Yonder Mountain String Band sent off 2016 with their annual New Years run at the Boulder Theater. The Colorado-born band’s two-night stand in Boulder this year was a departure from last year’s four-night decade-themed run, instead favoring more traditional Yonder setlists. Featuring a healthy mix of classic songs and new tunes off their upcoming album due out next year, the band was in proper form to welcome in the new year. However, Yonder’s propensity for playful and masterfully done covers still rang true, with some of the highlights of the shows being a monster cover of the Talking Heads “Girlfriend Is Better,” covers of Ween’s “Mister Richard Smoker” and “Piss Up A Rope,” a first-night encore opener of King Harvest’s “Dancing in the Moonlight,” and the ever-popular cover of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” to close out the weekend.
Members of The Railsplitters joined Yonder on stage during the second set of Friday night, with Dusty Rider sitting in during the cover of the Talking Heads’ “Girlfriend is Better” and Lauren Stovall leading vocals during “Rolling In My Sweet Baby’s Arms.” Night one also saw the live debut of a new track, “Take A Chance on Me”. “Bad Taste” and “Chasing My Tail” are also new tunes off the album, though previously played in 2016.
To welcome in the new year, the first set of the 31st featured a giant “On The Run” sandwich, which accounted for the majority of the latter half of the set. Following “I Know You Rider,” the band kicked off the massive sandwich with “On The Run” into Phish’s “Scent of a Mule,” before laying down “Wheel Hoss” and a jubilant cover of Ween’s “Piss Up A Rope.” Yonder then skillfully worked back out through “Scent of a Mule” and closed out the first set on a high with a return to “On The Run.” The set also featured a paired down “Checkout Time,” with only Adam Aijala on guitar, and Adam, Dave Johnson, and Ben Kaufman working the vocals.
The countdown into 2017 fell after a cover of “Sister Golden Hair,” originally by the band America. Jay Elliott joined Yonder on a drum kit after the countdown, and the band moved into the electric portion of night, which spanned until the end of the set, with their final song choice being a return to the Dead’s catalog with “Touch of Grey.” The electric set had the whole band in high spirits to welcome in the new year, though Adam Aijala, in particular, was clearly lovin’ shredding the electric guitar.
For their encore, the band returned to the stage to finish out the night in traditional Yonder fashion. Upon return, however, sans electric instruments, Adam jokingly lamented the return to acoustic, saying “I hate to say it but going from electric back to this feels like ‘plinky plink.'” Ben quickly quipped back with something along the lines of, “Not everyone can have hair like slash Adam.” Despite the joking about the rockin’ electric set, the band did not hold anything back for their encore. They sent off the night right with a nonstop sequence featuring “Casualty” sandwiching “New Dusty Miller” before transitioning straight into “Crazy Train,” a crowd-favorite frenetic cover that had attendants leaving the venue wanting more.
You can peruse the setlists for yourself below, as well as check out photos from the weekend in the galleries below, courtesy of C. B. Klein.
Setlist: Yonder Mountain String Band, Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO – 12/30/16
Set 1: Rambler’s Anthem > Kentucky Mandolin > Left Me in a Hole, Troubled Mind, Winds of Fire > Bad Taste, I’m Holding You, All Aboard > Not Far Away > All Aboard
Set 2: Finally Saw the Light, Girlfriend is Better (1), Eat In Go Deaf Eat Out Go Broke, Chasing My Tail, Rollin In My Sweet Baby’s Arms (2), Richard Smoker, Love Before You Can’t, Landfall, Take A Chance On Me (3), Only A Northern Song > Sidewalk Stars > Only A Northern Song
Encore: Dancing In the Moonlight, Idaho
1=Dusty Rider of the Railsplitters on banjo
2=Lauren Stovall of the Railsplitters on vocals
3=first time played
Setlist: Yonder Mountain String Band, Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO – 12/31/16
Set 1: All The Time > You’re No Good > All the Time, Complicated, Check Out Time, Wind & Rain, Kobe the Dog, Rider, On The Run > Scent of a Mule > Wheel Hoss > Piss Up A Rope > Scent of a Mule > On The Run
Set 2: Angel > Robots > Years with Rose, Angel, Alison, Sister Golden Hair, Countdown, Rubberband (1) > Fingerprint (1), Pigs (1), Touch of Grey (1)
Encore: Casualty > New Dusty Miller > Casualty > Crazy Train
1=Jay Elliott on drums, electric