Review: 2017-12-29 - The Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix AZ
Warren G Molden
After the shortest gap between shows for Arizona over the past year, the Nerds were ready for night one at The Crescent Ballroom. Between the band and the Onesie’s in attendance this was one HOT performance on a Friday night!
The energy was palpable as people began filing into one of my favorite hometown venues. The size of the room, sound, and staff make this one of the premier rooms in Phoenix. The drinks were flowing and the smiles were big as our favorite band took the stage!
Spafford opened the show with a premier cover of the Foo Fighters 1997 song See You. Such an appropriate song as the lyrics reference how great it is to see you (the audience in this case). We were just as excited to see them! The band quickly went into People much to the delight of the people in attendance! A filthy Virtual Bean Dip followed along with a crowd favorite Ain’t That Wrong that I remember having a jam led by the newest member Cameron Laforest. During that jam I swore they were teasing Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand but they headed into Leave The Light On and boy what a great rendition it was! The first set was finished off by a new song called Radio. It was rather short but a great sounding song, I look forward to seeing more of it in the future.
After a 15 or 20 minute break the band was back for the second set and the crowd was ready to eat it up. They opened up with another cover debut to the delight of those in attendance. So Into You was originally performed 20 years prior by Atlanta Rhythm Section and Spafford nailed it! One of my favorite things about these guys is their choices in cover songs. They are so unpredictable and somehow always choose songs not typically covered by jam bands. As seen later in the set they also often play them better than the original.
Plans followed up in the second spot. I noted, as I did with several songs that night, that the jam was seriously spacey. The jams for most of the night seemed other worldly with beautiful euphoric peaks. For those that thought Brian was getting too “Umphy” in his sound, this night should have quelled those fears. Next up was another crowd favorite, Todd’s Totts. With its quirky lyrics and dance-able beat its easy to see why the people eat it up. It’s a really fun song each and every time you get to hear it and has moved up into the group of favorites I like to see the band play.
After a good 4 or 5 minute electronic buildup the band moved into another cover, Mad World. I absolutely LOVED this rendition. Spafford does what Tears for Fears could only dream of doing with this song! It was absolutely smoking and the crowd was dancing their onesies off! Red led the way with roaring synths off of his keyboard. It was my personal highlight of the night.
Next it appeared the band was either trolling the crowd or warming them up for night two with America. America was chosen by Spaffnerds as the theme for the next night. No one seemed to care at the moment and Brian and Jordan shredded their way through a ripping version. In the only true segue of the night the band went smoothly into The Reprise and finished the second set off with thundering approval from all in attendance.
Spafford came out one more time and encored Mind's Unchained. It’s a newer song in their catalog and I for one was happy they finished the night with it. After the dust settled we all smiled realizing we had two more nights in store with this band and what a great feeling it was!
Great review! Now I’m looking forward to diving into these shows today.
Great review, thanks Warren! I waited for the Nugs release and got my first taste of Night Onesie yesterday. The lack of segues made it an unusual set list but the VBD, ATW, LTLO, Plans, Mad World, and America were all fantastic standalones. And three debuts added a nice little touch... Im interested to see how Radio will grow and evolve... So Into You was amazing (didn't know the song previously) ...
Red, unsurprisingly, soulfully crushed it out of the park. Love the diversity Spafford's super talented foursome brings to the stage! Torn between relistening to this one or moving on to Night Dose. Agghhhh, decisiones, que debo hacer?
Dude thanks for writing this up! Tots is a personal fav! Can't wait to listen again!
I'm going to listen to this show a lot of times.