written by Dorothy St.Claire
One part of my job that I absolutely love is going into the venues early. I find it comforting to get to familiarize myself with a venue before it's full of people. I can wander the room with all of the house lights on and pinpoint places where I could trip and look like a fool once the lights are out. I can scope different spots and decide where I want to shoot. As I roamed the empty venue and took my time looking at all the posters, I started to get really excited. The Fillmore has so much rich musical history in its walls, and as I took it all in, I could feel the energy of all the musicians that have played this room.
The doors finally opened, I grabbed my complimentary apple, and started mingling with the earlybirds. This tour was amazing from the beginning, but San Francisco was where the Kinfolk really started coming out to play. As the room slowly filled, Tony Furtado started on his opening set. I've seen Tony a few times - always in some different form. His performance tonight was fun and he put down his banjo for a few songs to show off his guitar skills as well. Ben even came up to play a little bass on a tune.
The Yonder boys came to the stage to loud cheers and started the show fast with "Another Day". I love this song so much. More and more each time I hear it. "Ragdoll" creeped in and set up a longing feeling that surrounded us as the extended jam took hold. I made my way upstairs as Ben sang "Finally Saw the Light", where I enjoyed watching my friends dance in the front even more than watching the band play.
The fun continued with "Polka on a Banjo", and then the guys invited Tony Furtado to join them for "Raleigh and Spencer". It was a banjo-rific time, with Tony and Dave rolling back and forth. Tony only stayed for this one song, and soon enough Ben was singing "Sometimes I've Won". We jumped right back on the Dave train as he sang "Little Lover", and then Adam stole our hearts as he sang the band's best Dead cover (in my opinion), "Jack A Roe".
The strums started and Jeff started to yell "Wellllllllll!" … And we all know what that means. "Ramblin' in the Rambler" started the end of set sandwich, oddly placing "Dawn's Early Light" in the middle. This was another one of those pairings that didn't make much sense on paper, but was pulled off beautifully on stage. And with the end of "Ramblin'" came the end of the set.
The second set started with "Pass This Way". I love this song. Love love love it. And I love when a set starts with a Dave song. They followed "Pass This Way" with "New Deal Train" and I was absolutely thrilled.
Before the show started, Ted told me to come up and visit him in his light booth to get some cool shots from his perspective. But Ted being Ted, he wouldn't tell me what song I should shoot up there. Instead, he told me to come up during the 3rd song so that I could shoot the 4th. I made my way upstairs during "Out of the Blue", and enjoyed the view as I shot "Lonesome Letter". Unfortunately, as I was shooting, one of the members of security came and told me that NO ONE can take photographs in this area. I wasn't buying it, but I wasn't going to argue either. Because of this, those awesome photos from the light booth will never see the light of day. Sorry!
I went back down to the photo pit as they shredded "Winds of Wyoming"> "East Nashville Easter", and then went back upstairs to settle in for the rest of the set. Dave's "Easy as Pie" was a pleasant surprise. "Rain Still Falls" was a welcome tour repeat. "Lay it on the Line" brought out Jeff's emotional side, and Ben brought out a little boogie with "Rag Mama".
I danced and danced up in the balcony as the final sandwich came in and swept us away, starting with "Little Rabbit". It was so fun watching the crowd jump and dance as Jeff sang "I ain't got time to tell you, she's gone to Alabamie!" Ooh-wee! Things just got even more wild as "Traffic Jam" came in next, and somehow the energy only rose when "Sideshow Blues" stormed in. Sometimes the San Francisco crowd can be a little… well… stoned. And because of this, sometimes they don't physically show their excitement. But tonight they managed to push through their heady daze and rage as hard as the music would suggest. "Traffic Jam" came back in, triumphantly capturing the joy of the night in this last bit of the set.
The room vibrated with the roars of the crowd as we all waited for the band to come back for their encore. It didn't take long, and soon we were being treated with the old classic "At the End of the Day". It was so great and was followed with "Blue Collar Blues" to finish the night. I love my job.
Written by Dorothy St.Claire