It was After Midnight, and from left to right Red, Jordan, Brian, and Cam were set back 15 feet from the front of the stage in an attempt to keep them and their equipment out of the vertical downpour of rain that had been raging since 6 or 7pm. Far back as they were, there was no defense against the sideways rain and the boys and their crew grimaced their way through a challenging soundcheck. Things were in a rough state on Montage Mountain. I suck at estimating crowd size, so please give me some help in the comments, but I’d say there were about 500-700 rain-drenched and poncho-draped nerds in front of Mushroom Stage at this point.
I stationed dead center up front in the vicinity of @Cody, @Kyle-Burbank, @jaredsusername, Colin (where you @ homie), Mike, Jessica, @RobAF, @mcbwahh, @mdjabber, Bobby Jae (where you @ homie), and a bunch of other fine nerds. Earlier in the day I had the pleasure of meeting @Phokus and @AZCoug in the flesh and they were every bit as cool and embracing as I imagined. I also had the joy of spending lots of time with @diana-quirin. I wish I had caught up with them again for the set but everyone looks remarkably the same in a poncho. Energy was high, anticipation was peaked, and the elements were swirling in rage all around us.
As the set started, the crowd began to sway and bop to a smooth mellow jam that unfolded in surrreal juxtaposition to the fierce weather and conditions that the band and crowd were facing. I imagine when Spafford conceived this setlist and the opening Bossa Nova Jam, they were picturing a warm summer evening with mojito-sipping nerds dipping their feet in the wading pool alongside Mushroom Stage. But with patented patience, Spafford let the jam slowly and smoothly evolve, adding color and flourishes and layers as they went. I failed to take notes as in reviews past, so please litter the comments with your remembrances, but I recall a couple highlight moments of Red working the synth and Brian taking solos. It was a beautiful groove to start the night and it lasted for a half-hour or an eternity, I’m really not so sure.
When the opening notes of Funkadelic broke out, the crowd which had been bopping and swaying with plastered grins erupted in shouts and cheers. The dance party started to get funkier and while the storm was still raging it was clear that the energy the band and crowd had whipped up was a superior force and would win the evening. Again, I’m short on detailed description, but as a highlight I recall an abrupt drop in tempo at one point and Jordan taking a nice solo.
When Electric Taco Stand took off, you don’t need me to tell you the crowd went apeshit, jumping and singing right along as an hour (or eternity) into the show the first Spafford vocals rang out. Brian extended the scat section a little bit although not quite as much as he did at Bonnaroo. I love hearing the way they continue to experiment and take chances and keep things fresh in this way. As the funk gears shifted into the ballistics of Dis Go in 5?, the world was reminded that Spaffnerd crew ain’t nuthin’ to fuck with. The band was playing with as much intensity as I’ve ever seen and if you looked out at the crowd you would have thought you were at a ‘93 Rage Against the Machine show. I think Brian could’ve given Zach de la Rocha a lesson or two in rage face and Jordan was stepping into his bass like he was warming up for a UFC bout. I’m not sure what was going on under the Pavilion at this point but I’m pretty sure it didn’t look or sound like this. Spafford maneuvered back into ETS for the completion of the jam sammich.
I think there was a break in the playing at this point although I could be very wrong, I won’t pretend to have the clear recollection I would like to. I will admit that I dashed off to the Porta-me for some quick relief as the opening bass notes of All In were played. Don’t judge me, I was back in a jiffy. At this point I decided to wander the crowd for other vantages and vibes. Alongside the wading pool to the right of the stage gave me some nice room to move which All In pretty much necessitates. At some point during the jam, Brian experienced technical difficulties with his pedals and was joined by one super-powered mustachioed member of the crew as they knelt down to try to remedy it. At first, the frustration was evident in their body language. But Red, Jordan, and Cam absolutely CRUSHED their trio performance. I can’t wait to relisten to it. Red was raging the synth, Cam was going nuts with his cymbals, and Jordan was an apocalyptic beast of biblical proportions. The crowd was loving every second of it and I think this gave Brian and Superman some relief because their body language shifted to laughter and calm. After some time, the problem was either fixed or abandoned, I’m not sure which, but Brian popped up and jumped back into the jam like the machine-gunner he is. The crowd roared.
