Leftover Salmon feat. Andy Hall and Bill Payne 8.31.14

Cervantes Masterpiece
Denver, CO

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock

Very few things will lure me out after a Phish show. I mean honestly what’s the point? Phish is the pinnacle; they are the peak of the mountain. So to go through the trouble of heading to another bar/venue to see another band seems like a bit much, unless that other band is Leftover Salmon. For the second consecutive year Leftover Salmon has announced an after-Phish show at Cervantes. This year they definitely waited until the last minute to let us know. There was a conspicuously blank spot on the calendar on Cervantes’ website following two days with Fishman’s side project, Touchpants. When they finally did announce, barely a week before the Dick’s run, it didn’t take long for word to spread. I made the easy decision to venture out after three nights of Phish.

Luckily my brother had to drive home and Cervantes was only moderately out of his way. I arrived around 12:40 AM and right at 1:00 AM the band fired up into full gear. They of course had their regular cast of characters including the legendary Bill Payne from Little Feat. This time around Salmon also invited Andy Hall of The Infamous Stringdusters to join in the fun.

Set One: Country Blues> Six Feet of Snow, Big Boss Man*, Cat Fever, Zydeco Boogaloo > Boilin Creek> When the Levee Breaks, Oh Atlanta**, Henry, Deep Ellum Blues*, Mercury Blues, Blister In The Sun, Danger Man, Rivers Risin’

Encore: Reuben’s Train

*w/ Andy Hall on Vocals
*w/ Mike Gordon on Bass (sans Garrison)

Leftover Salmon continues to deliver some of the best live performances happening in our scene today. They have finally found their groove with the somewhat recent additions of Payne on keys and Alwyn Robinson on drums. They are always open to collaboration, which was evident on Sunday night. Infamous Stringduster and dobro player, Andy Hall, emerged with the band and never left during the entire two hour affair. Their song selection was a great blend of classic Salmon as well as covers inspired by the guests. “Country Blues” built into a beautiful cacophony with Drew taking the first turn on vocals. Drew Emmitt’s honeyed voice is mesmerizing, as he effortlessly kills it every time he sings. The song gave way to a rendition of Little Feat’s “Six Feet of Snow.” From there Andy Hall got on the mic for a Pigpen-esque version of Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man.” We were again treated to a Little Feat classic, this time “Cat Fever” with Payne tickling the ivory gracefully. After a delicious Cajun style jam on “Zydeco Boogaloo” the boys went into “Boilin Creek.” Drew again wowed the audience with a psychedelic-reggae interpretation of
Led Zeppelin’s “When The Levee Breaks.” From here Vince welcomed Mr. Mike Gordon to the stage as he walked up, Greg Garrison handed off his bass and headed backstage. Payne thanked Mike for performing the song they were about to play at Phish’s 2010 Halloween run where they played "Waiting For Columbus" in total. Payne fired up the circus with an extended piano solo before inviting everyone to join in on our third Little Feat tune of the night, “Oh Atlanta.” Gordon left, Greg returned, and Salmon went into “Henry.” Hall sang marvelously on a smoking version of The Grateful Dead’s “Deep Elum Blues.” The band kicked into high gear for “Mercury Blues” made famous by Alan Jackson and all those car commercials in the 80’s. Vince really must be getting into that Northwest vibe, because Salmon went into a zydeco-tinged version of The Violent Femmes’ “Blister In The Sun.” “Danger Man” was a high-energy slap to the face saying, ‘Wake up and keep dancing.’ They closed the set with an incredible “Rivers Risin’.” Leftover called it a show around 3:30 AM with a tasty “Rueben’s Train.”

I headed out and flagged a cab back to the campground at Dick’s. The cabbie was fairly confused informing me that, ‘the concert is over man.’ Not for me it’s not. Leftover Salmon put on a top-notch performance for all the weary Phish fans. Not to mention the noteworthy musical collaborations, which were the cornerstone of this show. Andy Hall was an awesome choice for a sit in that lasted the whole set. Payne might as well make it official and become a full-fledged member. He pretty much already is. As for Mike Gordon popping in, that was icing on the cake. A great big quadruple layer Salmon cake and it was delectable. I would not be surprised to see a late announcement of LoS at Cervantes around the same time next year.

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