Setlist, Attendance, and Recordings for: 2018-01-23 - The Met - Pawtucket, RI
There once was a jam in Pawtucket...
It was a chilly Tuesday night and Spafford was back in New England to a kindle the fires within us and heat up The Met for the evening. I had met up with my buddies George and Wes and we all made the trek in together. We pre-gamed at Craft Burgers and Brew that ironically hadn’t bothered to change from the previous establishment...which made it fun for our Lyft to find, but that’s another tale. We got to meet some new Nerds like Ron Lauer and reconnect with Ryan Cierrello and Josh Herrick, who we’d met on Fall Tour. Collectively, we were all geeking out about getting to see our favorite band get down. After catching up and hydrating, we made the short pilgrimage to the venue, six deep in a minivan. After being greeted by a few illustrious members of Team Sparkle we proceeded inside.
The Met is a cozy venue, longer than deep, shaped like a rectangle, it was obvious immediately that there were no “bad” places to be in this room. I had planned to use Goose's opening set to find the optimal sounding place to set up camp for Spafford’s set. After Goose went on we were informed Jordan was going to sit in. Let me take a moment to talk about Goose. These guys are great! All members of the band are talented players and the three of us (George, Wes & I) all commented on what a great voice the guitarist/singer had. I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy their set and it certainly didn’t hurt that Jordan came out and killed it and jammed TFO during his sit in. It was the last of 7 nights opening for Spafford and it sure seemed like Goose went for it to close their set. If those guys are in a town near you, I would highly recommend checking them out.
Spafford took the stage and opened with a Red’s Jam that departed quickly from the recognized portion of the song and went right into a 20+ minute jam. The guys went right into a short, but fiery All My Friends. The band seemed like they were in the mood to groove and went into a Bee Jam that was honey smooth and sweet. As jams tend to do, this one took on a harder edge and got funky. Red was putting down some seriously crunchy stuff that you could almost smell in the air. I had mentioned earlier that Jordan crushed his sit-in spot and it became apparent that he was operating on a brilliant frequency this evening. Brian had seemed eager, and ready to rip as soon as they walked on stage. Cam was locked in and laying it down.
We weren’t even a half hour into the first set and the band was putting it down like it was “let loose time” during a second set. And then they dropped out the jam into My Road (My Road). At this point my evening had been made, because I had just sampled some excellent jam and was about to be treated to one of their gnarliest jam vehicles currently. **Somewhere, soaked into the floorboards are molten facial epidermis that were shed while “thinking in traffic.”**After almost 45min the band took their first pause and Red greeted Pawtucket. A lively romp through Catfish John gave way to a blistering Ain’t That Wrong that surrendered to the UNTZ as soon as it left the song structure. Red cut through the thick beats with his keys channeling whale songs, summoning the Mothership to come down among us. If it did touch down it wasn't for long because Brian caught flames and laid siege to the room to close the set.
Holy Shit! What did I just see and hear? I can’t believe that is only half.
The second set opened with a cover of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Aeroplane. It was never my favorite RHCP song, but I love that when I think of the song, I hear Spafford’s version of it in my head now. George and I were convinced they were going into Phone Booth but it became a beautiful segue that sounded like it could have been the theme music to a super heady spin off of the sit-com Cheers. The Sam Malone Segue snuck into a playful Mind’s Unchained. Spafford seems to have an uncanny knack to gauge their audience and use the mood of a room to their advantage. Or maybe they just saw us old fuggers and knew that we love that soul! The Remedy followed by Shake You Loose drenched the room in soul and some excellent vocal harmonies between Jordan and Red. In the Eyes of Thieves took a spooky, spacey journey before transforming into boogie time. Somewhere before the jam peaked I had a strange thought, “this sounds kind of Hall & Oates-y.” I mean, the coolest fucking Hall & Oates tune they never wrote, but whatever, maybe I just dreamed it. The band closed out the set with a beautiful rendition of Sweet.
After about a 25 second break, the band came out for the encore. I had my fingers crossed that I would catch a Soil at one of the two shows I was going to. When I heard the opening to Lovesick Melody a huge smile broke out over my face confident that it was to be followed by Soil, as it has since the New Years run when it debuted. I certainly was not disappointed as Spafford decided to funk us up one last time to bid Pawtucket goodnight.
Many high fives and hugs were exchanged and the Three Oldmigos prepared their gooey minds to do it again the next night in Asbury. In an odd turn of events, we actually left town a couple hours too early the next day...but that is a story for someone else to tell.
That is my account of the events as they unfolded one glorious night in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Thank you Spafford.