Railroad Earth recently celebrated the release of Last Of The Outlaws, their sixth studio effort, with a pair concerts at Denver's Fillmore Auditorium. The weekend featured the performances of almost every track off the new album, including the live debut of the seven song suite of music "All That's Dead May Live Again." I was fortunate enough to be in attendance for night two and, as has been the case with pretty much every RRE concert I have been to in the past few years, the talented team of musicians quickly satiated my appetite for bluegrass before taking my expectations and blowing them out of the water.
The first set started off pretty tame and slowly picked up steam. It was some of the old and some of the new, with live favorites like "Old Man and The Land" being tossed into the mix alongside younger tracks such as "When The Sun Is In Your Blood" and "Hangtown Ball." The tunes became jammier as the show progressed, though musically nothing got too crazy before second set. Both "Goat" and "Hangtown" got the 10-minute treatment and featured some tight improvisation. A rendition of "Cold Water" off of Railroad's debut album rounded out the first set nicely, with no indication of what lie in store after the break.
Second set proved to be full of surprises. Things got off to a high energy start with "Peace On Earth" and didn't slow down. A 15-minute "Like A Buddha" proved to be the night's longest single song, followed closely in length and song-order by the "Mission Man" that featured Dan Sears on Flugelhorn. As Railroad plunged further into second set, the music began to trend towards the dark, psychedelic vibes that The Grateful Dead became famous for. A pervasiveness emerged of a band on a mission, almost as if they'd been holding back and waiting for this show to really let loose. The increasingly popular "Hunting Song" kept the vibe going strong before giving way to the down tempo "The Last Of The Outlaws," title track off the new album. Peter Rowan's "Walls of Time" picked things back up a little, and the funkiness of "The Forecast" set the stage for the highlight of the evening: the live debut of the seven song suite of music that serves as the backbone of Railroad's new album.
Beginning with "All That's Dead May Live Again," the collaboratively written, primarily instrumental opus showed off both the song-smithing skills and the lightning-quick dexterity of all involved. The suite has a musical elegance that twists and builds through four distinct movements before ultimately climaxing with the tune "Face With A Hole." The calming come-down of "V. In Paradisum" was a perfect end to an amazing night of career-spanning music that reminded me why I love Railroad Earth. Round the whole thing out with a cover of The Doors' "Roadhouse Blues" for an encore and you've got a show for the ages. I strongly recommend adding this one to your collection.
2014/01/18 Fillmore Auditorium, Denver CO
Drag Him Down
Just So You Know
Old Man and The Land
When the Sun Gets In Your Blood
Peace On Earth
Like a Buddha
Mission Man (feat. Dan Sears on Flugelhorn)
Been Down This Road
The Hunting Song
The Last Of The Outlaws
Walls of Time
Crossing The Gap
All That's Dead May Live again >
Face With a Hole>
E: Roadhouse Blues