Nov
17
(522 Views / 4 Upvotes)
1 Replies

Setlist, Attendance, and Recordings for: 2017-11-10 - Aggie Theater, Fort Collins, CO

Before delving into this review, a little background is in order. Any concert review is by definition personal in nature and the peak experience I had at the Fort Collins show is the result of a unique combination of factors. I discovered Spafford sometime in 2016, the result of a continuing effort to listen to new improvisational rock bands. Someone actually conducted an online study that determined that people stop listening to new music at age 33, but I’m trying to not let my ears go stale, even though I’m a decade past that deadline date -- old enough to have seen Jerry Garcia play with the Grateful Dead, to have watched Phish grow from a club band to playing MSG and to have seen bands like String Cheese Incident and moe. improve, peak and plateau.

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One of the things that struck me initially about Spafford was their dynamic range, versatility, and songwriting. Here was a band that could deliver blistering rock and roll, incorporate electronic elements at times, but wasn’t afraid to engage in patient exploration in small bars. I liked Red’s presence in the mix and was obviously impressed by Brian's guitar-playing talent. When someone on a message board shared Cabin Jam 2, I realized these guys had a gift for collective improvisation that equaled or exceeded many bands that had been playing together for much longer.

I truly believe in the transformative power of live music. However, my life is very different than it was two decades ago when I had no responsibilities and could jump on tour and catch a run of shows at will. My family demands combined with the birth of my twin sons means that every show I can squeeze in is a gift. I have to hope that on the night I can get away, a band is "on". As I jokingly tell my 5-year-old daughter, "You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit." That doesn't mean I'm not critical if a band doesn't live up to expectations, but I try to be grateful every time I get to a show.

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Over the past year, I listened to A LOT of Spafford recordings and grew extremely familiar with their catalog. In March, I saw them for the first time at Hodi’s Hideout in Fort Collins, a sold-out bar show that had some solid moments, but was a bit inconsistent (unfortunately, no recording has yet been made available).

When Fall Tour was announced, my original plan was to attend the Ogden Theater show, but when the Fort Collins show was added I opted for the Aggie instead as it’s only a 40-minute drive from my house up the road in Wyoming. I was even happier about my decision after seeing the Ogden setlist, which was missing most of my favorite material and seemed to be more song-oriented with special guests. I was also fervently hoping that they wouldn’t be too tired on their 4th show in a row and 8th in 9 nights. It turns out I had nothing to worry about.

The Aggie is hardly a charming venue, basically a giant box with a bar in the back and a capacity of 650. It’s known to get very hot in there when it’s packed, and while the venue was pretty full, it wasn’t sold-out and the floor had enough room to move comfortably. After putting my kids to bed, I drove down to meet my friend Eric, who had driven up from north Denver to see them for the first time at my urging. He got there early enough to secure a prime rail spot right in front of Red. The sound quality from that spot was perfect. We had no chompers nearby and were surrounded by friendly, engaged fans that left me free to focus on the music without distractions.

One thing that I had noticed during the 2017 festival sets and even at the late-night BB Kings show this past summer was that the setlists they were constructing seemed to have some flow issues. This wasn’t a problem tonight in either set. Instead we got well-polished heavy hitters, placed perfectly. This show was uptempo and high-energy, from beginning to end.

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It’s A Bunch kicked things off and it immediately was clear that the band was clicking. About four minutes into the traditional song structure, they departed into a different, completely improvisational groove. It was exactly the type of detour I was hoping for, with Red alternating organ-sounding leads at a relaxed pace at first before they picked up the tempo and then slowed it down for a smooth segue into Mind’s Unchained.

You Don’t Know How it Feels was well-executed for being only the third version ever and the placement was perfect. I mean, who doesn’t like Tom Petty? The room had filled up by this point and the crowd was completely on board.

