Review: 2017-10-31 - Parish @ House of Blues, New Orleans, LA
This review is brought to you by @Steph-Schuler, @shouseholder, and me. Prior to the show, the salivating fans that made it early were blessed with some holy bread from a triumvirate of bakers. Some people nibbled, some took full bites, others cowered in fear!
The gaggle of 'nerds that got the venue early seemed to be oozing with anticipation, us included. It was enjoyable to hear where everyone had come from, when they learned about Spafford, and all those good things. Onto the show!
Southern Avenue were great openers. Two chicks and two dudes from Tennessee that had some solid tunes to get the night started. They had a positive message in their lyrics and the final song had the crowd sing the chorus, "Don't give up!"
Spafford ripped through the jungle, with the crowd singing along immediately, and started the show with The Lions Sleep Tonight. It reminded me of my previous Spafford Halloween in 2015, in terms of Brian's gentle playing and laid back approach. It was clear we were in for some shenanigans. (They also had the lyrics to Crocodile Rock taped to floor, so I figured that was coming at some point.)
Steph lost her shit immediately when Crocodile Rock started. Second song in a row that showed signs that the crowd, although a little chatty, was engaged during the "laaaaaa la la la" part. I never knew me a better time and I guess I never will. laaaaaaaaaaaa la la la. Shea's face also showed signs of melting. This song went over really well with the crowd.
The proceeding Lion Sleeps tonight jam brought big smiles to Brian as the crowd kept immediately singing along. Around the four minute mark of the AUD, Red adds some great texture. We got our first peak of the night which resulted in a ceremonious crowd roar.
The band finally shifted into some familiar territory and we get to spin around on a Windmill jam before the song proper begins. Very smooth Lion Sleeps Tonight tease at the end of Windmill to keep the theme and pump up the crowd. A well-needed short rest between Windmill and People. Mixed-up signals caused the whole band to laugh when Cam started who knows what instead of People (or Pandas for this show). The band and room were heated up significantly at this point, so the baker's coats came off.
Pandas like me and you shot a web of smiles throughout the crowd as Red's voice serenaded us for the first time of the night. The band and crowd were clearly having lots of fun already. Pandas took off with a short, but sweet jam. The ending of this song naturally pumped the crowd up and I loved it.
Leave the Light On kicked off with some standard affair and since I was so close, I could see Matisyahu watching from side stage, although as Shea pointed out, I had no idea it was Matisyahu (nor did many others around us who didn't hear his name be announced). Brian and Matisyahu exchanged some words and looks and the beatboxing began. He almost hit vacuum level at one point. Pretty sure Matisyahu called them Strafford...but hot damn, we still had 14 minutes left of LTLO. Post-Matisyahu, the energy in the room POPPED like a bomb went off. The band and crowd went into a crazed frenzy for a brief moment as we entered back into Lion Sleeps tonight then LTLO proper again. I remember screaming at the top of my lungs but not hearing myself which tells me it wasn't just me feeling it. And with all that, we then get to the LTLO jam that rocketed the crowd to heights unheard.
Space Gadget cooled things off in my mind, but the crowd responded quite well to it. Bear Necessities was super hard for me to hear what the hell they were singing but it was bouncy enough to jump up and down.
Alright wow, that was a lot already and we hadn't even reached Set 2. Woo hoo, some Beck! The Fucking With My Head lyrics were also taped to the floor. Crowd recognized the song proper ended and a few cheers filled the air as the band took set 2 off the ground. Around the seven minute mark we got some fine shredding from Brian and then the band settled into a relaxing gesture, which gave the crowd some time to...chat.
About 50 seconds of the band building tension to segue into In the Eyes of Thieves. Thieves jam built quite nicely two separate times. Around 13 minutes they somehow got a pinch louder to really silence people's thoughts. Again, the crowd was right there at the end of the song to greet the band with a rowdy YES! in the form of all sorts of noises.
During Simon and Lily, there was a brief moment I thought Brian was going to tease Lion Sleeps Tonight, but alas, it didn't fully pan out.
Ahh Weasel!! It started its normal build and Brian perfectly dropped the Lion Sleeps tonight with the band right with him. I got to talk to Brian about this specific moment of the show and his face was glowing with such enthusiasm about it. Great to see that he was as pumped about it as the crowd was. And then he does it again to the crowd's cheering delight. The crowd really enjoyed Brian shredding the end of Weasel. Another huge crowd response. Christ, it's like they've played in NOLA before.
Backdoor Funk had everyone bobbing their heads and as the band was ramping up, someone shot off a few of the confetti poppers, filling the air with more symbols of PARTY. The band didn't disappoint and Brian's fingers somehow didn't burn his strings right off the guitar to hit the crescendo of the song. It should be no surprise that when the band settled back to BDF, the crowd again responded positively and loudly.
Salamander Song is always a welcomed song. More confetti pops or whatever they were in the crowd helps explain the kind of energy that was swirling in the place. Crowd blew the "HEYS" but what can ya do? They were out of this world otherwise.
All In encore? Hello!!! We had 20 minutes to go and the band still had a trick up their sleeve. Again, somehow a crowd that has mainly never seen Spafford live cheers at all the right moments, sensing the band shifting from known to unknown through feeling instead of familiarity. And what's that they are playing? It sounds like something I've heard before but now Spaffordized. Just a great jam? Nope, it's fucking Hakuna Matata! The crowd again sings along, cheers, and generally welcomes everything the band throws at them with open arms.
Spafford, NOLA, Halloween...unforgettable and unique experience.
Shea, Steph and I were sworn to secrecy for all post-show shenanigans so this is where the review will end.
Thanks for the review!!
Thanks for the review! Nola is such an awesome city and I was pissed to miss it. Nola crowds are really great and know fire when they see it! Can’t wait to see Spafford this weekend. I hope next time they play there we get a tipitinas show.