Review: 2018-06-01 Spirit of Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak, FL



  • Setlist, Attendance, and Recordings for: 2018-06-01 - Spirit of Suwannee Music Park - Live Oak, FL

    Ah summer festival season how I love you so! My summer continued at the Purple Hatters Ball down in Live Oak Florida which had our boys Spafford as a headliner Friday night. Purple Hatters was easily the smallest festival I think I've ever attended at Spirit of Suwanee Music Park (SOSMP for later). I'm gonna take a rough guess and say I don’t think it was over 3,000 people (and Hulaween was 20k for those who were there last year). Needless to say I was excited to get back to the intimate crowd setting after seeing them at Red Rocks the week before! I also had the fortune of running into the band right after an interview earlier in the day where the guys said the sound was sounding great during soundcheck which added to the hype even more! The band came on stage at about 11:40pm.

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    *Photo credit Tanya Russi

    Purple Hatters marked my 17th Spafford show and I literally always want John Hiatt's Memphis in the Meantime but had never gotten it, so when the very familiar shuffle beat from cam started my heart jumped out of my chest from excitement. Spafford traveled very well through the composition and got locked into a rocking opening jam but the special moments came after the first peak as they transitioned deep into the psychedelic realm but still kept the pace of the song going leaving jaws and faces on the floor right off the rip. Memphis in the Meantime ended at about the 21 min mark with a super clean transition straight into People. People clocked in around the normal 9ish min mark but still featured a strong solo by Brian.

    Ain't That Wrong continued the show after the roar of the Florida crowd. This song proved to be an untz dance fest as the band locked into the first part of the jam led by an epic solo from Red and pumping bass drum from Cam. The dance beat continued as the solo spotlight turned to Brian and he took the song to its peak before plunging back into the chorus. Red's opening piano lines of Todd's Tots filled the air for the next song of the show. The 2nd jam off Todd's was really well played, even though it was a little short Brian was able to really put the energy of the crowd into a good spot. Todd's clocked in close to the 15 min mark. Lonely was next in line for Purple Hatters which has really become one of Cam's best songs. The jam goes through so many different sections that Cam always gets to show off some crazy stuff. Lonely started off fast and funky with quick fills from Cam, then digressed down to just bass drum and a block sound beat before coming back to a rocking peak full of cymbals and craziness... I loved it.

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    *Photo credit Tanya Russi

    The always welcome opening keyboard sounds of The Remedy started the last portion of the set. The composition portion went well for Spafford, but the opening jam got to a little bit of a noodly section that felt like the band kinda jammed into the abyss but could be treated as a "breakdown" type jam as well. It was soon forgotten as Brian scooped us out of the abyss for an epic first peak followed by a good transition jam into America. America's first jam dove into a great trippy section led by Red's keyboards. As the jam progressed and Brian started to take over the song climbed from the deep trippy world into the rage heavy peak full of Ben Factor's red, white, and blue lights to end the epic set.

    After an absolutely rocking from top to bottom show the band came out and encored with the soft sounds of Van Morrison's Into the Mystic which was sang beautifully by Red. Even though I knew The Reprise was coming I was super interested to see how the transition would feel from a song like Into the Mystic and I was pleasantly surprised. The Reprise ended us in style like it always does with wild fills and funky riffs from everyone and a special shout out from Brian talking about how it has been a year of Cam in the band! I hope all of you have fun at whatever festival you are seeing Spafford at this summer, I will see you guys at Element Festival in British Columbia next!

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    *Photo credit Tanya Russi

    Big shout-out to Tanya Russi for the photographs!


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    @StankyMuffin great review, man, thanks! listening to the show, the boys sound so revved up, as much as they were at Red Rocks. What an epic back-to-back showing, first time playing RR, then headlining Friday night at Suwanee! I have to relisten to pick my fave, but that Memphis jam > People was a definite highlight.


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