I think Slip and Squander is a beautiful song, a testament to the band’s songwriting abilities. There’s a Red recording out there of a solo set he played in 2016 where he performed Running on Empty, and the beginning of SnS reminds me a little of Jackson Browne. It also contains many of the hallmarks of the band that I enjoy – a slower, quiet piano intro and a slow build-up with introspective lyrics. In fact, the more I listen, the more I realize how critical Red’s patience, presence, and vocal abilities are to the “X Factor” that distinguishes Spafford from other bands in the genre.

It’s hard to go wrong with Windmill and this version "turned effortless". I thought Cam really pushed them along well during the middle jam section here as he and Brian are clearly getting more and more comfortable with each other. Brian’s searing leads were simply gorgeous, and the re-entry to the verses was smooth. While it doesn’t go into the outer reaches like some Windmills, the execution was flawless.

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All In wasn’t on the printed setlist, so I like to consider it a bonus closer. I particularly connect to the lyrics of this song and love the exploratory middle section. Some versions of All In it feel like they’re spending a lot of time just searching for something to click, but this one never suffered from that problem. Instead it sounded like Spafford was a full-fledged prog rock band, majesticly channeling Yes or King Crimson. In all honesty, the closing chord sequence is a blatant homage to 20th Century Schizoid Man, but I don't consider that a bad thing.

At setbreak, I asked Eric his thoughts so far, given it was his first show. He was enthusiastic, but commented to me that while he liked the keyboardist, he felt he relied too heavily on the piano sound. "He should be more psychedelic," Eric said. Fair enough.

The second set plunged immediately into the abyss with the tastiest Virtual Bean Dip I’ve ever had. This sounded like a Disco Biscuits-inspired dance party in places. Perhaps the recent sit-in by Magner reinvigorated their inner Bisco fandom. It also literally seemed like Red had heard my friend talking, as he shifted gears multiple times with multiple synth sounds. The pace was being pushed and the electronic-influenced jamming that I felt had been largely missing over the summer as Cam got settled in finally seemed to be present again.

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At about 11 minutes in, things got quiet as the band searched for a new direction. Eventually a new jam emerged organically, with a segue into Backdoor Funk that was as seamless as anything I’ve heard on this tour. Jordan turned on the filter and things started getting dirty and funky. The bass drove the jam, Red went for the organ sound eventually and once again they built to an absolutely raging climax. No subtlety here, just pure power -- Brian shredding and the band keeping pace.

The crowd practically exploded when the band started Electric Taco Stand. When the electronic drum sounds kicked in at four minutes, I was extremely pumped. Red started mixing up the synth sounds and it was full-on disco dance party time. It didn’t last too long, but just long enough to remind me how effortlessly they can shift from rock to electronica.

Just to prove that the can't be pigeonholed, they followed this dance party up by bringing out Dave Bruzza from Greensky Bluegrass for their fast-paced, bluegrass interpretation of The Red Hot Chili Peppers classic Soul to Squeeze. Even though it stood in stark contrast genre-wise from the previous song, this call didn’t hurt the flow of the set a bit and was welcomed by the bluegrass-friendly Colorado crowd.

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America was simply shredded—Brian in full rock-star mode playing impressively clean leads and the band raging in perfect time behind him. It was so well polished it didn't matter that it wasn't stretched out more. The Reprise attached itself so perfectly to America, it almost feels like one song-- a great high-energy closer to an unbelievably upbeat set.

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Shake You Loose. In fact, it’s one of my least favorite originals. I just don’t get that excited by standard blues-based songs. I was ready to head for the door because my kids get up at 5:30 am and I figured I might as well try and get a few extra minutes of sleep. But Eric didn’t want to leave, so I hung around for the end of the song and I’m glad I did. When Shake You Loose wrapped up, Brian looked at the rest of the band, nodded and kicked into Galisteo Way. I love this song. Yes, the intro sounds like Chalkdust Torture, and the middle section is reminscent of NICU, but it's such a catchy party song that I'll forgive them for wearing their influences on their sleeves. Eric said it just reminds him of straightforward ska and I couldn't argue his point.