At this point, I started to experience some technical difficulties with my body so I took a seat on a low wall at the back of the crowd and watched the rest of the show. I love Scissor Sister’s debut album so I was mightily pleased when Take Your Mama came up next. It was a perfect fit for the set too and the lyrics embodied the muddy messy after hours party going on at the Mushroom Stage.
It was twenty minutes or so till hard curfew and the boys had a long chat before they started the next and final song. Which, as everyone who has seen @PowPhan802 's photo of the originally planned set list now knows, this is because this wild set had gone off the rails into the mystic and there was no longer anytime for the Weasel>Palisades>Weasel, Lovesick Melody>Soil that was written on a piece of paper turned to mush in the rain. The opening notes of The Postman rang out instead and it was a solid choice to fill up the remaining time.
(Thanks @PowPhan802 for sharing this photo!)
The boys took their bows and vanished into the night as nerds embraced and tried to articulate the magnitude of what we had just taken part in before heading back to their wherevers. This particular nerd was extremely lucky to be able to tag along with @Cody, @Kyle-Burbank , and @jaredsusername back to their rental with Colin. I was content and prepared to curl up on the floor but the man, the myth, the legend @Cody had other Plans and blew me up an air mattress and gave me a blanket and pillow that were made out of unicorn wool and angel feathers. My mind slid into sleep with subtle scents and Spafford sounds as @jaredsusername and @Kyle-Burbank played Postman and ETS on acoustic guitar.
This was an incredible night of music and a performance of EPIC proportions from Spafford. The conditions could not have been more difficult and they came out and delivered a monster show. I had the privilege to take shelter in their green room for a little while before the show, courtesy of the good graces of some Spaffamily. Seeing the love and energy that the band and crew and their friends and family bring to this hustle is amazing. Combine that with the love and devotion of fans who raged through a storm to watch this show and it explains why we are on this magical ride through this magical terrain together. Love to everyone who was there and who helped bring this about. Thank you, Spafford!!!
I hit Levitate late Sunday morning, my wife and kids in tow. We made it through traffic and into the lot behind the main stage with relative ease. I was anxious because Spafford's set was early @ 2:15 and we were still in traffic out front at 1.
By the time we met up with Ron and hit the front gates it was already 1:30. We came upon the Style Stage (middle sized of the 3 stages at Levitate) to find the band casually sound checking. We said our hellos and well wishes and retreated to set up by the left of the soundboard as they vamped on a funky jam.
My wife and kids could sense my relief at finally arriving with time to spare and we all relaxed a bit. They took off for slushes and face painting and Ron @Lauer-Nation and I got started with some brews, gave hugs and hellos to all the spaffamily along the rail, and dug in for the set!!
The America opener was hot out of the gate. (Yes, @603Brett, you immediately got credit from Ron for calling that one, well-played sir). The continued buzz around the band was felt as the crowd rapidly ballooned from less than 100 to what felt like thousands. The energy was high and the riffs were powerful, as the band drew their crowd closer.
Backdoor Funk came slinking up next for what would become the jam of the set. After a roaring peak, the band moved into a smooth jam while Cam set the table. The driving jam once again peaked at what we all thought would be the end of the song but they weren't finished as another layered jam emerged. By the time they were done, close to 30 minutes had passed and we were only two songs in.
The killer shuffle of Broken Wing started up next. This was my first live experience for this tune and it just seemed to fit the daytime festy slot so so so well. I couldn't help but remark how easy Cam made it look. He CRUSHED this song start to finish in so many subtle ways I couldn't begin to explain... The band was having SO much fun with this one building the crowd to a frenzy with Brian chicken pickin' like a lunatic, foot up on the monitor, and really giving it to the fans with a full sonic onslaught.
When Beautiful Day started up, my wife had returned with my 7-year old son who I placed on my shoulders and danced as best I could without falling over in the midday July heat. This was bliss. The crowd swayed and sang in the sweaty sunlight and I felt like the luckiest man alive to have my family there with me to feel that perfect moment.
