Saturday, August 23, 2014

Telluride Jazz Festival 8.1 - 8.3.14

Town Park
Telluride, CO
Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock
(Fat Guerilla Productions)

Friday August 1st:

Few places are as overwhelmingly picturesque and utterly glorious as the sleepy mountain town of Telluride. Sleepy may be a bit of an understatement, considering this burg plays host to some of the most sought-after festivals in the United States. Home to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Blues and Brews, The Ride Festival, Telluride Film Festival MountainFilm, and so much more, Telluride is an oasis of culture in the San Juan Mountains. One of the lesser known, but equally impressive, events is the Telluride Jazz Celebration. 2014 marked the 38th time that jazz musicians from all over the world descended on Town Park for three days of superbly good times.

The lineup this year was a veritable who’s who of modern funk, fusion, and Latin jazz. The featured musician, Poncho Sanchez would join in on three sets over the weekend, but first we had to get there. Telluride is a good 7 1/2 hours from Fort Collins. We drove through the night and managed to miss the majority of severe weather that was drifting though southwest Colorado. We made it to Telluride around 4:00 AM just in time to see an adult black bear scurrying across Colorado Avenue before we pitched our tent in the darkness.

Waking up in Telluride just down stream from a waterfall is something to experience… sooner rather than later. I got up and after a nice breakfast we headed into the concert grounds. Words don’t do justice to the 360° views that encapsulate the town as you enter the Town Park Stage area. The roughly pedicured lawn plays host to running children, some easy up tents, and wall-to-wall camping chairs. Of course the dance floor remains in tact marked by a dirt line edged into the earth from decades of boogying. I was greeted by the soothing sounds of Michael Bellar & The As-Is Ensemble. This band was a great choice to get the weekend started. They were a refreshing breath of unfettered improvisation. The As-Is Ensemble consists of Bellar on keys, Brad Wentworth on drums, and Rob Jost on bass. This trio has that heavy B-3 element that pushes the group toward the funky side of life. Bellar was quite the showman with rowdy tunes like “Biscuit Baby” and “Squashing Pollyanna.” They featured several songs off the new album Oh No Oh Wow, which aptly describes my reaction to Mr. Bellar and company.

Rumor had it that weather would be a factor on Friday afternoon. However the sun continued to shine eventually bathing the entire valley in a warm aspenglow before disappearing for the night. Nigel Hall Band would be the first appearance of Hall, but it would not be his last… we’ll get to that. Nigel oozes with soul; his sound is that of a bygone era. He would be at home in a smoky nightclub in Motown in the 70’s. We are blessed to have him with us in the present day, and we are lucky that he is not stingy with his talents. His band included Derwin “Big D” Perkins who would be another VIP of the weekend playing with the Absolute Monster Gentlemen as well. The balances of heavy Soul riffs with searing guitar grooves made this show a highlight of the weekend. Drummer Alvin Ford Jr. treated us to a huge solo to send them on their way.

The Free Spirits Tasting began and soon after Monty Alexander and The Kingston Express pulled into Town Park. This is what I love about Telluride Jazz Fest, you can see an artist or group that you may have never even heard of and go away totally captivated. Mr. Alexander was a referential blast down the nostalgia highway. Combining his own elevated sense of jazz with his Jamaican heritage and popular music; Mr Alexander treated us to a series of mashups the likes of which I’ve never seen. At one point he had an extended jam going on “The Sound Of Music” while weaving in Harry Belefonte’s “Day-O” and the occasional Pink Panter bass line. His music is as intoxicating as the spirits that were being freely passed at the back of the yard. The entire band would be blasting away on some funky jazz before breaking into a brief rip on “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” and then suddenly blasting off into “Another One Bites The Dust.” It was a show not to be forgotten from a man who as been performing across the planet for half a century. Monty Alexander has played with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Dizzy Gillespie. They wrapped up their set with the jazziest versions of Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry” anyone is likely to ever see live.

Last on the bill for the evening was Grupo Fantasma. My notes simply say ‘A Latin Explosion of Joy.’ That pretty much sums up this nine-piece band hailing from Austin, TX. Again another group that I had never heard of, giving a powerhouse performance in Town Park. Weaving in funk and elements of rock this band primarily stuck to the Latin jams. High swirling notes made the audience dizzy with excitement. Vocalist Kino Esparza alternated between dancing, drumming, and wailing on the vocals. They closed their set with a version of Los Lobos’ “Mas Y Mas.”

Telluride Jazz Fest is not the throw down you might be expecting. No it’s a classier affair, which is over by 10 PM at the latest each night. Now Jazz After Dark is a series of after shows throughout Telluride, for those that want to keep the party train rolling. After regrouping at camp I made my way in town. I caught the end of headliner Poncho Sanchez & His Latin Band at the Sheridan Opera House. He gave us a ridiculous version of Santana’s “Oye Como Va.” I then stopped by the Fly Me To The Moon Saloon for the talented Nigel Hall Band. This would be his second performance of the weekend. Much like their afternoon set these masters of soul ripped it up. Afterwards, I retreated to my tent to get some rest for day two.

Saturday August 2nd:

Saturday was arguably the strongest lineup, with a total of seven bands playing in Town Park. The weather was stunning with a slight breeze drifting up valley. I took the opportunity the head up to the Mountain Village and play some disc golf at the Double Cabins Disc Golf Course. It has eighteen holes and plays up a massive ski run. Then I took the free gondola back down in time for the second group of the day, the Telluride All Stars 20th Reunion Group. Several familiar faces dotted the lineup. Duo saxophonists, Josh Quinlin and Adam Larson, have both played Telluride Jazz in years prior. The band performed arrangements from each of the members including “Crack Pot” and Larson’s “New Thread.” This was definitely a superior style of jazz with a focus on a more traditional approach.

Bela Fleck said, “She is pure music.” Claudia Villela totally embodied that statement on Saturday. Blowing whistles in between lyrics, her show was enchanting. Villela came to Telluride by way of Rio de Janeiro. She did not hesitate to bring the fire of her home with her. Her voice is unbelievable with a range not usually seen live.

Caleb Chapman’s Crescent Super Band is a 23 piece musical explosion. They got our attention by opening with a horn infused version of Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love.” Caleb is a musical director from Utah who teaches over 150 students including the Crescent Super Band. This particular performance had a 15 piece horn section and 23 performers overall. The band was an exhibition of what is possible in music education. Playing a wide range of traditional and pop music, the Crescent Super Band had one of the most pleasant sets of the entire weekend with stellar versions of “Sky Fall” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” Poncho Sanchez joined the group for “Besa Me Mama” and the set closing “Typo.”