I walked out of the Aggie completely satiated. They executed some of their strongest material to perfection and delivered two energetic sets that never stalled and jams that never meandered. It’s an absolute joy to watch a band still improving like this one is right now-- it's hard to believe Cam has only been with them for 7 months. I bought a T-shirt on the way out the door, something I haven’t done at a show in probably 15 years. They deserved my merch dollars and they deserve continued success. I'm all in it for the ride.

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Special thanks to Tara Gracer Photography for the jaw-dropping photos from The Aggie!!

Nov
16
(1197 Views / 6 Upvotes)
8 Replies

Setlist, Attendance, and Recordings for: 2017-11-05 - House of Blues Cambridge Room, Dallas, TX

Full disclosure: I am first and foremost a Deadhead. I was lucky enough to see Jerry play with the boys 116 times and I was in no way finished when it all ended. For about 20 years, I really only listened to the Grateful Dead… one of those kinds of Deadheads. I was accused of being a tad narrow-minded in my musical tastes. So five years ago when I agreed to go see Spafford, I’ll admit, I was skeptical. Me? See a band that is not a GD cover band? I remember that it seemed as soon as the show started it was finished. I turned to my spiritual guide, Scott, and said, “WTF man? How can they be done already? They just started!” “Heidi, they’ve been playing for like 90 min,” he said. Suffice it to say: face melted. Completely. I walked out of there saying, “These guys have ‘something’ and they are going to ‘go somewhere.’ I’ve never said that about any other local band ever, and, I’ve been seeing bands play bars for about 30 years.

I’m not even sure I can adequately articulate how important I think it is that Spafford includes a Grateful Dead song in the majority of their shows. It’s a shout-out to Jerry and the boys, of course, and the positive influence their music has had on them as musicians and maybe even as people. And it's also a shout-out to us, the fans, acknowledging the fact that we love the GD too. Acknowledging that our love and support is part of what has got them where they are right now, and as a sign of their thanks they give us these little presents of GD songs. I always get a little giddy when I hear other people do the Dead’s music and it's just amplified when it’s Spafford playing.

The momentum they have this tour is amazing! Every show is better than the last and I thought I was only getting the AZ shows (“only” what an ingrate, that’s FOUR shows) but as luck would have it, I got a surprise show… Dallas. And I just could not wait to see them. I was able to make a work thing get me to Dallas at the right time so it had that added bonus of being on the company’s dime!

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I got to the venue a little early and hung out in the super cool restaurant/bar for a beer and had a great conversation with the bartender, who, upon hearing my excitement for the band, decided he needed to check them out! I met a couple of Nerds as we entered, one of whom was none other than the Speedy Gonzales of tapers, one Don Olker.

They started out strong with Mind's Unchained which is a huge favorite of mine. Next, a kickass 18-minute Longview that slipped seamlessly into It’s A Bunch. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone yell “Are. You. Fucking. KIDDING me?” why, I could’ve bought two or three of their $9 beers. Brian’s jam got faster as my smile got bigger. Next up was Diana, always a fun and refreshing ditty. Then came Plans… I just love the different changeups in this song and of course the “why ya ya ya ya ya ya oh oh oh oh” had everyone going. Then came Red’s turn to shine, playing a song that seemed to be about me, Feel Like a Stranger, as I was one to this town. Not only does he kill it in his amazingly played version of this song, but his voice…. Oh myyyy….like he was meant to sing this song. And after Red said, “Let’s get down Dallas,” we all complied.

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Second Set started with In The Eyes Of Thieves and I felt like the spaceship had arrived to carry us all away. Red at the controls and the crowd was on their way. I could literally feel the sound of Jordan’s bass beating against my chest. Might’ve had something to do with the fact that there was a speaker directly in front of me but it sure added to the awesomeness of the experience.

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The crowd cheers after this song were so loud and amazingly heartfelt. Next up was Soul to Squeeze which apparently some noobs didn’t realize Spafford covered and you could see that lightbulb go off once they realized they knew the song.

