Written by Lara Keithley
Yonder has a unique history with the 505 (a name used statewide to represent New Mexico even though they changed the area code in the southernmost part of the state a few years ago). In 2007 Yonder played the El Rey Theater in downtown Albuquerque. At that show some Wook, running from security after sneaking in, jumped from the balcony and had to be seen by paramedics. Yonder made a comment on stage that night about passing a Lexis dealership on their way to the show and seeing a Lexis completely stripped and on blocks in the parking lot. This amused them greatly but not half as much as it amused me two days later when I was introduced to my new client. The fifteen year old who stripped the Lexis.
Yonder played the Santa Fe Brew Pub in 2009 and had a horrific storm end their show early. They played there again in 2010 and watched as the New Mexico state police threw up a road block right in front of the outdoor venue, which caused Ben to go on a much deserved rant; and you could tell the band was visibly upset. This, after they were scheduled to play the beautiful Paolo Solari and were switched to the Brew Pub. Being switched from the Paolo to the Brew Pub is like being switched from Red Rocks (which they had played the night before) to Uncle Lester’s back yard BBQ. But all of this did not stop Adam from raging a killer solo during “I am the Slime” and playing “Baked as a Rat” when Dave broke a string.
In 2011 Yonder played the Taos Mountain Jam and one of their overzealous female fans, dressed in a skimpy little dress and high heels no less, jumped up on stage and proceeded to run around avoiding security for a second or two. She was headed straight for Adam when they hauled her off stage.
When I had the good fortune of interviewing Adam in 2012 I asked, more like begged, the Boys to come back to the Land of Enchantment. He laughed when I said “I know it’s weird here but we promise to behave”. He told me that in fact they were coming back, and to the Burque no less. Hurray! A hometown Yonder show! Nothing can make me smile more! Immediately after the Burque show was announced, my crew, the awesome folks from Jams of Enchantment, began to plan a way to welcome the boys back to our fine state. What better way than a good old fashioned New Mexican potluck?
We rented a bunch of hotel rooms at the Hotel Blue and began planning a feast for the Boys. On the Day in question we descended on the Hotel Blue with enough whiskey to float a battle ship; enough tequila to make Sammy Hagar proud; and of course the usual cheap beer offerings, cases of PBR, Modelo and Tecate. By four p.m. Management was threatening to kick us all out. And I promised Adam we would behave! We were rescued when the night manager came on duty and realized that the majority of his Wednesday night business was this rag tag bunch of hippie kinfolk. He took us down to a hidden Court Yard and said “Party here! SLEEP in your rooms!”
A group of us headed to the Sunshine Theater green room to lay out the food. I took my awesome doggie, Cosmic Charlie, with me. That soundcheck was his first chance to see Yonder live. (He loves him some banjo) He also got his ears scratched by the amazing lighting magician Ted Atwell. Fun stuff!
After laying out the food we headed back to pre-game with our budz at our new found Court Yard home. The staff at the Hotel Blue looked shell shocked. We managed to recruit some new members to our group and headed out to the Sunshine in time to see the Deadly Gentlemen. Glad we did. My new obsession is watching Dominick Leslie play mandolin. He is like a unicorn: strangely beautiful and odd. Heh, and he can pick some too. The Deadly Gentlemen did a splendid version of “Touch of Grey”. With their awesome performance, we were warmed up for the boys.
During the break between bands I ran into the incomparable Ben Hines, who asked me where my sign was. As many of you know, I have been on a campaign since Tulum to get “Skulls”. I have been carting around a ratty sign that we made in a tequila bar in Tulum from a grocery box. It says “Please play skulls for my 69th show”. I have been putting paper over the number and updating it for each show. As it turned out, this was to be my 75th show. So I had updated my sign and then my drunken ass left it at the hotel. Ahhhhh! A home town show opportunity missed! Damn Jamo! (ohhhh! Jamison you know I don’t mean it, I love you truly!)
No matter, it was time to ride that rail and boogie with my New Mexi-kinfolk. The boys started us off with a fast-assed “Little Lover”. This prompted a sing along by myself and my friend Ronda. Others on the rail were looking a little annoyed at our braying out the lyrics so we toned it down a notch, but then our crew came up and rescued us from the purists by starting a do-si-do hoe down. It was already shaping up to be an awesome night. Adam’s furious humming bird fingers were already running wild on that Collins and please, couldn’t we just steal Jason Carter? Just kid-nap him and put him in a basement or something if we have to?
“Rag Momma” was next. I love this song and Ben claimed it was about his Mom. I love Ben’s Mom. So …Hell yeah! We were doin' that rag and getting all rowdy already! Smilin' J.O.E.s everywhere (Jams Of Enchantment members). “The Harder They Come” really got the crowd in the game. That awesome reggae style banjo, how could you not love Mr. David Harold Johnston!?
My secret boyfriend, (don’t tell him!) Jason Carter, then busted into my new theme song “Lonesome, On’ry and Mean”. OK, I would offer up my basement but I don’t have one. I don’t think he would be very happy in my crawl space. So who will volunteer to house Mr. Carter when we kidnap him? I am sure he would make a charming house guest. Although I must say I don’t think I would want to tangle with Mr. Del. He looks like he could cut a bitch with a slow southern smile. I love that ol' G!