With the free wine tasting in full swing the much-anticipated Snarky Puppy took the stage. Fresh off winning a Grammy for their song with Lalah Hathaway, this band creates multi-layered instrumental jams that are dense with sound. The talent in this group is obvious. This band has nearly 40 members who have recorded and toured with the group. In Telluride we were treated to a stripped down version of the band with only seven players. Nigel Hall again appeared on the Town Park stage to lend his talents to the mix.

Finally, it was time for the esteemed Poncho Sanchez & His Latin Jazz Band. Poncho is known as one of the top American percussionist of the modern era. His roots in Afro-Cuban and traditional Jazz gave him a powerful perspective on music. He initially performed with Cal Tjader until he died in 1982. Afterwards, Poncho began leading his own band and went to produce 19 albums including his Grammy award winning live record Latin Soul. The show in Telluride was a nice sampling of Poncho’s work. Songs like the soulful “Cuidado” made a real impression on the audience. The dirt floor became a huge dance party as Poncho banged away on his congas.

The final show on Saturday at the Town Park Stage was Lettuce. This band has been blowing up the scene in recent years with their brand of funk-filled instrumental music and high-energy vocals. However, this Brooklyn-based musical monolith has been around for over two decades. Led by drummer Adam Deitch, this band became a ‘super group’ long after they met at the Berklee School of Music in Boston for a summer music program. The projects they have embraced beyond Lettuce (Pretty Lights, Soulive, DMB) have pushed most of the members into the national spotlight. Their set was just short of 90 minutes giving fans ample opportunity to find their groove. This show would mark Nigel Hall’s 4th appearance of the festival. Eventually, the percussionists from Snarky Puppy would join Lettuce for a sick drum jam.

“The mandatory dance party starts now.” – Nigel Hall

“Bustin' Loose” was a Hall sung blowout that featured his soulful vocals juxtaposed against the snappy funk of the rest of the band.

Saturday’s ‘After Dark’ offerings were the best of the entire weekend. I headed uptown to start with Mike Dillon and company at the Elks Club. This venue is the furthest off the beaten path, but after a short walk we found ourselves outside. As we entered, the sweet sounds of punk-fueled jazz floated over the relatively small crowd. Johnny Vidokovich had travel issues so he was not present. Therefore the three-piece band consisted of Dillon on percussion, James Singleton on bass, and Brian Haas of Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey fame on keys. Their hard-hitting sound was a great way to start the late night festivities.

I parted ways with my friends and raced over to see the end of Jon Cleary and The Absolute Monster Gentlemen again at the historic Sheridan Opera House. His brand of New Orleans jazz is pure class. Again, Nigel Hall and Derwin “Big D” Perkins were in attendance adding their soul and ripping guitar respectively. My joy was short lived as my arrival coincided with their encore.

I headed down to Fly Me To The Moon Saloon where Red Baraat had just finished, and Adam Deitch Duo featuring DJ Logic was just setting their stage. What followed may have been the musical highlight of the entire weekend. A line of musicians formed outside the humble stone doorway. The show began with Logic spinning his sweet brand of subtle scratch heavy funk and Deitch at the helm of the kit. Jesus from Lettuce appeared and the show was on. Members of Snarky Puppy drifted in during this melting pot of music. At one point, Deitch left and the entire mood of the music shifted into a trance-ier mindset. Musically, this was a chance for some of the best touring jazz musicians in the world to slap some strings and flow freely. As I wondered back to my tent in Town Park the smile was evident.

Sunday August 3rd:

Thematically, Sunday at the Telluride Jazz Celebration has always featured the sounds of New Orleans. The festivities began with a parade down Colorado Avenue featuring Red Baraat. I made it down to the box office in time to catch a rowdy rendition of “It’s All Over Now.” The horns echoed off the building as the fans danced in the streets.

Soon after, the Young Razzcals Jazz Project took the stage this time lead by the dedicated Dave Adams. Throughout its fifteen-year history this group has featured 125 young musicians. Performing a wide range of styles heavily focused on traditional jazz, these young musicians showed their impressive talents. An original entitled “ZK30” gave us some swing-heavy horns that really got the day started on the right foot.

DVS also known as Mike Dillon, Johnny Vidokovich, & James Singleton featuring Brian Haas was up next. Their 90 minutes was the type of jazz that has been known to upset traditionalists. This band is not restrained by tradition, in fact they push the boundaries of jazz, bebop, and punk at the same time. There is so much raw talent and experience in this group. Dillon sang his original “I Ain’t Buying” with his beautiful croak. Mike invited Mr. Vidokovich to play his tune “Dr. Watson.” The band gave us an instrumental version of Jane’s Addiction’s “Summertime Rolls” before they exited stage left.

The high impact East meets Funk band Red Baraat appeared as the rain began to pour. They, along with the audience, diligently pushed on as the storm continued. Yet another band hailing from Brooklyn this eight-piece group is the ultimate North Indian infused dance party. Red Baraat is the brainchild of lead singer, composer, and percussionists Sunny Jain. He danced fervently as the band played on. This show was a wholly unique experience and definitely worth further exploration.

Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen finally got their chance to play on the main stage. After a strong performance the night before it was time for Cleary to smack that NOLA sound off the canyon walls. Songs like “Gangsta Luv” got the night going strong early. Cleary’s fingers tickled the keys while his band shreded. Jon sang a marvelous rendition of Alan Toussaint’s “What Do You Want The Girl To Do?” Jon Cleary has been called the 8th Wonder of the World, and I’d have to agree. His raspy elegance combined with his impeccable skills at the piano make him a "not to miss" show.

Dragon Smoke is yet another band formed in a late night New Orleans jam session. Consisting of Stanton Moore on drums and Robert Mercurio on bass(both of Galactic), alongside Dumpstaphunk’s Ivan Neville and singer songwriter, Eric Lindell. The lineup is pretty unfathomable not to mention the fact that both Mike Dillon and DJ Logic sat in for large chunks of the set. For the first song Ivan sent Nigel Hall out to the keys.

“I’m gonna nominate myself for MVP… I have to.” –Hall

He was absolutely right. Ivan appeared and our MVP retreated backstage. “Rollin’ to the Country” set the mood for the last show of the festival, and reminded us of our remote locale. Dillon and Logic first appeared for the song “Gravy Cadillac.” They did a version of King Floyd’s “Groove Me” that set the audience on fire. Dragon Smoke was an absolute pleasure and the best way possible to say goodbye to Telluride.