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It was Spafford’s Chairman of the Boards’ turn again and I got to hear a new song (for me)… My Road (My Road)….where the Redjam sounds like a laser gun shoot-out. I got so lost during this jam I thought I heard The Song I Heard the Ocean Sing… Just when I start wondering, "Is this still My Road?" Brian comes around with that familiar riff and I’m like, "Oh yeah… it is." Honestly, there was a bit of a chomper problem and it seemed to escalate during Hollywood which was a bummer. Red closed us out with an amazing Slip and Squander that seemed to shut the chompers up a bit (never enough though).

Our encore was Galisteo Way and at the end when Brian encourages everyone to sing along with him we were ALL just screaming at the tops of our lungs. It was awesome!!

At the end of the show I proceeded to walk around and slap Nerds. It was so much fun giving “I’m Killing It” stickers to certain individuals I’d seen doing just that. It actually reminded me of “back in the day” when I would go to Grateful Dead shows. I liked to stand in a doorway with some kind of sticker. It didn’t have to be anything special. I remember once I got a grocery store clerk to give me a roll of Chiquita banana stickers. Another time it just said “FRESH.” Everyone who walked by I would sticker. And they would look at it and smile like it was the best thing ever. Ok, so there might have been drugs involved but it sure was FUN! That’s how I felt that night slapping Nerds with “I’m Killing It’s.” The parallels are many.

I like to vote an MVP for my show experience when I go see someone live. If it’s a run of shows, each show might get a different MVP or there may just be an MVP for the entire run. For me, a STRANGER in Dallas, this show’s MVP wasn’t even in the band. And it’s a tie among four total strangers who became my besties that night …. Christine & Josh, G & Manu. This was my first solo show in quite some time as with our amazing music scene in The Valley, it’s hard to get out to a show where I don’t know someone in the audience and I’m always with my love/best friend any way. But these fucking guys … made me feel so completely welcomed and it was as if we’d all known each other for years and I seriously can’t wait for the next time we can connect. This is what this band does…. Aside from the amazing music we all love, they generate such a loving wonderful environment that brings us NERDS together.

Nov
13
(5748 Views / 10 Upvotes)
40 Replies

NERDS! Today is the day. Six months in the making and we can finally say that the Spaffnerds have stats! We've launched 3 new features today that will enrich your user experience:

New Spaffbase Homepage
I've been asked a bunch if there was an easy way to get to the setlist/recordings for the "latest" show. Well the wait is over. Simply go to https://spaffnerds.com/ and you'll see the setlist from the last show along with any recordings and attendance. We've also added a couple of links that will get you quickly into all shows with recordings as well as song stats. Wait... what? Song stats???

Song Stats
Yeah, that's right... I said it... We now have stats for songs. You can check out play frequency, gaps, first time played, last time played, and a more robust presentation of song history! You can see it by heading into the songs section and clicking on any song. Go!

User Stats
BOOM! It's here. You've added the shows you've been to, now we can tell you about what you've seen. Head over to your user profile on the forum and click the "Spaffbase Stats" button. That will take you over to the spaffbase and show you your stats. You can also view other people's stats by clicking through the user section of the forum, going to their profile, and then clicking the "Spaffbase Stats" button.

nugs.net Subscription Giveaway
It's back! We're doing it again. We've got a 3 month nugs subscription to give away. Here's all you have to do:

  • Go to one either Twitter or Facebook and follow/like our account/page. We use these to let you know about recording announcements and other good stuff that we do here. We really try to keep posting to only stuff that will give you value. So subscribe
  • After you've subscribed to one (or both) come back here and reply to this topic. You can reply and just say you're in, but it would be a lot cooler if you took something from your stats, or one of the song stats, and posted that. There's some interesting things out there, so spread the word.
  • We will draw next Saturday, 11/17 at 11 AM AZ time.

So... yeah! Happy Saturday. Have fun at the VIP show tonight. Share your stats!

NOTE: THE TIME OF THE DRAWING HAS BEEN UPDATED TO BE EARLIER SO THAT I CAN LEAVE FOR FLAGSTAFF! I'LL SEE YOU THERE!!!

