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?

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