2018-10-11 - The Royale - Boston, MA
A Thursday evening adventure to Beantown for my favorite band in the land: SPAFFORD. I was particularly excited because this was the first concert I had been able to attend since May, due to Phish's festival Curveball having been cancelled back in August. I was also giddy with anticipation as it was the first time I would be taping a national touring act...but more on that later.
Concerts in the greater Boston area are almost a family reunion of sorts and this evening would be no exception. I had plans to rendezvous with @Lauer-Nation when I arrived at the venue. I had also made arrangements to link up with Ted Gakidis, an experienced taper who was planning to tape as well. No trip to Boston would be complete without checking in with Team Sparkle, who made it out that evening with almost the entire roster (sorry you couldn't make it @soniabegonia ) The biggest surprise of the evening was seeing my two favorite Maineacs, Ryan Cierrello and Josh Herrick! Those gentlemen put in a down-and-back mission from the South Portland area and get the nod for doing what it takes on a Thursday night.
After making a soggy drive in the rain from NH, I parked in the garage right across the street from the venue and met up with Uncle Ron in front of the Royale. Security was friendly, un-intrusive, and quickly had us on our way up the steps and into the belly of the club. I had heard mixed reviews about the Royale but I must say that it was a great venue, and as I was soon to discover, has an incredible sound system! Uncle Ron made plans to find a spot in front of Cam with his buddies and I quickly found Ted with his rig already set up near the soundboard. I may have used the phrase "biggest surprise of the evening" a little too soon, as Ted introduced me to another taper who turned out to be: The Zman! Now, I know to some of you that probably doesn't register or seem relevant, but to a guy who practically grew up listening to and trading cassette tapes of live music...this was the equivalent of meeting a living legend! Ted was beyond gracious and offered to let me clamp my meager beginner's rig onto his stand and run with him and Zman. I was so nervous and unprepared that I declined at first but was encouraged and assured that I was no bother. After a few minutes getting myself set up, I was ready to enjoy the show!
The band opened with a beautiful rendition of Eternity. All My Friends filled the two slot and my anticipation meter spiked as I greedily awaited the swarming Bee Jam that followed. It was early, but the cohesiveness of the rhythm section was already on display. Jordan and Cam were locked in and together felt like a collective boot in the chest. I mentioned the Royale's superior soundsystem earlier, and new sound engineer Chris Erickson wasted no time putting it through the paces. Also of note, Jordan's bass rig for this tour is an absolute beast that tastefully finds the balance between thunderous and absolute low-end clarity.
A funky little bounce through Memphis in the Meantime and we were treated to the second jam of the evening, My Road(My Road) Always a favorite jam vehicle of mine, I was all smiles as Red worked his magic on his new board (@StankyMuffin help me out) emitting an array of otherwordly sounds and bending minds throughout the crowd. Brian also gave us a taste of his updated pedalboard and I was enamored with a particularly crunchy, dirty tone he was using.
To bookend the set, the band finished it off with another pretty ballad in the form of Diana.
There would be no foreplay or sweet nothings whispered as the band came out for second set charging with America. I can think of no better place than the city that launched the American Revolution to drop a ferocious "heart of America." It may not have had the goods to unseat "Philly or Asheville America" from their throne, but it was a high-energy take that set the tone for what was about to be a monster frame of music. Mind's Unchained did just that...unlock the doors and explore territory that eased the pain for close to 15 minutes. I had heard the Chicago version the band took for a similar ride on 10/6 and can say that I'm beyond stoked that Mind's is getting the treatment this tour.
Lonely. What can I say about this Lonely? Nothing that will do it justice. Please listen to this. Share it with your friends. I was in complete awe the entire way through and my recommendation is to carve out twenty minutes of time, put on some headphones, and truly drink in one of my favorite jams I have ever experienced live. It is that good. To close the set, Green Day's Longview was busted out after its second longest hiatus. Having only been played 7 times, it hadn't been seen since Boise back in March. The crowd chimed in, respectfully, on vocals and were treated to a particularly ambient, feel-good jam to pull the curtain on the second set.
After a quick break, the band came back out and Brian took a minute to acknowledge Cam and garner a round of applause for the young powerhouse that had been beating the tubs all night like they owed him rent money. Again, showing they know their fanbase like no other, Spafford dropped it on the One and treated Boston to a Reprise encore that left the floor with a few new weak spots.
I had noticed during the beginning of Mind's that I had committed a rookie error by forgetting to clear my SD card prior to the show and that I had run out of available space to continue recording. What did capture will never see the light of day, but I was comforted by the fact that it was captured in it's entirety by both Ted and Zman. Thank you for taping gentlemen and for being so kind to an enthusiastic bonehead like me.
An incredible evening, laced with Leviathan jams and my new favorite Spafford performance that I have attended.
Thanks for the words! Getting excited about some west coast shows! You will be there in spirit and meat sticks!
loved seeing you there Brett <3
Great review! Lonely has been getting some serious love recently and it's amazing, this one does happen to be particularly nice!!!