Ron and I mused over what the next song would be as we approached their one-hour mark and, as he said it, they broke into The Reprise. The band takes such obvious delight in making this a slow burn and building that tension... With their joy apparent, they pulled and twisted this into a raging finale. The crowd was absolutely bonkers for them as Moss crashed down face-melting peaks just ruining everyone within earshot.
Brian gave everyone a little nod as they decided they had enough time for one more. They ripped into a favorite and special request from Sharon Steinberg and the team sparkle crew, Space Gadget. The short and punchy tune ended the set with a bang and I'm sure more than a few people walked away whistling that catchy riff to themselves asking, what the hell happened to Inspector Gadget??
Nerds! We're really really really excited to announce the first major feature upgrade in Spaffnerds 2.0. Thanks to the hard work of our team, specifically @alexkiaie, we've got a full featured embedded media player in spaffnerds.com. All Archive and YouTube recordings will play in the embedded media player, and you can browse the site while they play. Feel free to check song history, lyrics, other shows, or even buy tickets. The media player will keep your ears happy through the whole thing.
Here's a demo of the EMP in action:
We also fixed a long standing bug where we could only have one show on a particular date. After Spafford announced the late night Umphrey's show on 8/11 it became clear that this needed to be fixed. Fortunately many of the secondary problems that a fix could have introduced were patched as part of the 2.0 release. This made the upgrade relatively simple. If you're curious you can see this in action on four dates:
Nerds! To celebrate Tall Four and to promote the sale of tickets through spaffnerds.com we are giving away a pair of 1 year nugs subscriptions! This contest is a little bit different, and it applies to some retroactive actions you may have taken, so be sure to read on...
We're offering (2) lucky winners a free, (1) year subscription to nugs.net. We've done this before and you guys know how it's done but this time is a little different.
- There will be a total of (2) prizes given away.
- (2) lucky winners will each receive a 1 year subscription to nugs.net
- The drawing will take place on Saturday, July, 14th at 12:00 PM Arizona Time
- (This is subject to change if real life interferes. You will be notified ahead of time should the time of the drawing change.)
- The drawing will be live streamed on the Spaffbase Facebook page
- As soon as the live stream is completed we will post the video to our youtube channel and make it available on this thread.
- Names will be placed in a list which will be randomized and numbered. A random number will be generated and the name which matches that number will be chosen as a winner.
- This is not a fundraiser but you are always welcome to make a donation
- Donation is not required to participate in the drawing. If you decide to donate, please post your donations to our paypal account. https://paypal.me/spaffnerds/5
- You are ineligible to win if you have won one of these drawings within the last year.
- You must claim your prize within one week of the drawing or it is forfeited.
How Do I Enter?
In order to enter you need to:
- Log in to the site
- Use the site to purchase tickets to the upcoming fall tour shows (or any shows that are onsale).
If you are logged in, the site will track the shows that you click on to buy tickets. We will use that list in order to generate a list of entrants into the contest. For each show that you get tickets to you will get a single entry into the contest. You could, for example, have 10 entries if you buy a lot of tickets.
But I already bought my tickets through spaffnerds
That's okay! Entries into this contest are retroactive as of the day that tour was announced. We've already got a list and we'll simply use it to make sure you're entered into the contest. We will post that list shortly and you can verify your entries.
But I wasn't logged in when I bought tickets
OMG!!! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING????
Seriously though, just post a comment here and we'll give you 1 entry into the contest. That's the best we can do. If you bought like, 20 tickets through the site, maybe we can make an exception... maybe... ;P
But I bought tickets elsewhere
OMG!!! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING????
If you use this site, support it. Spread the word. Know for next time.
Spafford has released their Fall Tour schedule. We've added all dates to spaffnerds.com along with ticket purchase links.
The band has a promo video which you can check out here:
Spafford 2018 Fall Tour Announce – 02:58
I'm really excited to see what the boys do on this tour. We're in an incredibly special time for this band. They're big enough to have a following, they're crushing the festival gigs, and we're bound to see some new faces joining the herd. Two set shows with the chance to stretch their legs and really work out some of the new songs should be a huge treat.
In the meantime, start complaining about how you don't like the dates, and remember, buying your tickets through spaffnerds.com helps support the site.