Cornmeal at State Bridge 8.13.11
Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (www.phatphlogblog.blogspot.com)
The year after I moved to the great state of Colorado one of our treasured refuges of music burnt to the ground. The main lodge of the famed State Bridge, home of Yarmony and countless concerts over the years, suffered an awful fate. A beautiful locale right on the Colorado River was the type of awe-inspiring spot that people keep coming back to. Unfortunately, I never made it out before the fire but like a Phoenix rising from the ashes State Bridge reopened this year. Renovated and ready to host music again, the new venue still retained the luster of its former glory. Summer Camp arranged for me to make the trip out so Amy and I hopped in the car and made the long trek to the outskirts of Bond, Colorado.
We camped at Rancho Del Rio just up the road and after we got settled in, we grabbed the shuttle down the road. We got our first glimpse of the venue and took a moment to thank Kris and Chris for putting us on the guest list. They were definitely ready to rock. After a long tour and traveling 9,000 miles, who could blame them. It was their tour closer. I know for a fact that they always bring the heat when they play Colorado and our surroundings would only add to that energy.
The venue was just gorgeous with a multi-tiered layout and plenty of room. To the left of the stage as you entered, a massive fire pit greeted you. As we roamed around I noticed Wavy Dave chatting with some fans. That’s the type of place State Bridge is; it was most definitely homey. It’s a place where friendships are made and everyone is family. I was immediately struck by the warmth of all of those in attendance at this hallowed venue. Allie came out as well and spoke with the members of the audience before the show. I took the opportunity to thank her again for taking part in my Private Camp Counselor set.
The ironic thing is that I actually ran into a couple people who I had the pleasure of meeting at Summer Camp. Matt and some of the Cornstalker crew had made it out to see their favorite band. I also saw Marc from Rock the Earth who we stood next to during our onstage set for moe. It was obvious that as Cornmeal took the stage, good people surrounded us at State Bridge.
Cornmeal’s first set was pretty straightforward and full of bluegrass goodness. Allie’s violin soared over the crowd as the full moon illuminated State Bridge. It gave an added level of intensity to the overall vibe. Kris’ picking mesmerized me as he belted out some signature tunes. Highlights from the first set included Calling Me Back Home, Shelter and an absolutely sweet Old Virginia. After a great set Cornmeal retired backstage and the fans continued to mingle and make friends.
The second set took us to places that Cornmeal is not really known for. With strong elements of jam and spacey psychedelia, it was an insane musical journey. I love seeing a well-rehearsed band playing at their peak. It is something to behold to see players of Cornmeal’s caliber playing at the top of their game. That's exactly what everyone witnessed that night deep in the mountains of Colorado. Cornmeal was firing on all cylinders and they just shredded the night away.
For a band to hold it together for 10 years is a testament to their belief in the goodness that they produce. That massive range of experience definitely came into play at this show. With incredible versions of When The World’s Got You Down and a smoking Girl I Left Behind the second set played on until late in the evening. It was just perfect. Cornmeal showed us why they are one of the premiere bluegrass outfits touring today.
I feel blessed to be able to see such great music on a regular basis. Colorado has the tendency to bring the best out of bands. There is something magical in the air or something special in the water. Whatever it is, when certain bands come to this amazing state they bring the heat. Cornmeal did just that on that beautiful moonlit night in the Rockies. I would recommend to anyone that they make it out to State Bridge. It’s a very euphoric location to see a live performance. I was very happy I made it out and you will be too.
Afterthought: After the show Amy and I headed up to camp cooked a little food and called it a night. I woke early as I often do when camping and noticed Cornstalker Matt wandering the grounds. He let me know that the band requested a midnight float after the show and rode the Colorado river by moonlight with a couple of lucky fans. This is just another story from State Bridge and an obvious reason for why people see it as a unique and awe-inspiring place for live music.