Review: 2018-01-11 - 7th Street Entry - Minneapolis, MN
Ahhh what a great day it was, I got to see Spafford for the fourth time in two weeks. The weather in North East Wisconsin was mid 40s and raining-- not bad for Wisconsin in the winter, but nothing like Arizona two weeks ago. I was aware that Minnesota just had the storm we were about to get hit with in Wisconsin, so I was ready to go earlier than I had planned. I got in touch with my friend Andy, who I met at a few Phish and Umphrey’s shows, and got to bunk at his and his wife’s place in Minneapolis. The drive to Andy’s contained white knuckles 90% of the way. I have driven in many snow storms before, but with the rain turning to snow and the temperature dropping to about 12 degrees by the time I was an hour into my drive, I knew this wasn’t going to be a “drive fast take chances” kind of deal here. The right lane was fairly “clear” thanks to the tire tracks made by the the select few cars that decided to be on the road at this time. The left lane though? You better be All In for that ride. I made a few passes at a decent speed until I saw the aftermath of a nasty Semi vs SUV accident (positive thoughts sent.) After five-and-a-half hours in a car (a drive that normally takes four-and-a-half), seeing five cars in the ditch and a nasty accident, I was so glad to be pulling up to Andy’s house.
I passed through Stratford, WI. A horrible misspelling of Spafford.
I knew I was walking up to the right house when I saw that vibrant Green Bay Packer flag hanging on the wall. Andy’s house was gorgeous, filled with a jam band fanatic's dream of signed posters by your favorite artist’s favorite artist and by your favorite band’s favorite band. Of course, when I arrived I had to have a beer and catch up with Andy. Then Andy, his wife Lauren, and I went to get a burger at Mr. Burger, a place I now highly recommend. I ordered the Burger of the Month which contained peanut butter, panko-breaded deep-fried banana slices, bacon, and a burger. Let me tell you what, that burger was the highlight of the evening so far. After the burger shack we went back to Andy’s to have a few more free beers before we started forking over hard-earned stable genius dollars to guzzle down PBR’s that contained 2% less alcohol than the same beer in Wisconsin. We slammed the beers and called an Uber to head to the venue.
The venue, 7th Street Entry (a sister venue to First Avenue), was one of the smaller places I have seen Spafford perform a sold-out show, so I knew it was going to be real nut-to-butt. When we got to the venue I had known about the new merchandise that hit the shelves for this tour, so you could “cash me at the merch booth”. I hadn’t started collecting prints until I went to my first Spafford show, the infamous Pizza Jam show. Now I buy one each show I attend. Huge thanks to Jon Rose, the prints are always gorgeous. The big bummer was the fact that they didn’t have any tubes available for the posters, so Andy and I bribed the guy at coat check to hold the posters in a safe place, so I could grab them after the show. He abided. Then it was time to get ready for the heat to kick in.
Spafford hits the stage and the crowd cheers as we get some nice smiles from the boys. Brian, Jordan, and Red seemed to be pretty bundled up with fleece jackets on and sweatshirts. I couldn’t see Cam much throughout the show with how small the stage was, but I could sure as hell hear him back there. They got situated quickly, and boom, Backdoor Funk opener reminded me that I was right where I belong. It was a pretty straight forward BDF that welcomed everybody to this ice-cold venue and city. After a nice peak to cap off BDF, they went with People. Any song that Red sings I am an instant fan of, so I enjoy People often. It appeared that there were some technical issues after seeing some mouthing directed at the side of the stage. Whatever it was, they got it fixed, or it sounded like it. Red was a nice feature with some great synth work and piano play. Nothing out of the ordinary.
A big jam contender hit the scene next. In The Eyes Of Thieves, which is one of my recent favorites, kicked off after a nice ending in People. Shortly into the jam, they locked into a nice groove featuring some funky playing by Red and Jordan. The jam is great and almost appears to come to a peak, only to go back into another jam. Things definitely heated up, because Brian shed his fleece jacket after that Thieves.
Radio was here to bring us back down to reality. This is my second Radio (and the band's second performance of Radio) and I really, really like this song. Brian’s vocals are great, and songs like these are always a nice alternative to the raging funkiness that I love. Aeroplane flew in next to pick up the funk. “Looking in my rear-view mirror,” I could see that everyone was enjoying this Red Hot Chili Peppers cover. Jordan nailed the singing, a nice mini bass solo, and the band erupted into the jam. The segue from this pleasing jam into The Postman seemed effortless. It was golden. Golden showers everywhere. The Postman heated the whole block with cheers, woos, and a fiery jam. This is my recommended listen of the night. I have it marked as the highlight of the first set and a possible contender of the whole night. The Postman was a nice warm fire to sit next to while we waited for the second set. The set break contained many odd things that are now on my list for “strangest things seen at a show”, but my favorite was running into a childhood friend’s older sister at the show.
What a coincidence, the second set starts with On Fire. And was it fire. You would think I am a pyromaniac with all this fire talk. This jam proves that Cam is a perfect fit for these guys. The more I listen to Cam throughout the night, the better he gets. I can’t say enough good things about him. The jam starts off and it puts me in a nice warm tropical setting, transitions into a spacey trance funk jam, and caps off with some silky-smooth guitar work. The second possible contender for highlight of the night came right away in the second set. I highly recommend this one as well.
Now it was time for me to enjoy the hell out of my favorite Chuck Johnson song, Slip and Squander. This is one of the songs that hooked me on Spafford, other than their jams. A beautiful peak in the end by Brian covered me with goosebumps, letting me know I truly feel this music and love this band. The slow intro into Leave The Light On was mesmerizing and well done for the longest jam of the night. Next, and unfortunately the last song of the set, came my third Funkadelic, and wow, I loved it, and so did the crowd. My notes coined this one “Funk Hoe Down show featuring Brian, Red, Cam, and Jordan”. I also noted that I was a little butthurt that the second set was significantly shorter than the first. However, there is a remedy for that, and it came in the encore. The Remedy encore was straight forward, but Spafford’s straight forward is like watching Aaron Rodgers destroy NFC North teams on a casual Thursday night. Andy and I hit the bar that was attached to the venue and I decided to end my night on a drunk note as my single gin-and-tonic that I ordered was stronger than Ric Flair. It was a great night all around, and the next morning reminded me of that with a lovely hangover. Time for a drive back home and down to Milwaukee for the Miramar show.
The Funny Teenager
@keeganlauer on Instagram and Twitter
Great show, great review! Thanks!
@Geoff Thanks Geoff!
@spacejam Thanks for braving the weather! Great write up, and I detected some very dude references. Thanks for sharing!
Awesome review, funny teenager! I laughed my ass off. That is a seriously sick Postman. Thanks for greeting the boys for tour opener in the frozen tundra land.