The Telluride Jazz Celebrate has become one of my favorite events in Colorado. Simply put this is the most relaxed festival, with the strongest lineup year after year, in the prettiest place in the state. What’s not to like? There’s so much to do and see beyond the festival that I recommend coming down a day early next year. The locals are incredibly friendly despite having to put up with a festival every single weekend of the summer. The sunsets are simply stunning and I can’t think of a better place to listen to some of the best jazz being played in life today.

Nick’s Photo Gallery

Thursday, August 21, 2014

YarmonyGrass 8.15 - 8.17.14

Rancho Del Rio
Bond, CO

Words By J. Picard
Photos By Kevin Hahn (Split Open & Shoot)
Videos By Steve Wilner

Friday August 15th:

Rancho Del Rio is a Colorado paradise, nestled in and surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. The Colorado River runs right through the site, making it the perfect launch and landing point for rafters looking to spend some time on the river. Once a year, the site is transformed into festival grounds for YarmonyGrass, a three day music and camping festival featuring some incredible Colorado and national talent. The night prior to our departure from Denver, we picked up our friend Roosevelt Collier (The Lee Boys & Colorado Get Down) from Denver International Airport. Back at the house, my good friend Murray and my girlfriend, Carly, were preparing for that weekend's YarmonyGrass and the following weekend's Burning Man. There were supplies strewn throughout the house heading towards large bins and their eventual place on a river or Playa. The following morning we awoke, packed up our vehicles and headed west passing through the foot hills and into the mountains. The sun was shinning, we were all in good spirits and we made good time, pulling onto the property sometime around 2:00 PM to be met by a massive rainfall near State Bridge. As quickly as it came, it went and by the time we hit Rancho, a mere four miles down the road, the sun had returned and the party began.

The obtaining of our credentials was smooth and pleasent, as we parked and began unpacking the vehicles at a rapid pace to ensure ample camping. Tents rose from the ground up with a couple of EZ-Ups and Murray's tee-pee providing community shelter as Wichita Run could be heard in the distance. With the set up complete, it was time to crack open a cold beer and fire up some of Colorado's finest crop. Our first walk around the site reflected more infrastructure, more stages and more vending options than in previous years. Our group was impressed and excited about the potential of what would take place. Fort Collins' SHEL took the stage to kick off the weekend's sets on the Chief Yarmony (main stage). Though their turnout was dismal, their sound was sweet and their harmonies smooth.

Following some Frisbee tossing we made our way to the Gravity Lounge which was a dome with fabric draped along the sky and soft purple carpet lining the ground. The vibe was really unique and calming as Roosevelt and Andy Thorn (Leftover Salmon) began their workshop. What followed was a barrage of notes and improvisational excellence from two heavy-hitters. As a train passed through the canyon across the river, Roosevelt teased the sound of the train's whistle on the lap steel. Fans laid on the carpet under the dome and fabric for an hour that ended with a lot of laughs and excitement. We passed by Gipsy Moon, who sounded great, on our way back to camp to refresh our beers and stash the lap steel. Back at camp the space around us had quickly filled in as additional friends and festival goers flooded into Rancho.

We returned to the venue to catch Wicked Messengers featuring Adam Aijala and Ben Kaufman of Yonder Mountain String Band, as well as Darol Anger and John Frazier. The quartet was strong as they dove into material from Yonder, some traditionals and covers. Towards the end of their set they called out a handful of special guests that included Allie Kral, Andy Thorn and John Skehan III (Railroad Earth) for some energetic jamming! A short in between set from Coral Creek at the Yarmony Creek Saloon resulted in Roosevelt Collier's "Colorado Get Down" on the Chief Yarmony stage to follow. The mixed group comprised of members of The Motet, Leftover Salmon and The Grant Farm came out swinging with thick funk. Throughout the set, the core group was joined by Allie Kral, Tim Carbone and The Motet Horns as special guests that helped elevate the already incredible set. At the end of the set Roosevelt announced the return of "Colorado Get Down" to Denver in November, this time at the 1up - Colfax!

Our group headed back to camp for another refill as Musketeer Gripweed took to the Yarmony Creek Saloon. Around this time things started getting loose in the campgrounds as the hilarity of the banter progressed. Bottles of whiskey were passed around as if it were water in the desert. We made our way back to the venue through the darkness where Appalachia Rising was performing a beautiful, but slower set of music. The harmonies were amazing as the music jumped between traditional and progressive. In the back of the field a large group had joined Murray in giving flight to his glow-in-the dark Frisbee. A bonfire came to life with sparks coming off of the fire to dance among the stars. The side of the Milky Way extended from horizon to horizon as shooting stars dashed across the sky.

Life was good as the evening's headliner, The Motet, took the stage. What followed was an about an hour of deep funk that included many of the band's new tracks as well as a few older tracks. Though the music was top notch, the set was plagued with sound issues. I will give it to the band, they tried to stick with it as the sound went out on multiple occasions. Eventually, they were forced to step off of the stage for five minutes to regroup. Upon their return, the funk continued until the set's conclusion. All in all, the scenario was disappointing considering The Motet was Friday's headliner. As the evening grew later, the environment got weirder and weirder. Back in the campgrounds, fireworks were being shot off and beats could be heard in between instruments picking in the distance. Some time in the wee hours of the morning, our Friday came to a close.

Saturday August 16th:

The mild heat of the sun awoke us to another day on the river. Rising Appalachia had an extensive session at the Gravity Lounge as we acquired coffee and breakfast tacos from the Cilantro Truck. A short time later, with beers in hand, we made our way to the farthest point up river within the festival site and jumped onto our inner tubes in the ice cold mountain water. After about ten rounds of floating we were joined by Roosevelt, who floated with us as we splashed ice cold water his way. A short time later we made our way down to KK's BBQ near the entrance to Rancho, where Murray awaited an extensive order with friends. On the other end of Rancho, Coral Creek took the main stage for an early set that sounded good and welcomed a handful of guests, however it boasted limited attendance.

Roosevelt's recommendation of the Gandhi Indian Cuisine food vendor translated to my first epic chicken tikka masala dish of the weekend. We dined and soaked up the sun as yoga was happening in the Gravity Lounge and Bill Nershi took the Chief Yarmony stage for a solo set. Our interests quickly shifted from Bill back to the river for more floating. Upon our return, Kevin Watson & friends was performing at The Yarmony Creek Saloon, with some great special guests. Back at camp, beer had turned to liquor and preparations for the evening began with some early non-sense and a change into warmer clothes. As the clock read 7:30 PM, Andrew McConathy and The Drunken Hearts took to the main stage for their slot. Throughout their hour and fifteen minute set the Drunken Hearts welcomed several guests including Andy Thorn, Roosevelt Collier and Allie Kral for some diverse and energetic compositions and jams. The Drunken Hearts were the Saturday festival highlight.

