2018-08-10 - Chesterfield Amphitheater - Chesterfield, MO
I have to admit I had been looking forward to this weekend for a looong time. Umphrey's McGee and Spafford are hands down my two favorite bands, and to have them together for 3 total shows over 2 nights in the Midwest is as good as it gets for me. The smiles and hugs from friends as we entered the Chesterfield Amphitheater were almost in jeopardy as we waited out a run of fairly significant thunderstorms that seemed to come out of nowhere and last up until just minutes before the guys took the stage. Tonight was going to be a hot one. Mid 90’s and high humidity made for less than ideal dancing conditions, especially in the pit, but none of that mattered now. Spafford was taking the stage and life was good!
I'd be lying if I said this was the first time it felt like the positive energy of the arriving crowd seemed to push away the clouds and the band opening with People seemed to echo that sentiment perfectly! Red explaining that “love's the common binding of people like me and you” was the perfect backdrop as the crowd filled in and any remaining anxiety from the weather melted away. This song just never gets old.
Next up was The Remedy which showcased some really fun back and forth between Brian and Red as they took turns filling in while the other took control. This jam flowed along beautifully with each member building on the other leading to Brian's familiar tone absolutely soaring across the venue. You could see it in their faces, they're ready to play this weekend... and the crowd knew it too.
Backdoor Funk came next and I recall thinking Brian almost looked sleepy as he strummed a simple riff that would be the foundation to the entire jam. Pardon my sports metaphor here, but like any superstar late in the game Brian seemed to just want the ball in this one, and the rest of the band was happy to oblige. He single handedly took that riff through some intricate plucking, and into a flat out shredding crescendo that was to be my favorite jam of the set. Brian’s arsenal was on full display for this one!
The set ended with a short but suh-weeeeet Electric Taco Stand that was much more of a sprint than the marathons Spafford is known for. The band knew their time was coming to an end and just put the pedal to the metal on this one as they all melted into one big sound from start to finish. It’s not often that Umphrey’s is about to take the stage and I’m thinking about a show the next day, but this set had me hungry for more!