Nov
13
(684 Views / 4 Upvotes)
4 Replies

Setlist, Attendance, and Recordings for: 2017-10-20 - The Mercy Lounge, Nashville, TN

My good friend, Lance, and I both got off work early on this beautiful day so we met at his place for a 90 Minute IPA and then arrived at The Mercy Lounge around 4:00. We circled the lot next to the venue in search of parking and saw the band's bus already there. I spotted Brian and Red heading to the venue from the bus and really wanted to "fanboy" out by yelling their names from the car but I stopped myself. This was the right decision.

We parked across 8th Avenue and wandered over to The Flying Saucer for a couple beers. It was a bit of a walk as I am currently in a walking boot from a terrible ankle sprain I suffered nearly two months ago but no big deal. If you ever have time to kill in Nashville, The Flying Saucer is a good bet with over 80 taps. From there we met up with some other friends at The Pub Nashville and enjoyed a light meal of Irish staples and a couple more drinks. Then on to the show!

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I had won a couple guest list spots and gave them to my good friends, Chig and Gretchen, as payback for my miracle ticket to Night 2 of Phish 2016 in Nashville. Also, they had maybe heard about 30 minutes of Spafford prior to the show and I knew they would love it. All in, I convinced seven friends with minimal Spafford experience to come to the show. We hung outside the venue on the "smoking porch" while waiting for the show to start. I spotted Red and his wife out there but didn't want to cause a scene so just creepily glanced their way occasionally before I wandered back inside.

Show Time:

Southern Avenue was a pleasant surprise. Their lead vocalist can wail. She and the drummer have a beautiful harmony. I wonder if they are sisters. They have a bluesy soul sound that fit my mood very well to start the evening.

I have been listening to Spafford for just over a year now but this was my first time seeing them in action. My expectations were very high because I know what they are capable of and wanted my friends to be impressed. All expectations were exceeded.

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Set I: My Road (My Road), Todd's Tots, Ain't That Wrong, Simon & Lily, Mad World, The Postman

My Road (My Road):
First time I've heard this song as it was just debuted a couple shows prior. Cool, fat bass riff leads the way. Red's soulful vocals are a good start to the show. It wasn't very memorable but my first Spafford show was under way.

Todd's Tots:
Now we're cooking. I love this song. I have 2 daughters (Cassidy MaeRose, 8 and Stella BlueLily, 4) so I can easily identify with the brief lyrics. The quiet, contemplative jam in this song is one of the things I love about Spafford. Such a patient build so early in the show is a sign of great things to come on this night.

Ain't That Wrong:
Two of my friends, at different times during Ain't That Wrong, came to me and said they were hooked. We are only 3 songs in. I love that feeling. I introduced one of those friends to Phish 17 years ago and he then accompanied me to Big Cypress. Watching someone's face melt for the first time is a very beautiful thing. Ain't That Wrong is one of my favorites. Love the funky high energy blues rock.

Simon and Lily:
I honestly missed this one and was shocked to see it on the setlist before I went to bed after the show. No recollection whatsoever that it was played. Not a knock on the song. I like this song. Maybe I blacked out for a minute. Honestly not sure what happened but my brain must've had to reboot after Ain't That Wrong or something.

Mad World:
All of my friend's eyes lit up when they recognized this one. Big grins. They were all very shocked and then getting down. This was the highlight of the night for a few of them. Good, long, electronic jam. This jam hooked those in my group that hadn't already melted after Ain't That Wrong.

The Postman:
What a set closer! This is another personal favorite of mine. I remember another patient build to that magical release. Spafford is so fucking good at the tension and release jamming. Wish I could give specifics but the recording will eventually surface to remind me. I just remember being very happy with this one and feeling it was a perfect set closer.

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Set II: It's a Bunch > On Fire > Leave The Light On, In The Eyes Of Thieves, The Fireman

It's a Bunch > On Fire:
Mmmhmmm. High-energy opener to set 2.