The Shockenaw Mountain Boys feat. members of Railroad Earth and Allie Kral took the stage next for a very celtic and traditional set. The music was beautiful, though the energy was a little bit slower than what many would have desired for an evening perfomance. Keeler William's Grateful Grass followed with a mixed group of musicians following Keller's lead and trying to keep up with his random changes and stops. The set was rhythmic and loose, though at times a lot of fun. Guests included Allie Kral, Andy Thorn, Roosevelt Collier and Bill Nershi. Back in the campgrounds things were getting wild and rumors of Bill Nershi drinking out of a bottle of tequila were circulating. The sentiment was that it would be an interesting and sloppy "Joint Set."

The set began with Bill and Roosevelt alone on stage, with Bill strumming along and Roosevelt trying to nail down a key while trying to hear his rig. It was a terrible start to what ended up being an extremely disappointing set. Through disjointed picking, weak sound and missed notes left and right, many of the guests tried to save the epic trainwreck, all be it, unsuccessfully. Bottles of whiskey and tequila floated around the stage as the plane headed towards the mountain. Sideways glances lead to a few musicians not wanting to return to the stage. Billy's slurred speech and inability to remember a few of the names of folks around him, made it clear that a day of drinking liquor had caught up to him. That being said, there are two sides of the coins and many interpreted what had happened as a group of friends just drinking and having a good time. Ultimately, people paid for the product and what was output, was unacceptable. We made our way back to camp, communicating our disappointment while others passed by talking about how "magical" and "incredible" the set was. Fireworks lit up the night sky as campfires erupted and music poured out of the camps. Again, in the early hours of the morning, things began to quiet down as one by one, folks climbed into their popped up shelters.

Sunday August 17th:

We awoke, surprisingly feeling no worse for wear. Early risers had already started tearing down their camps and heading out as the layout of the land started to revert back to an open field. Garbage cans and recycling containers overflowed as the weekend's waste was collected. We wiped our eyes and headed over to the venue for coffee and an array of tacos, masala, gyros and more. The YarmonyGrass Allstars set turned out to be Tyler Grant and Andy Thorn leading the charge. Joints circulated to quell hangovers and picking commenced, for what would be a fantastic two hours of music. During the Allstars, Moe's BBQ set up a table with pulled pork and a couple of other items, calling it a buffet. At one point, the gentleman running the table started yelling at people for how much food they were piling on their plates. It was quite entertaining.

Back at camp, the tents came down, items made their way back to our vehicle and goodbyes were said. On the drive home, Roosevelt, our friend Tom and myself reflected on how great the weekend was. The vibe was incredible, the setup almost perfect, the staff was over the top helpful and the experience was exactly what we needed! This year's YarmonyGrass was the most enjoyable that we've attended to date and after that weekend, our group is set on making this an annual event with friends! Congratulations to the Yarmony staff on an incredible, sold out weekend in the mountains!

Kevin's Photo Gallery

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Greensky Bluegrass 8.3.14

Fox Theatre
Boulder, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel (OptiMystic Outlooks)

Few things would have lured me out to Boulder on a Sunday night. After all, I had work at 7:00 AM Monday morning. Greensky Bluegrass tipped the scale. My plan was, go grab some pictures, get a feel for the show, and maybe head home at set break. If it was really good, I thought, I'd stay until 11:00 PM. I was just trying to be a responsible adult.

I got situated in the small venue and waited for the mayhem. When the band took the stage, the crowd was primed. Nodding to Boulder's inaugural Ironman competition, the band opened with a quick tease of Black Sabbath's rocker, "I Am Ironman," before a segue lead to a grassy take on Prince's "When Doves Cry." And there was no doubt they were off and running. The crowd hung on every note... Puzzled, surprised, humored. The rest of the set was spirited, intricate, downright dirty bluegrass. I really enjoyed "Jaywalking," a favorite of mine since the first time I saw them. The set culminated in an extraordinary dobro jam that inched towards the crowd fave, "Atlantic City." The playing during this period of the show was simply bonkers. Anders Beck was dropping funky leads with a tone that balanced on the line between 70's, envelope-filter, Jerry Garcia funk guitar, and Robert Randolph pedal steel. Ultimately, the slinky groove picked up a little more speed until the melodic line that starts "Atlantic City" threw the crowd into a frenzy. I have seen a lot of shows, and the crowd energy at the end of that set was through the roof. The band seemed to know it too, smiling ear to ear with looks of utter disbelief on their faces. Sometime in the first set, mandolin player Paul Hoffman read a series of texts to the crowd. An audience member named Eric had actually quit his brand new job to attend the show. The band gave him a hat and the crowd applauded loudly.

Greensky Bluegrass Live at Fox Theatre on August 3, 2014.

Set One: When Doves Cry, Foggy Mountain Special, Just To Lie, Jaywalking, Bottle Dry, White House Blues, Worried About The Weather, Broke Mountain Breakdown> Atlantic City

Set Two: Demons, Old Barns, Back That Ass Up> Don't Lie, Wings For Wheels, Clinch Mountain Backstep, Dustbowl Overtures, Light Up Or Leave Me Alone> Rueben's Train> Light Up Or Leave Me Alone, Better Off, Wheel Hoss

Encore: Train Junkie> The Chain

By the time the first set ended I knew I was staying. No question. I grabbed a couple beers and headed back into the venue just in time to see the second set opener. The real surprise of the set was "Back That Ass Up." From there through a brilliant array of originals which included "Don't Lie," the band was unstoppable. The highlight was a lengthy version of Traffic's "Light Up or Leave Me Alone" which included a dobro- driven "Tweezer Reprise" theme in the jam. 11 o'clock came and went, and still I found myself captivated, unable to leave. Spellbound, with a whole theater of other entranced fans of electrifying entertainment. It seemed like the band loved Colorado, and the feeling was mutual.

To end the night, they played a pair of tunes, capping it off with Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain." It was beautiful, fine tuned, and creative. When the last notes tumbled forward, I turned my back and made my escape. Even with a few days to reflect, I was giddy over the performance. Greensky seemed to be in "the zone," high on the residual afterglow of Saturday's performance at Red Rocks. This was the best Greensky show I have seen, and one of the best shows I have seen in a while. I was ravenous for a recording, which appeared in soundboard form for free on What more could I have asked for?

