A Last Minute “Snow Jam” Takes Asheville by Storm

Review and Videos by Lori S. Twohy       Photos by Tom Farr

For most of us locals in Asheville Sunday was to be a day of relaxing and recovering from an already epic weekend of music brought to us by our annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam with this years event featuring some great regulars from the jam scene including Mike Gordon from Phish, Grace Potter and Marco Benevento. There was of course, some blues and country to round out a great balance to please everyones style of music, especially for those of us who live in the south. 

But the big surprise guest was alternative rocks superstar from The Foo Fighters (and of course the legendary Nirvana) Dave Grohl, who was scheduled to bring us his first live performance of “Play,” his 23 minute song and mini-doc in which he played all the instruments for the studio version. But this was live and performed with an all star line up of musicians in his band from Them Crooked Vultures and Janes Addiction.

It was the highlight of the night on Saturday and it didn’t stop there, because Dave also played a duet on the set break side stage with Mr. Haynes of Foo Fighters “Times Like These” followed by a sweet solo acoustic version of their biggest hit, “Everlong.”

Just a bit later, we get another Dave treat when he joins Gov’t Mule on stage for a smoking cover of Neil Young’s, ” Rocking in the Free World.”

I can only speak my friends and I, but I bet almost everyone there was just as blown away and just as hungry for more and out of the blue, thanks to winter storm Diego, we go it and then some the very next day.

It was around 4:30 in the afternoon Sunday. My friends and I were all starting our day, after sleeping in for most of it, and we started to hear the rumors that due to the big storm, many musicians from the night before, including Dave, were stuck in town and there was going to be a last minute “pop-up” show, featuring more Haynes and Grohl, at our local favorite venue, The Orange Peel.

My first thought was, I better try and get a media pass for JBO, because Im sure the tickets will probably be around a hundred dollars for something so intimate and so special, with such legends. Thirty minutes hadn’t even gone by before it was right there on my Iphone screen, as a facebook event, with a link to buy tickets.

So of course, I clicked it and my jaw dropped when I saw the price. These tickets were not a hundred. They weren’t even fifty. They were only TEN BUCKS! TEN BUCKS? WHAT?!!! Um, yeah…I think I can pull that off without needing to track down media credentials. 

My friends and I scooped some of these up and a few hours later we were at the Peel without any clue about what we might be in for. Would it be all Gov’t Mule, ABB, Nirvana and Foo Fighter songs, would it be covers? Who else would be on stage? It was so fun to not know for sure and there were smiles all around on everyones face as we all waited together in anticipation.

Then it started. Right out of the gate, it was on fire opening with our second “Play” experience by Dave Grohl and Friends followed by the first or many classic rock covers of the night; Led Zeppelin’s “Since I’ve Been Loving You” played by Gov’t Mule with Grohl on drums. Then Audley Freed from the Black Crows joins the party for an epic Tom Petty classic, “You Don’t Know How it Feels” that definitely made everyone start to sing a long in Toms memory. 

Next, we got what we were all hoping for; a very rare experience of getting to see a member of Nirvana play one of their songs. Mule with Dave on drums (of course) and some of his “Play” musicians went into a beautiful version of “All Apologies” with Warren on vocals. I doubt there was a single person in the audience who didn’t know how lucky they were. It was indescribably beautiful.

More Petty was next and we were just fine with that. Dave came out to the front and played guitar and sang lead vocals for “Breakdown”

And what came next blew everyone into a frenzy. It was none other then the Beatles most hard rocking song, “Helter Skelter (video below)”. Dave, Warren and crew blew the roof off the Peel with an alternative hard rocking edge. This was by far the biggest highlight of the night for me personally.

An all star classic rock cover night wouldn’t be complete without some Rolling Stones and their version of “Bitch” did not disappoint. 

When they started to leave the stage, we thought it was over, except for maybe the encore, but nope. It was only the end of set one, just like any great jam bands show has. 

After a nice break to chat with friends, hit the bathroom and grab a drink, the music was back full force with none other then Dave back on drums and Warren singing “Hunger Strike” by Temple of the Dog into “Dear Mr Fantasy” by Traffic and back into “Hunger Strike.”

Are we at a jam band show, a 90s alternative rock show, or a classic rock tribute show? Every aspect of those three were perfectly blended and extremely appreciated. What a mix!?

A classic rock cover show would not be complete without The Who and of course they chose my all time favorite Who song, “Eminence Front.” 

Last, but not least, they ended the second set with an incredible dark and beautiful version of Zeppelins “No Quarter.”

The show wrapped up with all the musicians of the night, including the ex drummer of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Artemis Pyle for “Simple Man (video below)” of all things. Wow! 

Other highlights of the night were the couple of times Warren or Dave spoke to us. Warren told us, “Some times it’s good to get snowed in.” This inspired Dave Grohl to later chime in and say the same thing adding in how much he was loving Asheville, and explaining how he had never been here before so he’s here to, “Make up for lost time.”

Most of the set list anyway

Thank you Warren, Dave and all the other musicians who helped us get through Diego in such an epic way, by charging us only a small fraction of what this concert was worth to most of us.

Im sure Im not the only audience member to proclaim that this was probably in my top five best concerts of all times. You made us Asheville locals and stranded Christmas Jam visitors very happy with a story we will be able to tell for the rest of our lives!  

Helter Skelter

 

  


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