it down on my personal setlist. Thankfully heady D’eric was nearby to inform me that it was "You're No Good". Adam started explaining after the song that this was Jason Carter’s 9th show on this tour with the band and how the band keeps throwing songs at him that he’s never practiced before to play on stage, a precursor of what was about to come.
As the next song started, I was happy that I didn’t need to ask anyone what this song was called. Adam kicked off "A Father’s Arms", one of my favorite tunes. As quick as it started it was over and the band began tuning for the next song, “a number about love and loss.” The good ol’ "Romance Blues" to put the swing in your thing, if you will. Now I knew that Jason Carter was good, but man did he tear up this waltz with the fiddle. There was the same thought in everyone’s head, “We should keep Jason Carter.” I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea at all.
Jeff talked about how Asheville is a great town to be in for a couple of days, being surrounded by music and all types of great food, then started "On the Run". I was sure that they were going to jam into something here, perhaps "High Cross Junction", but nope; it was a scorching eleven minute "OTR" that held everyone on their toes. The reprise at the end of the jam included a nasty battle between Davey J and Jason Carter, one that simply just needs to be listened to in order to fully understand the madness that was brewing. Ben came up to the mic after the song ended to say “hopefully we just started the process that leaves us all bruised, battered, and bare-ass by the end of the night; which incidentally is our favorite way to order hash browns at any Waffle House. Time for a banjo number, I think.” “You never know what I am going to say,” Dave replied in his deep tone. The night was just unfolding!
The next tune was the instrumental "Crooked Hitch". The song ended and I wondered when would be a good time to get a beer, everything they are playing are songs I don’t want to miss. Thirsty, I convinced myself to run to the bar, hoping that I wouldn’t miss anything too good. Just then, Jeff said “not only is he one hell of a fiddler, this man has got one heck of a voice on him. We would like to ask Jason Carter to sing us one.” Go figure, once I decide to run for a beer; thankfully there was no line and I got back to my spot right as "Lonesome On’ry and Mean" started. Jeff was not lying; Jason Carter has one heck of a voice, indeed. Yonder should definitely steal him.
There was no intro for what was about to come next. It grew dark and very quiet for a moment just as Jeff started picking his Nugget. Less than a minute of this soft picking and I was sure it was my favorite instrumental, "Elzic’s Farewell". Oh this will be a good one with Jason Carter, I thought. The whole band was spot on for this eight minute jam session that was growing into one epic set closer. The music slowed right before Dave would pick up the next song.
It was "All The Time". I know I’ve been speaking very highly of Jason Carter, but he fit in perfectly with Adam’s harmonies (a must listen). This song always puts a huge smile on my face, and looking around me I could see all the other Kinfolk with the same expression I as had. Everybody in the room loved this tune as the floorboards of the Orange Peel started to shake, a reminder of last year’s "Boatman". Yonder killed the end of the tune, having the entire venue hyped up just as Jeff said they would be back after a short break.
Jeff welcomed us back and explained how tonight and the next day’s shows were the 14th and 15th times Yonder played the Orange Peel, and then he dedicated the rest of the show to a fan’s mom who was going through some serious problems, telling the band and the Orange Peel “Don’t hold back!” And then started "Angel". I was digging this as a set opener, especially now that it was Dave’s turn to sing a number. When the fast jam started, the lights turned red behind the band, making the guys look like eerie shadows.
As the jam wound down, you could hear a slight tease coming from Jeff’s mandolin. With all of the heightened energy from the crowd, Jeff shredded the beginning intro to "What the Night Brings". I vaguely remember Kelli grabbing me with an expression on her face expecting me to dance harder than I was. Naturally, I did, especially during this song, and proceeded to spill all over the dance floor. As the song neared an end, I started making my way back to get another refill. Then Adam slowed the tempo down as he began his tune "Honestly". I was thankful I left when I did so I could get back in time for the second half of the song without having to worry about missing it.
"Catch a Criminal" and the instrumental "Strophe" followed next in the set. Then it was Yonder’s rendition of The Beatle’s "Hey Bulldog". I was happy to finally see some new songs that I’ve never seen live before, and this was only the first night at the Peel!
After their Beatles cover, Jeff started chopping at his mandolin, making sharp quick pitches up and down the scale then began shouting “Well!!!” And well, what happened next was a sure thing, "If There’s Still Ramblin’ in the Rambler Let Him Go"! We all waited to finish pounding our drinks at the queue of the “He’ll meet you at the ballet after just ONE MORE JAEGERMEISTER SHOT!”
“’Bout three miles from border town, the California-Nevada line!” How about that jam, right into "Steep Grades Sharp Curves" with Jason Carter scratchin’ his fiddle the whole tune. “Wishing now until my dying day that I had never…” Jeff led the band into some fast strumming for the segue back into what else but the reprise of "Ramblin’ in the Rambler".