Brad's Photo Gallery

Monday, August 11, 2014

PREVIEW: MusicMarauders Presents Two Nights of Marco Benevento 8.15 & 8.16.14

The 1up - Colfax
Denver, CO

Join us for two night of MusicMarauders Presents Marco Benevento with The New LPs (Friday) and Spring Dale Quartet & Friends and The Bonzo Terks (Saturday) at The 1up - Colfax venue/arcade in Denver, CO!

Purchase your FRIDAY tickets here:

Purchase your SATURDAY tickets here:

Sunday, August 10, 2014

YarmonyGrass Pre-Party feat. Members of Railroad Earth, Greensky Bluegrass, Infamous Stringdusters & Amos Lee 7.31.14

The 1up - Colfax
Denver, CO

Words By J. Picard
Photos By Jim Mimna (J. Mimna Photography)

July 31st was not just another Thursday in Denver, for that night, string music fans would gather for a magical evening that included some of their favorite musicians and unexpected happenings. Leading up to the event, the words "very special guests" were used to convey the significance of those who would turn out without utilizing their names as a handful would be playing Red Rocks in the days to follow. Acoustic duo, Wichita Run, got the evening started as folks began to filter through the door. Out in front of the venue a line started to form as Tim Carbone and Andy Goessling of Railroad Earth arrived. While walking through the arcade with Tim and Andy, it was great to see people stop what they were doing, take note of the guests and respond with pure joy. The incoming musicians were escorted backstage where they were greeted by Andrew McConathy and The Drunken Hearts, as well as Dave Bruzza of Greensky Bluegrass and Chris Pandolfi of The Infamous Stringdusters. The green room immediately came to life with musicians tuning their instruments, warming up and working out parts for the evening. Folks at The 1up - Colfax were in for a treat. Even the staff and those involved with the success of the show were in for a few surprises as the evening unfolded.

The Drunken Hearts took the stage as "The YarmonyGrass All Stars" to the delight of many of their fans who have taken to riding the rail at their recent shows. Following a few originals, McConathy called the first of the evening's guests to the stage. Halfway through the first set the cards were on the table as Facebook updates and tweets were sent out alerting those fans who were not present, what they were missing. The musicians seemed to be having so much fun playing with each other while the crowd got down and celebrated the impending conclusion of their work week. The vibe was so light and enjoyable with smiling faces floating through an adult paradise filled with classic arcade games from the past and momentary present. As the first set wound down, more fans and musicians continued to turn out to get in on the action.

Backstage, the energy level was high and there was some excitement about the possibility of Amos Lee turning out as he and his band were in town to play Red Rocks with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra the following night. A short time later the mixed group returned to finish what they had started. The fans were excited about the evening's guests and the amount of talent in the room. The evening's final guest was called to the stage to the surprise of everyone in attendance, including the staff and musicians themselves. Amos Lee took the stage with members of his band and members of the All Stars. The crowd responded accordingly and with appreciation. The Drunken Hearts returned and finished strong as the 2:00 AM hour approached.

Since the doors opened at 717 E. Colfax Avenue, The 1up has been a who's who of talent, both on stage and off, with people turning out form all over the country to witness the high quality product the venue is outputting. That night, The 1up featured a plethora of folks who would be taking the Red Rocks stage that weekend. Aside from the incredible concept of mixing a top notch arcade with a top of the line venue, The 1up - Colfax has literally become a hang out for musicians on a national level. Folks like Andrew McConathy and The Drunken Hearts continue to draw fantastic guests and make for magical evenings on Colfax. That night, the proof was in the pudding.

Jim's Photo Gallery

Friday, August 8, 2014

Kung Fu, Juno What, Euforquestra & Punch Drunk Munky Funk 7.26.14

Bellvue, Colorado
Mishawaka Amphitheatre

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)
Audio By Eric Wilkens

I apologize for the number of times I use the word "funk" in the following review. There is no synonym for funk.

Funk. The dirtiest style of music there is. Derived from the back alleys of Blues, the shadowy underworld of Jazz, and the dark side of Soul. According to Old Gregg, "The funk is a living creature from another planet." On Saturday night in the sleepy little town of Bellvue, Colorado at the famed Mishawaka Amphitheatre the funk came home to roost. After an extraordinarily funky night in Denver, Kung Fu, Juno What, Euforquestra, and Punch Drunk Munky Funk kept the train rolling with a seven-hour celebration of all things funky.

Punch Drunk Munky Funk got the night started with their blend of soulful Jazz and dirty jams. They were already on stage when the second bus up the canyon arrived. I got in quickly because this band sounded amazing. Originals like “Double Richard” and a ridiculously tight rendition of Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved” made for a very enjoyable set. They are a band focused on rock steady funkiness with a bright future on the circuit.

Next on the menu for the evening was a heaping helping of local heroes, Euforquestra. They were added later, but a welcomed addition to the lineup. They opened with their tight syncopated funk with their original song, “Momo.”

Euforquestra Live at Mishawaka on July 26, 2014.

Set One: Momo, Ride On The Funky Train*, Price Is Right, Don’t Boom Boom, Get You Moving, Fire, Hard Time*, I Want You (She’s So Heavy)**, Instant Coffee

*w/ Kim Dawson on vocals
**Have A Cigar by Pink Floyd Teases

Euforquestra is a touring force that continues to play multiple runs across the entire United States. Their blend of World, Afrobeat, Funk, Soul and Jam continues to develop as the years go by. Recently they have invited a rotating cast of horn players and percussionists to join in on the fun. At this particular show, long time friend and former member, Matt Grundstad, was on percussion and Jon Stewart, from Supercollider, was on sax. They also invited powerhouse singer, Kim Dawson, up for a few songs as well. All in all this was a great chance to see Euforquestra at the Mish after quite some time away. Fires, flooding, and everything else God can muster has kept Euforquestra from gracing the Mishawaka with their presence. Kim sitting on “Funky Train” was a huge highlight of the entire night. However, the showstopper was a powerfully funky rendition of The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” which included a beautiful segue into Pink Floyd’s “Have A Cigar” before returning back on course. They closed their set with a snappy “Instant Coffee.”

