Find the setlist and available recordings here: https://spaffnerds.com/shows/2017-08-05
Night 12 was my first and only Baker's Dozen show - it's no coincidence that Spafford was playing a headlining after show at the (apparently) famous BB Kings. We filed out of MSG just after the encore of a really amazing Phish show and made a b-line straight to the venue. The walk was as weird as could be as we tried to navigate through the twenty thousand phans that were unleashed on the streets of Manhatten mixed with the usual tourists. Food was in the back of our minds as we rushed over to BB Kings, but luckily, there is a McDonald's right across the street from the venue. It was the busiest McDonald's I've ever seen, and I'll leave it at that..
We walked across the street to the front door of BB Kings, passing a rather long line on the way. No way that's the line for Spafford.... 'the line for Spafford is back there'.... fuck. We walked literally a quarter mile to the end of the line at around midnight. We met a lot of new faces in line - people looking for extras, people that had never seen Spafford before, people that had never even heard their music before - but, one thing was consistent, everyone was highly anticipating this show. Whispers of Spafford went up and down the line, you could just feel the excitement in the air for this show. We didn't end up getting into the venue until 12:30 - I picked up some Spaffnerds.com stickers at the merch table and then we were on our way underground.
If you've never been to a show at BB Kings, the Playstation Theatre, or similar venues in NYC, you are brought down some stairs to a chamber underground where there is magically a concert venue! This was a pretty cool place to catch a Spafford show, it had an old school. theatre look, complete with a full bar and a lot of reserved seated booths. The place filled up quick, and we settled in to a nice open spot on the rail right in front Red. It was after midnight, so it was officially Delaney's (my girlfriend's) birthday. When the band walked out on stage, we made sure to let Red know that, he gave us a double 'rock on' gesture and told her happy birthday.
The band was welcomed onstage by a roaring crowd, who evidently had a lot more energy to give even after the Phish show. Personally, I saved up my energy for the night so I could give Spafford the 1000% that they rightfully deserved! From the opening notes of All My Friends I was just giddy with excitement, the usual segue into Bee Jam followed, with an impressive extended jam before segueing smoothly into Todd's Tots. Ain't That Wrong had me jumping around at 1 in the morning, breaking into a wonderful jam with some 'untz' flavoring from Cam that had the whole crowd cheering. This was my first time seeing the band with Cam behind the kit (second time overall), and I was sold by this point, his work back there is seriously impressive - he definitely brings a special punch to the sound. You can tell that these guys have been hard at work practicing together, not to mention the mysterious Abaculus release that was just announced prior to this show. By the time Brian started playing the opening notes of Leave The Light On, you could tell that this would be a special show. This version of the song is exceptional, and featured two separate jam segments, one before the third verse and one after. Salamander Song is such a happy song for me, and this one was perfectly placed. A majority of people hey'd at the wrong time, but the band seemed to love it anyways! Backdoor Funk is always welcome, and this one was great (just like every other song this night)! During a Red-driven people jam, Brian goes over to Jordan and says something along the lines of "Want to walk off?", then went over to Cam and motioned for him to come off as well, leaving Red on stage by himself to finish his solo. When the rest of the band came back out, they started up Legend which gave way to a nice jam that brought us back into the People ending, pretty cool stuff!
I've been dying to hear Mind's Unchained since they started playing it, and it seemed popular among everyone else in the crowd too. The Weasel > Palisades > Red's Jam > Weasel segment was really special, the setlist called for Weasel alone, but the improvised middle section of this part of the show made the way for itself. This also featured some more 'untz' flavoring from Cam. The Beautiful Day may have just been the pinnacle of this show, the crowd swayed in awe as Red commanded the crowd, and he even snuck in a Bakers Dozen (tee) reference. When the rest of the band walked off stage for the ending of the song, Red started a sing-a-long with the crowd that had every single person in the room belting out 'Its a beautiful day'.
The crowd brought the band back out on stage with a loud chorus of applause for the encore - America - a perfect ending to this show, I thought to myself. I'll admit, I was extremely thrown off by the Reprise fake out after America, but once I realized that they had started to play Galisteo Way, I was yet again jumping up and down (this time, close to 4am), this is one of my favorites, and I've been highly anticipating getting to hear it live! I didn't think that I would ever hear as many people singing along to this song than I heard that night, and I think the band was just as surprised as I was. The Reprise closed out this amazing show, and was just the icing on the cake. Throughout the whole show, the band was all smiles, at times they even seemed in awe of what they were doing here that night. For all of the people at this show that I know had never seen Spafford before, they were all brought to that transcendental place at this show, eyes closed, spinning around into the wee hours of the morning. This band is something special, and this show was a big one, marking just the beginning of what is still yet to come for these guys.
- special thanks to @ronskiiiii for taking these awesome shots