Review: 2018-07-21 - The Peach Music Festival - Scranton, PA
Peach Fest. July 21, 2018. Saturday at Peach was very wet, with a huge rain storm rolling in early in the morning and intermittently dropping buckets of water onto all of the Peach veterans and noobs alike. My day started off with a 35-minute wait for a shuttle to the top of the mountain, as they had seemingly forgotten people were still parking in our lot. @Cody, @Kyle-Burbank, Collin, and I met up with the legend himself, Johnny Love, as well as a few other S’nerds that were there for the set, and in between all the running around and trying to find cover, we managed to get ourselves thrown out of the main stage after we accidentally entered the reserved section.
After a long day of being damp and waiting out middle-aged Mule fans for pavilion seats, we made our way over to the Mushroom Stage. As we arrived, the band was starting to set up their gear, and they looked very worried about the amount of water pouring off the roof and onto the stage. The crew ended up putting them as far upstage as they could in hopes that the water wouldn’t get to the band, but we would all come to see that placement didn’t matter… they were going to feel some rain. Just before they got started, the crowd tried to help instill a little confidence in the band by erupting into a giant cheer, letting them know that we’d be there no matter what. We had waited all day, and we weren’t gonna let some stinkin’ rain get in the way of our Spafford.
Bossa Nova Jam > Funkadelic: I have no idea where to even begin with this. The jam went on for at least half an hour, and this whole segment took up almost the first hour of the set. Musically, it was incredible. The members have very obviously been picking up some jazz chops with their time off, because for an improvised jazz jam, they were absolutely Killing It. It seemed as though they were taking all of the anxiety and frustration they were having before the set, and turning it into fiery section after fiery section. What was really special about it was how the weather seemed to be reacting to their music. Words can’t describe the experience, but I’ll try to write an apt description.
This section of the show transported the band and the crowd to a whole different world. It was as if Mother Nature was Spafford’s LD and the rain was another cue she had access too, because every time the jam started to pick up or peak, rain would start pouring out of the sky. It was raining so hard at points that the wind was whipping it sideways, throwing it across the stage and swirling it through the radiant beams of light and around the band members, making them look like some sort of otherworldly jam beings. It was made even better by the fact that the crowd danced harder and harder the more rain came down. It was energizing us, keeping us in the moment, and appreciating the heat that was radiating off of the music the band was laying down. It was a truly breathtaking experience that no one in that crowd will forget for the rest of their lives.
> Electric Taco Stand > Dis Go in 5? > Electric Taco Stand: After that hell of a first half, ETS was a welcomed morale booster. There’s not a single Spafford fan I know that doesn’t enjoy ETS. They spent a little more time on the intro jam since they had to transition out of Funkadelic, but once they got into it, they got into it. After a big sing-a-long with the crowd, they proceeded to perform the dirtiest transition into Dis Go in 5? I’ve ever heard or seen. Dis Go was longer than I’m used to, but right as it started to go into that peak > ETS section, the rain started pouring again, as if it was summoned by the band’s music.
All In: This was the first pause of the night. They had been playing for an hour plus at this point, and they were ready to keep the energy going. All In is another of those songs that’s beloved by every Nerd, so the whole crowd was singing along and raging the night away to Jordan’s magnum opus of ballads. The coolest, but most unfortunate, part of the show was when Brian’s pedalboard started malfunctioning. The rest of the guys realized what happened and quickly started jamming as a trio to compensate for Brian’s gear troubles. He’s since told me that it was his Tube Screamer and Carbon Copy that were the root of the problem, and once he and his trusty sidekick Sashi troubleshot? the problem, he rose from the ashes like a phoenix (thanks Rachel!) and threw down the best solo of the night. He took all of his anger about the pedalboard and harnessed it to make the Raven cry out through the storm, melting the faces of anyone in a 100-hard radius.
Take Your Mama: This tune was fun to see, but definitely the odd one out in the midst of all the grandiose jams they were laying down. It seemed to serve as a sort of break for the guys, as Brian’s gear malfunctions and the rain weren’t making it easy for them.
The Postman: After seeing the written setlist, it’s fairly obvious that Postman was a last minute decision. They discussed what to play for a while before Brian suddenly dropped into that familiar intro, hinting to the audience that they wanted to go out with a bang. This really solidified the legend of this set, because the only way they could follow all of the madness that had just ensued was the most grandeur song they have in their catalog. The composed section was pretty standard, and once they got through the “I’m the postman” section, they took off to the races. I legitimately forgot we were still in Postman at a few points, because the jam took the music so outside the typical Postman sound. When they seamlessly dropped out of the jam and into the outro, the crowd went wild, and the rain started coming down harder than it had during the whole set. It was the perfect ending to an incredible night.
This experience is one I’ll never forget. The rain, the lights, the crowd, and everything else that contributed to that set couldn’t have been more perfect. We were there for jams, and they delivered beyond any of our wildest expectations.
@jaredsusername giving me chills as I read this, a perfect summation!
Great review Jared! Now that you’ve been kicked out and raged it in the rain...you might be ready to get your wings. ;)
@jaredsusername Exactly. A night of meteorological, musical, and historical significance. Perfect review. THANKYOU. I’m still drying out and looking forward to some juicy juicy audio. See you all in NYC! One more thing...Spafford’s next level musicianship and telepathic jamming abilities, just went to the next level. Couldn’t be more proud and grateful.
That transition was dirrrrrty
This was my first Spafford show and it most definitely won't be my last! They were fire!