Setlist, Attendance, and Recordings for: 2018-07-28 - Element Music Festival - British Columbia, CA
Let me try to set the scene as best I can. Element Music Festival is set on this amazing piece of property that has gorgeous mountains and hills all around it, there is a beautiful lake in the middle of it directly behind the main stage, the moon was huge all four nights because of the full moon on that Friday, and there were literally just 300 tickets sold to the event. Needless to say I knew it was one of the final times that I would see Spafford with such a small crowd. On this Saturday night Lotus had just delivered an epic set two and I was getting my ass handed to me by my extra curriculars that I had taken. I stumbled to late night which is legit straight-up in this barn at the top of a hill that makes you feel like it's a test just to get there. I ended up front and center early for the set with my "I'm Killing It" stickers ready. The time hit close to the set and there were only about 50ish people in the barn. My excitement was through the roof at the intimate show we were about to get!
I truly thought they would open with something heavy and rocking but the bouncing psychedelic sound of Mind's Unchained opened the night and an immediate smile came over my face. As we all floated along the opening section the crowd began to fill the front with us and the late night vibes began to truly sink in as Spafford took us into the first jam of the night. Brian and Red painted the psychedelic landscape in what I like to call the "fill the space" portion of the jam where no one is really taking a solo everyone is just grooving along feeding off the energy of the crowd and the room and filling the empty space in the sound. Brian then took us on his solo journey ending in an epic peak and the sound of the small but mighty crowd could be felt.
The always welcome People continued the set as Canada got it's first dose of Red's voice. I'm very interested to see the time stamp on this because the middle jam section felt like it was 10+ minutes. Red took a very extended solo that went from the funky quick chops of the piano to the dark and trippy sounds of the synth before heading into the guitar solo section. I was so excited I finally got the extended version of People I have wanted and am stoked to see where it goes in future sets.
Wasting no time at all the band brought out artist-at-large Jason Hann from String Cheese to play percussion on In the Eyes of Thieves. Jason did an excellent job during the composition section and added a fantastic dynamic to the dance friendly jam section. All band members could be seen looking back with big smiles on their face. I asked Red after the show how he felt Jason did and he said, "I think he did great, some percussionists we bring up get lost in the changes but he was always right there with it." The crowd began to migrate closer and closer during this jam as I looked back to see smiles on everyone's face.
Backdoor Funk was the highlight of the set for me, the tempo felt slowed down more than normal during the opening section. As the band progressed the jam broke down to a very bare bones groove before climbing into a crazy spacey sound section bending everyone's mind in the barn. Continuing into space Brian hit us with the nasty Backdoor solo before Jordan returned us back to earth with the final lyric section.
America came up next which featured a fun little lyric switch to "In the heart of Canada." Honestly, the jam wasn't all that and a bag of chips but it was still played nicely and featured a good solo from Brian. Continuing the rock vibe Lovesick Melody filled the barn and had heads rocking along before digging deep into the Jordan funk-filled Soil. Soil provided the dark mind-expanding groove that its getting a reputation for and saw some awesome rhythm work from Jordan and Cam. I'm sure I looked ridiculous as I just stared at Jordan for most of the jam but he was just so damned locked in!
Slip and Squander finished the set and was one of the few songs that got the Woos right as the song started from the Canadian crowd. The jam section of Slip felt like it was a little more played out than usual so I will again be interested to see the time on it once the recording (fingers crossed) gets released.
Spafford encored with Salamander Song which, much like the High Sierra set, was given a little extra love at the beginning seeing great guitar play from Brian. We were sent "Dancing the whole way home" eager to see what the band would bring the next day.