Is Old Town Jam the best of Spafford's Hour Long Jams?
you know it.
if you've never heard of Spafford before
Full attendance bias here: this jam brings the whole house down. I skipped the Aspen show and my only fear was missing something akin to this jam.
The journey into Steamboat was spectacular. The drive through Rabbit's Ears Pass didn't disappoint with the snow coming down! The downtown area during snowfall was simply astounding. Then, we got the venue way too early but secured a spot on the rail and along the wall (a few people partied too hard in Aspen and decided to SIT the whole show).
That being said, the jam itself was a sight to behold in person, especially being close enough to feel apart of the band's internal communication. The guys were locked in: laughing, signaling, smiling, you name it, they went through an hour long emotional movie's worth of expressions up there during the jam. It seemed so effortless to them too. From the audience's perspective, we honestly thought they had a setlist for the set but were laughing about hinting at the songs but never playing them. We could see the setlist and could see the first song was very short so On Fire or Walls came to mind. It sounded like On Fire a little bit to start, not really, but could have been a 10 minute intro. We heard Todd's Tots at one point, definitely Steak Sauce.
I can say without a doubt, that all the shows I've been to over the past 15 years, I've never felt so exhausted at the end of Set 1. I love a lot of Spafford songs but I don't go see 3 shows in a row to hear a jukebox of their songs rehearsed. I go because I love improv and they have IT. Old Town Jam, Clam Jam, Steamboat Jam....whatever you want to call it. It's got everything you want in it.
Special shoutout to the crowd. We brought it. We brought it just as hard as the band was giving it. There were waves of energy in that place. We laughed, we cried, we cheered, we died. I don't ever care to say this was the best, this was the 2nd best, and things like that. But I will say that Old Town Jam is what I crave at every show attended. The band was fully engaged, the crowd was raunchy with energy, and it synergistically ignited into a 57 minute journey that couldn't be written any more beautifully.