Electro-dance party explosion, Juno What!?, came to the stage quickly after Euforquestra disappeared into the night. Lead by Joey Porter, best known as the keyboardist to The Motet, Juno What seems to have gone through some changes since the last time I caught them live. Originally touring as a trio with Dave Watts and Steve Watkins, Juno What is now a four piece with Garrett Sayers on bass and synth bass, Dan Schwindt on guitar, and Tyrone Hendrix on drums. I have to say the new lineup seems to have re-energized this band’s sound. Juno What got the night going strong with their unique take on modern love, “Sex With A Stranger.” The electro-funk continued with a huge “ElectroCity.” Joey seems less focused on utilizing his talk box the entire time giving this awesome band he’s assembled more time to just jam on the funk. The obvious highlight was Juno What’s anthem cover of Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue.”

Finally, after over three hours of opening music it was time for the main event, Kung Fu. I feel like people don’t really know who Kung Fu is and where they come from. The fact is that Kung Fu is a super group of the funkiest proportions. Comprised of Tim Palmieri on Guitar (The Breakfast), Todd Stoops on keys (RAQ), Rob Sommerville on sax (Deep Banana Blackout), Chris DeAngelis on bass (The Breakfast), and Adrian Tramontano on drums (The Breakfast), Kung Fu is a conversion of talent the likes of which the world of Funk rarely sees. Their show at The Mishawaka was a blend of Electronica, Funk, Jam, Rock, Jazz, and more. They opened with their hard-hitting track “Gung Ho.”

Kung Fu Live at Mishawaka on July 26, 2014.

Set One: Gung Ho, Hollywood Kisses, Chin Music, Steppin In It, You’ve Got The Love*, Paragon, Cramp Your Style, Samurai, S’all Good, Do The Right Thing

Encore: Standin’ On The Verge

*w/ Kim Dawson

The air was quickly filled with the heavy rhythms of funk. Kung Fu alternates between instrumental journeys into the darkest realms of funk and lyrical adventures. “Hollywood Kisses” was a searing shred fest that saw some solid playing from Palmieri on guitar. They invited the talented Kim Dawson up for “You’ve Got The Love." Their ninety minute set was chocked full of tight collaborations and funky goodness. Strong renditions of “Samurai” and “Do The Right Thing” helped to make this show truly enjoyable. This is a band on fire right now. Kung Fu is well known on the East Coast. They have been working tirelessly to make inroads out West for the last couple of years. Hopefully this headlining run with a strong cast of local characters will give them the traction they need. Their show at The Mishawaka was an absolute blast. So if you find yourself in a funky mood check out Kung Fu. You won’t be disappointed.

Nick’s Photo Gallery

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

PREVIEW: YarmonyGrass 8.15 - 8.17.14

Rancho Del Rio
Bond, CO

Join us for one of our favorite Colorado music festivals, YarmonyGrass, taking place Friday August 15th - Sunday August 17th at Rancho Del Rio in Bond, CO! This year's line-up swings for the fence with the following bands and musicians:

All festival tickets include camping, music, workshops, direct access to the Colorado River and all associated facility fees. YarmonyGrass encourages all festival-goers to carpool. Parking is NOT included with purchase of a festival ticket. You must purchase a separate parking pass. Also, please note the special parking restrictions for RVs and boat trailers. Rancho Del Rio will open to YarmonyGrass patrons at 1:00 PM on Friday, August 15th. Campsites are a short walk from the river and stages!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Phish 7.18 - 7.20.14

FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
Chicago, IL

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)

Friday July 18th:

By the time Phish landed in Chicago on July 18th they had already proven that the summer of 2014 was going to be a high point of the 3.0 era. With the release of their newest album Fuego, Phish is a band reenergized and ready to strike out into untapped musical territories. They hit the ground at full throttle with impressive runs at SPAC and Randall’s Island so expectations were high as fans flowed inside on night one. This is Phish’s second year spending three nights at FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island and as you walk inside, it’s obvious why. First of all, the skyline views are grand. This thoughtful venue is laid out well with grandstand seating framing the spacious GA Floor. The lawn is slightly larger with ample vending and easy access to bathrooms. I heard complaints that it was hard to see from the lawn last year, but I found the view from there to be quite majestic with a huge cityscape background.

Each night the band emerged around a quarter to 8 PM while the sun was hanging low in the sky. The golden hour basked the audience in a warm light as Phish ripped into the new Gordon sung, “555.”

Set One: 555, Kill Devil Falls, Bouncing Around the Room> Reba, Waiting All Night, Birds of a Feather, Halfway to the Moon> Sparkle> Sample in a Jar, A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing> Stash, The Squirming Coil

Set Two: Golden Age> The Mango Song, Sand-> Piper-> Halley’s Comet-> Wombat> Chalk Dust Torture> Slave to the Traffic Light

Encore: Julius

This first night was a mixed bag of nuts. Incredible highlights juxtaposed against some sloppy transitions made for an interesting experience overall. The first set began in a routine manner with a heavy “Kill Devil Falls” and a clean “Bouncing Around the Room.” The “Reba” was the first curveball stretching on with a tight buttery jam. We were treated to another new tune with “Waiting All Night” which included some striking vocal harmonizing. “Birds of a Feather” was an excellent touch, while the “Halfway to the Moon” took on a brooding tone. “Sparkle” into “Sample” again stuck to the script. “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” seems to be becoming a bit more common having already appeared twice this summer. The segue into “Stash” was tasty, but “The Squirming Coil” was a delicious close to the first set. The band left Page to his own devices to finish the song and his piano solo seemed to go on and on much to the delight of the enamored audience.

The second set is where things got dicey. The “Golden Age” was a noteworthy jam stretching over seventeen minutes and including some of the best improvisation of the night. “The Mango Song” was shaky, but still enjoyable. The “Sand” built very well before the jam seemed to fall off a cliff and disintegrate into an off timed “Piper.” From here things improved with a tight, protracted “Halley’s Comet.” “Wombat” was absolutely off the chain and again saw the band dribbling into Type II territory. The atypical combination of “Chalk Dust Torture” into “Slave to the Traffic Light” was a powerful statement to close the second set. They returned with a quick but rowdy “Julius” to end the night. While this show contained a few missed cues, Phish ultimately pushed on to put on one hell of a show. The song selection was unusual which made for a unique experience. With one night down it was apparent that the boys from Vermont were finding their groove. Two more nights on the Island would give them plenty opportunity for a flawless performance.

