Yonder back at the Fillmore, and I’m here to see it. I must have done something right in a previous life. The crowds intensity was on the verge of exploding, and the music hadn’t even started yet. Jeff Austin, Adam Aijala, Dave Johnston, and Ben Kaufmann have been on fire this entire West Coast Tour. They have done blues, demonic rants, and kicked up the some of the best bluegrass I’ve heard in years. But this is San Francisco, home of the jam, birthplace of the Grateful Dead. This was going to be a weekend of JamGrass, with Deadhead Jeff Austin leading the way. The shows that Yonder have put on in San Francisco in the past have been incredible, and tonight was going to be no different.
Yonder came out swinging with “Ten”, and great jammy tune that just builds the energy of the crowd, without tiring you out too early. Happy were people all around, getting ready to tear up the rug at the Fillmore. An aptly named “Polka on the Banjo” was absolutely hilarious, with Dave Johnston voice almost bringing you to the steps of the Appalachia. The pace never slowed with “Good Hearted Woman” and “California Cottonfields” all the way through “Raleigh and Spencer”. The Fillmore was hopping, and Yonder was feeding off of their kinfolk. An absolutely stellar “On the Run>High Cross Junction>On the Run” closer of the first set was a welcome treat. They were just priming us for the rest of the weekend.
Second set blew in like a hurricane with “Ramblin’ of the Rambler>If You’re Ever in Oklahoma>Rambler Reprise”. Wow. If you’ve never seen Rambler live, then you are missing out. The music kept going faster, and I was happy as a pig in s#@t. Everything they were playing seemed to fit in just perfectly with the Fillmore. There was some serious jamming during the second set. “High on a Hilltop” was a nice treat, and also was “Finally Saw the Light”. But the real treat came with the four song connected closer. “Holdin>Shake Me Up>Mourning Dew>Boatman” was just flawlessly put together. “Holdin” is a perfect San Fran song. To finish the up with the Grateful Dead’s “Mourning Dew” into “Boatman” just capped the set off so well, I felt like there didn’t even need to be a encore. Boy was I wrong. They came back out to play “Crow Black Chicken” and “Southern Flavor”, and set the mood for Saturday. Saturday Night at the Fillmore was going to be epic. And Man was it ever.