Review: 2017-10-14 - The Blind Pig, Ann Arbor, MI
Saturdays are for the boys and on this fine Saturday the boys drove out to Ann Arbor, Michigan for some Spafford. A buddy and I drove from Milwaukee to Chicago the night before to meet up with some other Nerds in town and a fellow Nerd who flew in from Denver. Safe to say it was a nice reunion and we maybe had too much fun the night before the show.
That didn't stop us, however, as we woke up and were out of Chicago by 10 AM for a nice four-hour trip to Ann Arbor. I had never been to Ann Arbor before and unfortunately this time didn't get to see too much of the city or campus, but I'd like to go back if I get a chance. We arrived at our hotel, turned on the Badger game, and cracked open some cold ones! We decided to hit a local pub and after some wings and many Irish Car Bombs it was time to get ready for the main event.
We made our way to The Blind Pig and got there in time to grab a Jon Rose Version.2 Fall Tour print. Really love Jon's work and was elated to add this piece to my collection! The venue in and of itself is nothing to write home about. It was small and intimate which was nice, but the staff were not the friendliest to say the least (they all seemed completely miserable). None of that mattered, however, once the music began. We caught Haley Jane and the Primates set and having never seen them before it was pretty cool! She's a rockstar for sure. The set finished and many more people began to arrive for the main event.
It was really cool to meet a whole bunch of Nerds I had never met before and everyone was super excited for the show, handing out stickers, etc... The lights went down and it was time to rock.
The band opened with America and it is such a great song to open with. Always a rocker and grabs the audience's attention. Sets the pace for a great first set. With a nice segue into Memphis in the Meantime the band put on display their ability to go from one intense rocker like America into a more smooth and bluesy track like Memphis with such ease and fluidity which is honestly my favorite part about the band in general. Next up the band transitioned into Todd's Tots, another great tune which puts on display the compositional abilities of the band.
Next up was a cover of Stevie Wonder's Living for the City which is an awesome cover and the band does it well. After that ended the band launched into Virtual Bean Dip which is always exciting. You never know when this one is going to blast off and take you to places you never knew you could go. The band has played many versions of this song that have done that. This one didn't stray too far from its normal boundaries but it was rocking to say the least. There was time for one more song and we were treated to Plans. This is a song that has grown on me and the jam at the end is always great and will make ya ga ay yi yi yi yi yi yi oh oh oh ohhh every damn time. It was time for set break and it was perfect time to catch a breather outside.
After a quick breather everyone was excited for the second set and it sure did blast off quickly with Electric Taco Stand right out the gates. It was a good ole standalone Taco Stand that was as funky as ever and a great way to start the set. Next up the band went into Space Gadget which has seemed to become more a part of the regular rotation this tour and I am OK with that! Following the Gadget we got one of the best covers Spafford does in Feel Like a Stranger. Red slays this song vocally and the whole band's performance is always top-notch. Following the rocking Stranger the band launched into Backdoor Funk. This was the highlight of the show for me, not only one of the smoothest Spafford songs, the jam on this one took off and explored different terrains peaking in a super melodic area that found its way effortlessly back into the funk and ending of the song. I sure hope the board gets released for this show because that is one that I really want to listen to again and again! A fan favorite in Slip and Squander ended the second set and the peak of this song is always great and grabs everyone's undivided attention!
We all wanted more and I couldn't have asked for a better encore. Hollywood is great song. Everything about it. Such a great feel and honestly I didn't think we'd get another song, but right at the end the band launched into The Postman and it sure was a doozy. Can't wait to get a SBD for this one also. One of the band's biggest and best jam vehicles and this one sure did get spooky as ever. Loved it and it was a perfect ending to a great show. After the show we all went back to the hotel and celebrated the great show we just witnessed into the early hours of the morning.
Moral of the story here: Saturdays are for the boys! Also driving six hours from Milwaukee to see Spafford is always worth it!!
Special shout-out to @kabumped for sharing photos of the show!
This show was one of the best I've ever seen. My first time seeing Spafford, and it seemed like the crowd was giving them everything they could to feed off of, and the band was loving it! I've seen some great shows at the Blind Pig. The crowd here is rowdy and always has a lot to give which is a key part of having an awesome show. The way they played to the vibe of the room really impressed me, and that was some of the most fun I've ever had at a show. Safe to say they sold me and I'll be attending every show of theirs I possibly can in the future. They killed it!! Really hoping these shows get posted on nugs.net soon.... Dying to hear some solid recordings of this to relive many of the awesome moments highlighted in this post.
Great review! You've got that right that the drive is always worth it!
I think driving 6 hours to see Spafford causes a soundboard curse to occur....
Great review, thanks @Josh-Ross! I like what you said about their segues from hard rock to smooth blues and vice-versa. One thing I keep hearing from nerds new and old is that this band is truly masterful at moving the energy back-and-forth throughout the show and playing to the audience. That's what makes the drives worth it, every time!
I haven't been able to catch a living for the city yet... But I'm chasing it!! Nicely done sir.
@crappygeorge a few months ago I was imagining a female soul singer sitting-in on a Living for the City, and by golly, Hayley Jane would fit the bill perfectly ... they crush the song so well I want to hear someone with a huge voice help blow it up with them
Sounds like it was a great time! Great review man!
@Lopez was wondering why we haven't seen this show but wasn't aware there was a story... what happened?
@BBlank20 there isn't too much of a story behind it. Back in February Josh and I decided to make a 6 hour drive to Covington, KY for a show. Show was one of the best I've seen from the band but we never got a SBD.
Same seems to be happening for Ann Arbor, its a spaffiracy I say!