Saturday July 19th:

Once again the weather would be perfect all night long. This was a relief for those that made the inaugural trip to Northerly with Phish in 2013. Torrential rains throughout that weekend actually stopped the band from playing a second set on night one. They returned with three sets on Saturday to make it up to fans. While a three set show was an extraordinary experience for those in attendance, I was much happier to just have three shows go off without a hitch in the weather. Like night one, the show would feature a song-heavy first set and some focused jamming in set number two. They started the night funky with a dirty “Moma Dance.”

Set One: The Moma Dance, Wolfman’s Brother, Devotion To a Dream, 46 Days, Yarmouth Road, Brian and Robert, Wingsuit, Tube> Free> Roggae, Heavy Things> Run Like an Antelope

Set Two: Carini > Waves> Fuego> Twist> Light> Twenty Years Later> Harry Hood> Cavern

Encore: Grind, Bug, Suzy Greenberg

This show shook off the ghosts of night one by taking us on a musical journey that will not be soon forgotten. The funk continued gracefully through “Wolfman’s Brother." The parade of new songs off of Fuego continued with “Devotion To A Dream.” Phish took the opportunity to rock out on “46 Days.” Original Mike Gordon Band tune, “Yarmouth Road,” has found a good fit with Phish. “Brian and Robert” served as a nostalgic breather before the boys took off again on the title track that never was, “Wingsuit.” “Tube” got weird and contained a massively appropriate “Smoke On The Water” tease. They transitioned marvelously into a cathartic “Free” that felt more like church than a rock concert. They again took us back down with a well-timed “Roggae.” Phish continued with a straightforward “Heavy Things” that transformed into a decisively executed “Run Like an Antelope.”

The second set took us into the upper stratosphere of musical possibilities. They took us down a dark road with their set opening, “Carini.” This tune has become a means for the band to give us a heavier style of improvisation, which was the case again in Chicago. The beautiful “Waves” could not extinguish the blistering “Fuego which saw Fishman giving us a “Little Drummer Boy” tease. The set continued unmitigated with an animated “Twist.” They went into a huge “Light,” which continues to be yet another tool in the box for musical extemporization; this time lasting well past expectations. “Twenty Years Later” worked as a transition to the show peak “Harry Hood.” This particular “Hood” was a deep trip down the rabbit hole with some extensive Type II jamming. They closed the second set with an explosive “Cavern.”

The encore felt like another mini set starting with the acapella song, “Grind.” Afterwards they retreated to their instruments for a spicy “Bug.” This tune has evolved from its nascent roots as borderline pop into a real showstopper. Phish finished strong with a punchy “Suzy Greenberg.” This was a distinctive night two show from the boys from Vermont. It had everything, crowd-pleasing classics, gigantic jams, and a nice spattering of new tunes. With two nights down, we could only imagine what would float to the shore for the last hurrah.

Phish After Show with Particle + DJ Logic:

In sort of a random way we found ourselves on Navy Pier boarding the Spirit Of Chicago Yacht for some late night shenanigans with some incredibly talented musicians. The night started with a couple hundred kids streaming onboard to sounds of DJ Logic on the top deck. He played for about 40 minutes while the super group assembled below. The ‘house band’ consisted of Steve Molitz from Particle, Kris Myers from Umphrey’s McGee, Fareed Haque of Garage Mahal fame, Clay Parnell from Brothers Past, and a couple of the guys from Old Shoe tossed in for good measure. What followed was a two-hour jam that showcased the amazing musicians who set sail with us.

The boat itself was posh to say the least, complete with multiple bars and a catered food. The original cost of $100 a ticket my have deterred some would be sailors, but I’m glad we managed to hop on this ride. The boat undocked and headed out into the darkness of Lake Michigan. We drifted out a bit giving us a panoramic view of the city, which alone was worth the price of admission.

The music stretched on even after we made it back to Navy Pier. It was a great jam session and a wonderful way to end the night. Now finding a cab afterwards was a different story.

Sunday July 20th:

Phish’s final night at Northerly Island was arguably the best of the three-night run. It most certainly featured some of the most extraordinary jamming of the weekend. They opened with “Gumbo” for the first time since 1998.

Set One: Gumbo> Runaway Jim, Tela, The Line, Scent of a Mule*> Bathtub Gin> Silent In The Morning> Maze> Ocelot> Walls of the Cave

Set Two: Down with Disease**> Winterqueen> Theme From the Bottom> Mike’s Song> The Wedge, Ghost> Weekapaug Groove, First Tube

Encore: Character Zero

*Fish on Marimba Lumina and all four band members on Fish’s drum set.

The soup drained into an energetic “Runaway Jim.” The somewhat rare “Tela” had not been performed in almost a year, this particular version was a nice touch that seemed to float over the crowd. New song, “The Line,” appeared giving us our first taste of Fuego for night three. Phish then proceeded to launch off into one of the most dynamic and musically innovative “Scent of a Mule(s)” since their return. The “Mule” riffing continued in a tremendously timed “Bathtub Gin.” They segued smoothly into the more relaxed “Silent In The Morning.” I’m still waiting for the return of “Horse.” The band threw down the gauntlet with a tight “Maze” before moving on to a vibrant “Ocelot.” They closed with a dark “Walls of the Cave.” This song too seems to be making a comeback on set lists as of late. The first set featured some awesome give and take along with otherworldly improvisation. Set two would take it up another notch before we would all say our goodbyes.

They opened with an unfinished “Down With Disease” that definitely got everyone’s attention. This was only the fifth performance of the bubbly “Winterqueen.” It was a nice calm before the storm of songs on deck. “Theme From The Bottom” manufactured a palpable rise in the energy level before they broke into a predictable “Mike’s Song.” Here’s were they went off script. “The Wedge” took us on a musical adventure pushing the fifteen-minute mark. This version contained a deep funky jam that took the audience full circle. They continued on with another sick jam on “Ghost” which continued the funky flow. Phish then kicked on the turbo with a slaphappy “Weekapaug Groove.” They closed the second set with a spacey “First Tube.” They bid adieu with a rocked out “Character Zero.”

