written by Eric Martin
I arrived in Chicago to the smiling faces of two of my favorite kinfolk, Rick & Mel. I ate real deep dish pizza, pissed off the hot dog guy for requesting no mustard, and partied the night away before heading out the next day for Urbana, followed by two nights in St. Louis. I was happy to be back in Urbana again this year, and to see some more Kinfolk faces. It was good to see Amanda and Pear again - they had made it out for “just the one night”, which turned into the entire weekend. No complaints here.
We all made our way down to the rail and got set for some more Yonder. The show started off fittingly enough with “Part 1”, which turned into reverb and pedal and a rockin “East Nashville Easter”. Dave was up next with “Loved You Enough”. Adam would step up next and sing “Rain Still Falls”, and then it was Jeff’s turn with “Illinois Rain”, appropriately.
After a little reminiscing about meeting Dave here 18 years ago, Jeff introduced the next banjo number, “Strophe”, which would keep everyone moving. A little more reminiscing and they jumped into “Sometimes I’ve Won”, followed by a rocking “Fingerprint”. Plenty of pedals all around on this one. A quick pause and then the boys changed direction and dove into some bluegrass with Adam singing “Another Day”.
Jeff invited a couple guys from the Deadly Gentlemen to play some extra mandolin and guitar on the next number, “Kentucky Mandolin”. Halfway through they also brought out Sam Grisman to rock Ben’s bass alongside Ben, even at the same time as Ben. Four hands, one bass. "Kentucky" came to a close followed by a roar of applause, and things were quickly picked right back up with “Raleigh and Spencer”, which ended the first set.
So far it had been another great night in Urbana, and I looked forward to what was to come. I made my way back up front as the guys walked back out. The first set had ended with a fast one and the second set would keep the theme going as they started off with “Rambler”, which segued into an extra funky “Shake Me Up”, capped off by “Rambler Reprise” to get everyone back in the mood for another great set. “Pockets” was up next and kept the good mood alive. This is one of my favorites, it’s got great Adam and Dave solos and tonight was no exception. They both did a great job, but nothing makes you appreciate some great Dave solos quite like hangin' Daveside with Rick and Mel (King and Queen of Daveside). Next Ben told us about his job with “Blue Collar Blues”, a song borrowed from Burle. Somewhere during this song we hit the midnight mark, and afterwards Jeff announced that that would make it Ted Atwell’s birthday. Starting now. Happy Birthday Ted! Thanks for all you do! I was happy to celebrate with ya.
The crowd cheered for Ted being born so many years ago today and soon the cheers were for “Althea”, not my favorite Dead cover of theirs, but it is fun to yell “this space is getting hot” when you’re really drunk, and then listen to Adam play the sh*t out of his guitar. After a quick “cheers” Jeff stepped on some pedals and turned some nobs and the feedback slowly built up into “Sidewalk Stars”. I love feedback/fuzzy Yonder and any show with "ENE" and "Sidewalk Stars" is a good one in my book. A quick countdown after Sidewalk and they went straight into “All the Time”.
Up next was “Southbound”, appropriately, since most of the people surrounding me were headed south tomorrow to St. Louis. After Dave reminisced about all the places he had thrown up in and around town, Ben sang about how he now chooses to walk the “Straight Line”, a great song with an even better introduction tonight. Up next was “And Your Bird Can Sing”, which got the crowd's feet moving. I love when they play this one, and Dave stole the show on it tonight. After a “Romance Blues”, a pretty rare occurrence, Dave took off the flannel, another rare occurrence, but good thing because he was on fire during “Traffic Jam”, which went into an awesome “Elzic’s Farewell”, back into “Traffic Jam” to round out the second set.
After a quick break they came back out, wished Atwell another Happy Birthday, and played a crowd pleasing “40 Miles From Denver” sing-along. Still time for one more, they ended the night on a fast ass bluegrass note with “Hill Country Girl”. It had been a great night, and the dancing continued with “Hot in Hurr”. Thanks Ben Hines. Happy birthday Ted. See ya tomorrow…
Written by Eric Martin; photos by Eric Martin and Dorothy St.Claire
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