On a serious note, yeah right….I am hopelessly, helplessly in love with “Lonesome Letter”, which was next. I got to hear it several times during Winter Tour and each time I grew to love it more. I don’t know if it’s the sailing references or that cool guitar solo that sounds like ascending during scuba diving or the beautiful harmonies, it brings to mind very pleasant memories of my darlin' JW, I could hear it every show and not be unhappy at all. Although I would hate for it to be on the Kinfolk list this year as songs we are tired of hearing.
"WHEEL HOSS"!!!! Oh Hell yes! Two Fiddles!! Mike Barnett from the Deadly Gentlemen came on stage and Ben reminded us that it’s still early and we should still have our car keys and pants. He does offer our crazy asses a ride home on the bus, though. Then we freaked like whirling dervishes and those boys threw. It. Down!
By now the crowd was Burquenos rowdy, which is plenty rowdy indeed. Just in time to get into a funky “Girlfriend is Better”. I think the Boys were a little surprised at the reception. Albuquerque is not known for its ability to get out on a week night, or its ability to stay out. But everyone was jamming and having a blast!
The mood was further lifted by a ragin' “Up On The Hill”. My whole crew was sweaty and euphoric as we danced and brayed the lyrics like donkeys. By now any purists had retreated into the wings. This rail belonged to the loco in the cerebro.
Set break. We stepped outside to go to Tokeo (Toke Yo!) and I completely forgot to go up to Merch (dang I am going to miss Scotty!) and get my picture taken with the street team. I hate to have my pic taken anyway and my crew was in awesome form and much fun was being had. Sometimes you are where you are supposed to be even when you’re not!
The Boys came back out on stage and we immediately started screeching and hollering and generally annoying the tapers with our vocal antics (by the way, thanks Matt Nida for taping!). Ben checked in and told us it was ok if we lost our keys, but we should still be wearing pants. From the looks of this crowd, that's probably a good reminder.
My favorite Gospel song that Yonder performs is “Jesus on the Mainline” so Hippie Hurray!!! The second set was starting out very nicely! We were definitely telling Jesus what we want to but it’s not the guy in the sky its Jesus our crew member. Hey Zues on the mainline. I am giggling just thinking about it. Hahahaha. I think Jeff was highly amused because he was really playing it up! Jason Carter just ripped it! It was a great time had by all!
Now, speaking of dirty deeds done in basements, Adam peered out into the audience and said “Were gonna play a song via the request line. It’s a song by the Misfits.” My friends were screaming and pounding me on the back! Can it be? Is it possible that my months of tireless campaigning are paying off by getting the song I have been chasing - at a hometown show? Why YES!! It’s "SKULLS"!!!!!!!!!!! No. WAY! I was on cloud 17! We bathe tonight! Many in the crowd looked confused as hell as to why this song was getting such a reaction from about twenty of us in the front. It was one of the nicest things that has ever happened to me at a show. I turned to one of my friends and said “Hold me Ronda, I feel so special!” Wooooohooooo! You can hear me and my buddies, Justin and Cheese (Queso), hollering like crazy on the audience tape. Jeff screams back, its pretty damn funny.
“Strophe” was next and people were still coming up and screaming and yelling to me about the "Skulls" thing. But hey, we were still dancing our asses off. Then my second favorite Sherriff’s Saga song “Boots” started. “Whaddya mean you gotta man? Oh Jesus Christ not THIS again!” Love it!!! Hey Zeus Christ? Just wrong. Yep. Ben told us he was having a good time. How could you not?
Sam Grisman (David’s son) of the Deadly Gentlemen came out to share bass duties during a nice long “Crow Black Chicken”. It was funky and cool and we got down into the groove. The dueling basses were just awesome. It’s nice to see Ben getting to jam out with Sam Grisman holding his own. Ben told us he wants to sit in with Widespread Panic. The crowd went loco yet again! “Not Far Away” came next and the harmonies were spot on, and Jeff’s mando sounded amazing. We did the do-si-do some more!
“Out of the Blue” came next and I DO take time to count out loud all the gold and the gifts I have been given on this night. It’s been a hard couple of years but this night showed me quite a few of the blessings I still have to count. Looking at my awesome crew with their smiling faces and the killer tunes, it’s a very happy night!
Mr. Johnston told us he was “about ready to get all bluegrass on Albuquerque right now” and they started “This Lonesome Heart”. I love it when he sings! I have only gotten to hear this song live one other time so it was a real treat!
Then the band promptly broke into a twenty minute "Angel"> "Death Trip" "Angel" sandwich. It was made of all kinds of angsty, greatness. “Your name’s still on my lips when I whisper in the dark” gets me every time! The segue into “Death Trip” was spooky.
The Band then left the stage, but of course we were going nowhere. We were still rowdy and wired. If they wanted to play another hour I don’t think anyone would have gone anywhere.
Ben wrote the next song about the place I lived while attending Jr. High (I won’t tell you just where it is). “Town” is one of my all-time favorites. What a great show! Apparently, although I missed it, there was some crowd surfing toward the back. Ben invited us to crowd surf some more but this time to a waltz! He declared it would be the most romantic f@cking crowd surfing ever.
The closer was “Hit Parade of Love”. Perfect! Some fast ass bluegrass to end a fantastic show and a great evening. As I was making my way to the back of the venue, all sweaty and laughing, Ben Hines came up to me with a huge smile on his face and handed me the set list. What a fabulous guy he is! And now I can retire my sign.
Written by Lara Keithley
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