After a first night with a couple of aborted jams, Phish set down a path to focus on putting on two stellar shows against the skyline of Chicago. The weather was absolutely perfect for all three nights. The venue was an experience in itself. Standing on the grandstand while random fireworks blasted off in the distance on night two was a personal highlight. Phish is an unstoppable musical force capable of absolutely anything. Over the course of three nights in the Windy City, they proved that one more time.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Phish 7.16.14 (Parents Night)

DTE Energy Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI

Words By J. Picard
Photos By Jessica Pace & J. Picard

The summer schedule was quickly filling up leaving us with just a few options to see Phish. As dates fell into place, it seemed only fitting that we would head back to my home town of Detroit, MI to enjoy Phish among friends and family. A lengthy drive through the ruins and returns of Detroit with my folks took us across the Ambassador Bridge to Canada and back before heading down to Mexican Village to meet up with some of our best friends; Matt, Teri, Andy and Zach. That night over copious amounts of queso and tortillas, we monitored the live setlist updates out of CMAC and discussed the following night's potential. The conversation of "parents night" came up and to my surprise, Tom (my father) joined the scenario. That night we rode out to the farm with Matt and Teri knowing full well the glory the following day would bring. Brilliant sunlight cast over the green grass of the farm as birds chirped, bringing us into consciousness. The day was finally upon us, as that night would mark my return to Pine Knob/DTE Energy Music Theatre for the first time in about a decade to see one of the greatest touring bands on the globe!

As the day of preparations wound down, friends began showing up at the farm to hop on the motorhome. With a heap of alcohol and finger foods, we made our way towards the venue down winding roads with Matt at the helm. Around the 5:00 PM hour we pulled onto the venue's tree-bordered lot. We spotted familiar faces immediately as we located the perfect spot next to a tree between VIP and handicap parking. Within' minutes the spread was folded out of the motorhome and friends gathered from several directions. It was great to see so many Michigan friends and meet their fairly open-minded parents, for it's not everyday we do parents night at Phish. Across the lot we found our friend, the Senator, cooking up free vegan tacos for the community. While devouring a taco, Mike Gordan (bass) rode by on a golf kart filming the action on his cell phone. On our walk back to home base, we glanced down to find the ground score of a life time, a wad of cash within' eye shot of shakedown street. That night, our tickets, drinks, food and gas would be paid for.

Shortly before heading into the venue, my father showed up for his first Phish show. We cleaned up our pre-party, made a few introductions and headed in to DTE Music Theatre to find a spot on the lawn. Shortly after locating some space, my brother found us on the hill. It was an amazing feeling to find myself amidst so many people that I knew, in my home state, at a venue that I used to consider home turf. The sun was starting to set as the boys from Vermont hit the stage and began with "Wolfman's Brother." Eight minutes after it began and through some ripping guitar work from Trey, the evening was underway to the delight of the Detroit crowd! The newer "Devotion To A Dream" came next and featured a great mid-section followed by characteristic alternating vocals. Trey hit the intro notes to "Wilson" triggering the crowd to yell the song's title with excitement before the song kicked in and Page McConnell ripped up the keys. A short time later the band transitioned into "Poor Heart," with a near bluegrass bounce that had the crown moving in a fluid motion.

My father turned to me and said "look at the crowd bouncing up and down," as he motioned with his hands. "Poor Heart" transitioned into "The Moma Dance," with Page's clav sounding click meshing with Mike's bass. "The guitarist is really good" my dad stated. "Yes he is," I said with a smile. "Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan" followed with Jon Fishman going full steam on the drums and Trey speaking through his guitar, which at this point has become an extension of his body. The song built and built until the band tore it down and built again. "Lawn Boy" was next up with Page stepping to the front of the stage to handle the vocal responsibilities. "Yarmouth Road" featured Mike's off tune vocals for a short poppy segment that turned into "Rift." Jon's cowbell taps lead to strong harmonies and Trey's eventual take over. "The Line" was vocally driven and fit perfectly into the set as it neared the end.

"It's Ice" picked the pace back up as it meandered through a bunch of cool phrasing and descending notation. I glanced down towards my friends at the back of the pavilion and was humored to see two of my friends' fathers staring up at the hill full of crazy Phish fans getting down to the madness that Phish was outputting. "It's Ice" went into "46 Days" to close the first set. The song featured some heavy instrumentation from start to finish! The lights came up on the field and the house music came on triggering traffic in all directions. We made our way down to the back of the handicap section to engage in conversation with friends and family. "Do you know how important and influential your son is to this whole group of people? He turned them all on to Phish and they look up to him a lot," I said to my Andy's father. Matt and Teri walked up and in that moment, I took a deep breath and exhaled. I was so happy to be home in Michigan.

The second set kicked off with "Mike's Song" and dreadlocked hippies spinning throughout the lawn. The jam dug deep into the Phish vein and flowed like a river of notes heading towards a dam that was sure to break. "Mike's Song" transitioned into a beautiful "Ghost" that spanned nearly twelve minutes and may have been the sonic highlight of the evening. With Trey's tones waxing and waning Phish went into "Prince Caspian." The short song made a turn for "Backwards Down the Number Line," who's jam has become quite extensive as of late, before dropping into "Weekapaug Groove!" It was one of the show highlights and got weird as it rolled into "Cavern," with explosions of glowsticks from throughout the crowd! With a crescendo the band transitioned into "Piper!" The tempo began to increase in speed to a quick pace as Trey shredded. Page took over and they went into "Waiting All Night" to slow it down a touch, only to speed it back up with "Tweezer!" It was enjoyable, though not as over the top as many would have hoped as it turned into the title track off of their new album, "Fuego." Through nine fantastic minutes the band threw down on a song that they have been performing for a mere seven months live. The band took the music as low as it could go before "Tweezer Reprise" went pedal to the metal to close the a second set that up until that point had not stopped!

A short time later the four piece powerhouse returned to the stage to encore with a song they have never before encored with, Deodato's "Also Sprach Zarathustra!" The bell rang out as the groove poured from the stage prior to the initial build up. The band hit huge peaks the resolved to danceable jams before building once again. At the final peak of "2001," the band segued into the final song of the evening, "Possum!" The atmosphere was extremely blissful on the hill and how could it not be? Many were witnessing their favorite band peaking yet again on the road that is their expansive career. Phish finished the show strong ripping through "Possum!" The house lights and music came up as wide-eyed folks scattered about the venue. Our group met at the back of the handicap section and made our way back to the motorhome. With a lot of head scratching at play, we collected our belongings, said our goodbye to our friends and family and made our way back to the farm. The evening began late and ended early with a plethora of nonsense. It felt good to be home...

Set One: Wolfman's Brother, Devotion To a Dream, Wilson > Poor Heart > The Moma Dance, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Lawn Boy, Yarmouth Road > Rift, The Line, It's Ice > 46 Days

Set Two: Mike's Song > Ghost > Prince Caspian[1] > Backwards Down the Number Line > Weekapaug Groove[1] > Cavern > Piper > Waiting All Night > Tweezer > Fuego > Tweezer Reprise

Encore: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Possum

[1] Unfinished.