“Thank you for sharing your Orange with us tonight Asheville,” pronounced Ben. “To be fair it is an awfully big Orange and I feel there is plenty for everybody. Is anybody bruised, battered or bare-assed yet?” You could feel the end of the set nearing and that this was going to end big, beginning next with a “song about leaving Colorado.” This of course would be the crowd favorite "40 Miles From Denver". I find this song humorous now that I live in the Appalachian Mountains (pronounced like apple-lat-chun) and how Ben proceeds to sing it as “Appa-ley-shun”; I laugh every time I hear it because I used to pronounce it the same way until moving down here and was shunned for saying that too many times. At the end of the song, Ben laughed again, “But in all seriousness, thank you for sharing your orange.”
Before the next song started, Dave mumbled something about the perplexity of the G-string (on the banjo folks, c’mon), and then picked up the beginning few notes to his and Adam’s song "Rain Still Falls". Even though this song often occurs in sets that I see, I loved this version, with Jason Carter’s fiddle bringing that extra emotion to the song. All of this was only building up to something I can never forget.
After a brief mandolin solo to start the next tune, Jeff counted down “One, Two, Three, Four!” And BAM! "Peace of Mind"! As if the crowd couldn’t dance any harder, Yonder brought more fire! The fast tempo and fiddle screams had the entire venue shaking its ass for this heater. As the long jam segment began, lights grew dark green and red, highlighting the silhouettes of the band again. With psychedelic fiddling by Jason Carter, it became a little scary as Jeff started messing around on his pedals and he melted his mandolin. What was this turning into? Everything started to slow down then suddenly Jeff slowly sang “Little one, why’d you do me? Little girl, why’d you do me? Little one, why you been such a cry baby? Little one, why would you do me wrong?” Then the pedal madness continued as Jeff’s voice was morphed into a dark scary tone asking this ‘little girl’ why she would treat him so wrong.
Oh yeah! We got a scary "Riverside". You could hear the madman in Jeff’s tone as he sang about this nightmare. I think the crowd was into this more than any other song this night as they were jumping and falling into one another, quick to apologize and forgive one another as everyone screamed “follow me down!” The fast paced pick-a-thon for "Riverside" soon turned into the reprise to "Angel", which had started the second set. I was having too much fun during this set that I completely forgot about the unfinished "Angel" until it was over - which marked the end of the second set.
The band left the stage with the Orange Peel crowd hootin’ and hollerin’ for more. When the band took the stage again, Ben thanked the Asheville crowd for making the band feel so welcome and for the positive energy that shed on the band throughout the night. The encore started with their cover of "Ooh La La" being perfectly accompanied again by Jason Carter’s fiddle. Definitely a good way to start the encore, in my humble opinion; "Ooh La La" is one of my favorite covers that Yonder plays. At the end of the song when the instruments stopped playing for the last chorus, the crowd was louder than the band as we were overfilled with joy. The crowd gave it up for Jason Carter as Jeff reminded us that he would be leaving tour after this show. Jeff explained how the band wondered what would be the perfect song to play last with Jason when it was decided a song “at about a thousand beats per minute might work.” What was last was a traditional folk/bluegrass song sung by hundreds of musicians, the "Shady Grove". I’d have to agree this was a perfect song to end with Jason Carter as his fiddle magic upped the already fast tempo into pure mayhem. With epic solos from each of the Yonder guys, the band successfully melted off the soles of the Kinfolk’s shoes as the set ended.
With the show over, all the Kinfolk were wondering... where to go now? Surely the night cannot be over, especially because they never finished "Peace of Mind". Right? Was I that out of mind that I completely missed the reprise of "Peace of Mind"? Not possible, they have to bring that tomorrow (I hope!). Either way, I was amazed with the entire show, especially the second set. It wasn’t long before Kayla quickly convinced me to go next door to Wicked Weed Brewhouse for some drinks with a few other Kinfolk. After saying I would meet her there, it wasn’t long after that I fell directly into Christy on the rail by stumbling over myself. I vividly remember the death stare on her face as she turned around before she saw it was me. I must’ve said sorry to Christy a hundred times even after she realized that it was me that fell into her as her death stare turned into a chuckle. It was then I realized going to the bar would not be the best idea after all and started making the walk back to the Downtown Inn to meet up and party with the Kinfolk crew there.
The rest of the night included us all moving from room to room all around the Downtown Inn, partying with different Kinfolk, listening to all types of music (no Bassnectar though for Andrew, even when he found his glowsticks). After a while, I went to Denny’s alone to grab some bacon and pancakes for myself and a burger for D’eric, why I delivered it to his door, I don’t know, guess I’m just that nice of a guy. With a stomach full of cheap food, it was finally time to call the night complete and dream about what happened with the end to that "Peace of Mind".
The most important thing I learned after witnessing this show: NEVER miss an Asheville show!
Written by Tom Clinge; photos by Dorothy St.Claire
Download this show from Yondermountainlive!