New Years was here, and at this point it seemed strange to think of ending each night without a Yonder fiesta. Darol Anger, the ‘unofficial fifth band member’, would be joining the boys on the fiddle. Between excitement for the countdown, and all the energy from yesterday’s rowdy shakedown, we were ready to go.
After what seemed like an eternity of anticipation, Yonder walked on stage. Right away comes ‘If You’re Ever In Oklahoma’. The fiddle adds noticeable depth the sound, and meshes effortlessly with the rest of the strings. ‘Jack A Roe’ is next. I particularly enjoy Adam’s vocals on this one. His pitch syncs nicely with each note.
To our enjoyment ‘Rambler’s Anthem’ follows. With yesterday being the Rag Mama/Doll set, it would seem tonight would be full of Ramblin. Then, the fiddle comes in low and ominous as ‘Polly Put The Kettle On’ begins the instrumental. The familiar rhythm comes and goes in between jammin, with a particularly nice banjo solo from the Dave train. I always appreciate an instrumental; rather than the vocals drawing a lot of the focus, more energy is put into the jam, leaving more time for added exploration.
The strings seem to mesh with even greater intricacies in ‘One More’. It’s a moment where you can listen to each instrument, pulling the sound apart, before it’s all one unit again.
Jeff mentions a new song will be played, to which Ben adds, “Don’t worry about it thought it’s not like if Rush came out at Red Rocks and said they were gonna play their new record; it’s way better than that, you have nothing to fear.”
With that, ‘Lonesome Letter’ plays. It’s a slower paced song with a nice, simple melody and vocals from Adam. “That’s Adam and Dave’s brains working together,” Ben mentions.
One of my first Yonder favorites, ‘Pass This Way’, makes an appearance next. The tone is soulful, and once again Dave’s killin it on the banjo. Fortunately, no strings were injured this time around, and Darol really delivers on the fiddle towards the end of the jam.
I hear ‘Lord Only Knows’ for the first time next. It’s a short song, but I really enjoyed it. It’s upbeat and offers up some vocals from all the boys singing together. Then ‘Southern Flavor’ brings a fast-paced ominous rhythm. It’s a real symphony of strings with some serious mandolin shreddin. The chord progression brings a sound unlike anything I’m used to hearing. I really enjoyed it.
Next up is ‘Romance Blues‘, which really highlights the fiddle. The mood is immediately heightened as ‘On the Run‘ begins. Everyone sings along with Ben before the jam breaks way. It starts off quiet and steady before Darol starts doing crazy things on the fiddle. It had been amazing before, but now we were blown away.
Then ‘On the Run’ grows silent and turns into a lengthy and jam heavy ‘Dawn’s Early Light’. In between Jeff’s verses it’s the strings turn to serenade us. With so much time to jam we’re treated to quiet moments, build ups, and peaks over and over again. Then we’re back to finish up ‘On the Run’. The volume has amplified this time around, growing louder by the second. The fiddle combines with the banjo before the song concludes. And like that, the first set is done.
Glancing around during set break brings anticipation for midnight. Balloons hang above us, and various shiny noise makers appear in every direction.
Soon the boys return and bring back the ramblin tunes with a quick ‘Ramblin in the Rambler’. As the song ends Jeff asks, “who feels like a polka?”. Cheers erupt as ‘Polka on A Banjo’ begins. You can feel the excitement in the air as we all groove along. The second set is already full of energy. “And now the continued story of the rambler!” Jeff announces. ‘Ramblin Reprise’ it is.
Then comes the song we’d been anticipating here in Boulder; It’s ‘40 Miles From Denver’. As I look around there isn’t a shortage of smiling faces in sight. The entire audience sings along; it’s a good moment in the Boulder Theater.
Ben finishes singing and comments, “Tick tock, tick tock.; it’s getting closer and I’m very excited for this one”. So are we Ben!
Next we hear from Adam as ‘Spanish Harlem Incident’ quickens the pace once again. A groovy ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’ follows, with midnight fast approaching.
With a minute to spare Jeff offers some kind words to the crowd and then we countdown…..‘Happy New Year!!!’
Balloons fall from the ceiling, champagne is popped, noise-makers erupt, and many a hug are shared. As the balloons continue to pop a ‘Gut Feeling/Slap Your Mammy’ cover begins. The theater is rockin away; It’s a happy New Year indeed.
“Man that was intense,” Ben comments.
The pace relaxes a little with ‘Just the Same’, but excitement lingers nonetheless.
“For my first selection of 2013 I’m going to sing a new song for you.”
“Well Ben, it’s not new for everybody,” Adam mentions.
“No, my resolution was to lie to them; everything I say”.
With that comes ‘Smiles Like She’s Always Been A Friend’. It’s an enjoyable tune with a steady melody. Ben continues singing through ‘Finally Saw the Light’. This was another one I heard for the first time live tonight, and it was definitely heartfelt and well-played.
‘Free to Run’ begins to bring a quickness back to the night’s rhythm with more stand-out mandolin and fiddle playing. The familiar notes of ‘Keep on Going’ ring out next. It’s a definite crowd favorite, and another one of the songs that first got me into Yonder.
The good times roll on as the jam breaks into ‘All the Time’; Yonder bliss fills the air, and some bluesy bass lines too.
“We are truly blessed!” Jeff says.
The final verses of ‘Keep on Going’ echo through the theater as the set comes to a close. Can it really be that time?
Luckily the boys are back in no time for their encore which begins with a quick ‘Boots’. I’m glad this one didn’t get left behind. The dancin continues with ‘Crow Black Chicken’, which is always a fun one.
Cheers and one lone noise-maker erupt from the crowd. Then Jeff adds, “I think we’ll see you back at Red Rocks this summer.” Great to hear.
It just keeps getting better as ‘Angel’ begins. The boys always kill it with this one, and with an added fiddle to mix it’s even more badass. As the song winds down the notes turn into ‘Dear Prudence’. “Look around round round” we do, and there’s Yonder smiles in every direction. Before long spacey string noises fill the air, slowly building as the boys finish out ‘Angel’.
As the house music plays we dance around and ‘celebrate good times’. The run may have ended, but a Yonderful year had just begun.