Leave The Light On:
JAM OF THE NIGHT! I'm not sure how long LTLO was but they kept layering and building the jam only to let it slowly unravel so they could patiently build it again. Several times this occurred. At one point, I thought we were headed into Catfish John and a buddy told me it sounded like Fire on the Mountain. A lot of that was just the effect Brian was using. That sort of Autowah/MuTron thing. His playing really did sound very Garcia-esque during parts of this jam though. Again, can't wait to hear the recording.

In the Eyes of Thieves:
Perfect next song. More patient tension and release funky ass jamming.

The Fireman:
Kind of left scratching my head on this one. Seemed like an afterthought. This was very short and an abrupt ending to an amazing second set.

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E: Beautiful Day > Salamander Song

Beautiful Day:
Red came out, by himself, to start the encore with a beautiful piano solo. The audience was not attentive. Lots of loud talking and yelling. Several people trying to shhhh the crowd. One of the friends I brought to the show bellowed over the crowd: "That means shut the fuck up!" I wanted to give him a big hug. Red sure is swell. He has such beautiful taste in the notes he chooses to play. The rest of the band slowly came back on stage and we were treated to the perfect encore for this day. Red had the aural stage to himself to close the song and the rest of the band just watched him play. As it wound down, I noticed Brian and Jordan tuning so knew we were gonna get another song. My soul knew exactly what that song was gonna be. And then.....

Salamander Song:
Yep. Could not have asked for a better encore. The Nashville crowd doesn't understand when to "Hey!" but that's ok. Most of them had never heard Salamander before let alone heard Spafford before. We danced the whole way home for sure.

Post show:

Personal highlight for me. While waiting for my friends to close out their tabs at the bar, I spotted Red and his wife heading for the stairs to leave. I quickly approached him, shook his hand, and thanked him for a great show. As I mentioned before, I'm not one to generally do something like this but I would've regretted not taking advantage of the opportunity. Wish I could've said hello to the rest of the members. Maybe next time!

Big thanks to Spafford for coming to Nashville. Hope they make us a regular tour stop because I'll go every time. Nerd for life.

~ Elliot Smith (@BushCow)

Special thanks to Jared Harvey for contributing some of the photos

Nov
9
(582 Views / 4 Upvotes)
2 Replies

Setlist, Attendance, and Recordings for: 2017-10-17 - Majestic Theater - Madison, WI

I couldn't have pictured a better fall evening to make the drive from Milwaukee to Madison. I packed the car with three good friends and my wife and we were on our way to catch our favorite band.

I had a feeling something special was in store for us on this night, the last Madison stop was one of my favorite shows to date (and sadly there is no recording of it). One of the things about tonight that was awesome is that there were a lot of other people I knew who had made the short trek from Milwaukee to Madison as well. Little did these folks know there were about to have their socks thoroughly rocked.

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The opening Slip and Squander was the perfect way to open this night. This is without a doubt my favorite Spafford song (even before I learned that Chuck had written it). Red signing Chuck's poetic words, Brian's soaring guitars, this truly is quintessential Spafford to me, it is a complete work by everyone involved. It was a very well-played version, it’s not the type of song that needs type II treatment, and had musical goosebumps crawling over me.

Following Slip and Squander the crowd was treated to Seven. While not necessarily the biggest bust out of the night this marked its 10th time played overall. It’s still a rarity considering this is one of the oldest songs to date making its appearance on their self-titled album. The jam section of the song was pretty rocking and overall a very welcome addition to the setlist.

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Next up was the jam vehicle All In. This definitely got the room moving and grooving. You could see the majority of the crowd belting out the lyrics along with Jordan. The second half of the song brought a particularly intense jam and let Brian really show off his chops. Needless to say faces were definitely melted by this one.

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As the next song started [My Road (My Road)], I was a bit puzzled. I didn't recognize the song at all. I'm really pretty familiar with their original's catalog and am usually able to pick up on cover songs, yet I still couldn't tell right away. Jordan started with a nice bass line with Brian adding an uplifting melody while Red began to chime in on vocals. After a few measures, it had started to dawn on me, this was a new song and if I was going to guess, it was penned by Chuck. Let me just say this was by far the highlight for me on this night. One thing I had said on the drive to Ann Arbor over the weekend was I hope to hear something I have yet to hear live and boy did this deliver. This song really has it all and I don't want to go into much detail so fellow nerds can experience it for themselves, but I could definitely see this one becoming my favorite Spafford song.

To close the set came another fan favorite, Walls. I thoroughly enjoyed this version as the jam before the drop into one of the final verses was really satisfying. With being in the capitol city for Wisconsin, I was hoping to get the original lyrics back but alas, we are all still chasing that! It didn't get quite as out there as some other versions of the song have but it was a perfect way to go into set break.

There wasn't a whole lot of commotion at set break. I held down my spot directly in the center of the room in front of the soundboard and slightly above the pit area. One great thing about this spot is the visibility and sight lines, I swear Brian was watching me for a majority of the show. I had several people come up to me discussing how Spafford has "it" and that they will most definitely be the next big thing.

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As the lights dimmed and the band took the stage the opening notes of Windmill rang out. This was an awesome treat for the wife and I. She's only heard the song once before at the Tonic Room so it wasn't an ideal experience. As for myself it brought me back to my first Spafford show out in Colorado in December of 2015. It was also only the third time I've heard it so I was pretty happy to see it after nearly a year and almost a dozen shows. This song never disappoints, a notable pause before giving into the almost Pink Floyd like second half. Definitely another highlight of the night.

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The next segment began with Aeroplane. This launched the crowd into a full-fledged singing and dancing frenzy. Jordan absolutely crushes this song on both his bass and the vocals and this time was no different. This was a pleasure for me as it added to my list of songs I hadn't seen live yet. This Aeroplane never stopped and segued beautifully into Alternate Ending, or in this case Alternate Beginning.

This marks only the second time ever that Alternate Ending had been played outside of an Electric Taco Stand sandwich and was truly an epic version. Throughout the night I had noticed the chompers were out in full effect at some points almost becoming unbearable to the point I had a hard time focusing on the music. The Alternate Ending changed that, it took the crowd into outer space and left the room silent. It really was a sight to behold.

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Coming out of Alternate Ending I could hear the peak to Electric Taco Stand coming on strong. I turned to my wife and remarked that this could be the closest we've gotten to an inverted ETS yet. The peak came on strong and it was pretty awesome because right at the top of said peak, Brian brought it back to the beginning with the opening chords of ETS. This ETS was really quite cool just for the fact that it followed Alternate Ending and to me, seemed inverted. The Ann Arbor ETS was one of my favorites to date and this one definitely rivaled that.

The segue out of ETS was really fun and I thought I could hear Jordan starting to give way to the beginning of The Reprise. This song is always a fun set closer because Brian really goes balls-to-the-walls on the final section, very much like the ending of All In. You could tell the crowd was eating it up and more than happy to be dancing the night away.

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As the band walked off stage I was wondering what could they really add to take this night over the top. My question would be answered with probably the biggest bust out of the night, Crazy. This is an old Spafford song making its debut on their self-titled album alongside Seven. This marks the sixth time that Crazy has been played since 2012 making it extra special. Belting out the lyrics to this one many times in my car alone, I was happy to finally be belting them out alongside fellow nerds. I couldn't have pictured a more perfect ending to the evening.

After the show we made our way out by the bus to greet the guys. They welcomed us with open arms and I got to catch up a bit with Red and Brian since I didn't get to see much of them in Ann Arbor. I got to tell them how much I enjoyed the new song, Red confirmed my suspicions that it was indeed one of Chuck's poems and that they were still trying to pick a name but had most likely landed on My Road (My Road). After a bit more chatter, we said our goodbyes and wandered back to the car to make the trek home, hearts and heads full of the beautiful music of one of our favorite bands.

It's been an absolute blast getting to know the guys and their crew over the last two years and watching just how far they've come since the first time I saw them at a little bar in Colorado. I am lucky to have found one of my favorite fanbases of all time among you, my fellow nerds!

*A huge THANK YOU to Madleen Alsabbah of Coastykid Captures for the AMAZING photos!

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