For their debut at the Ogden Theatre in Denver, CO, it is safe to say that Fruition held nothing back and pulled together a truly magical night of music. Though the premiere jamgrass band has passed through Colorado in recent months, playing Red Rocks and a handful of festivals around the state, Friday’s performance was their first time back in the city of Denver since January. Clearly, Coloradans needed their Fruition fix, as the band’s first time playing the large venue, supported by the Larry Keel Experience, had their largest presale numbers to date. And, Fruition made sure to make a night of it for the eager fans who have waited patiently for their return. During the span of their two sets, the band welcomed six friends—Jason Hann of the String Cheese Incident, Bevin Foley of Trout Steak Revival, Brad Parsons, Andy Hall of the Infamous Stringdusters, Larry Keel, and Andy Thorn of Leftover Salmon—to share the stage with them to create a night of music that was truly a privilege to witness.

To start off the evening, the Larry Keel Experience, played some good ol’ fashioned bluegrass. Together, Larry Keel, the world-renowned flatpicker, Jenny Keel (bass), Jared Pool (mandolin), and special guest Andy Thorn (banjo) from Leftover Salmon set the tone of the evening with an energetic set that proved why the band is billed as an experience. To give the crowd a teaser of what to expect during the rest of the night, Larry welcomed Mimi Naja of Fruition to the stage for a cover of Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart,” followed by a cover of The Band’s “Ophelia,” ending their set to explosive applause.

Keeping on with the energy that the Larry Keel Experience had built during its set, Fruition did not waste any time once they got on stage. The band kicked off their night with “Labor of Love,” the title track of their latest album, which was released in April of this year. Mimi Naja started off the next song, “The Wanter,” on vocals and mandolin before the rest of the band dropped in for the song. Before moving into the next track, the band took a moment to bring up the house lights and look over the packed crowd. In contrast to the previous two energetic songs that opened the set, the band slowed things down with “I Can’t Stop,” a powerful ballad during which particularly Kellen Asebroek shone on the keys. “I Can’t Stop” transitioned directly into “I Don’t Mind,” a blues-rock anthem off their latest album, which featured a standout bassline by Jeff Leonard, soulful vocals by Mimi Naja, and impressive solos from Kellen Asebroek on keys and Jay Cobb Anderson on guitar, and which terminated with a section of a capalla harmonies that elicited a huge response from the crowd.


For their first guest of the night, Fruition welcomed Jason Hann (String Cheese Incident, EOTO) to sit-in on “The Way That I Do.” Everyone on stage was all smiles as they moved through the upbeat love song, and Jason’s outstanding soloing on the djembe only amplified the feeling that the night was going to be something special. After Jason left the stage, Kellen Asebroek returned to the guitar and sang a powerful rendition of “Blue Light.” Jay Cobb Anderson introduced the next song as “a song for the mountain folk” before the band moved into crowd-favorite “Mountain Annie.” For the final chorus of “Mountain Annie”, the band held back, letting the audience sing the chorus, and the members on stage looked visibly moved by the crowd’s enthusiastic response.

Bevin Foley of Trout Steak Revival accompanied the band for the next song, “Beside You,” and her violin part perfectly complimented the mourning tone of the soulful ballad. Following “Beside You,” Fruition invited singer and guitarist Brad Parsons to join Bevin as a guest on stage. The band covered Brad’s newly released track, “Montana,” which featured impressive solos from Bevin Foley and Mimi Naja, and introduced those unacquainted in the crowd to the powerhouse of a voice that is Brad Parsons.

Watch Brad Parsons’ “Montana” with Fruition, courtesy of Tory Pittarelli of the Mischief Collective.

Bevin Foley left the stage before Brad Parsons, again, showcased his jaw-dropping vocals on the next song, “Stay Close.” The punctuated instrumentation within the song enhanced the vocals and highlighted the impressive solos from Mimi, Jay, and Kellen. At the close of the song, Brad Parsons exited the stage, and Fruition welcomed yet another guest, Andy Hall from the Infamous Stringdusters, on stage to throw down on the dobro for the final heartfelt song of the set. During “Highway 1,” Andy Hall took center stage as he exchanged call-and-response solos with Jay Cobb Anderson and Mimi Naja. The band brought the song down to a moment of haunting vocal harmonies before bringing the energy levels back up to close out the first set.

For the second set, the band opened with “There She Was,” with Mimi on electric guitar, and both Mimi and Jay showed off with some shreddy guitar solos before Kellen worked in a tease of “My Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music on keys. This was followed by “Santa Fe,” another favorite off of the band’s recent release, into “Never Again,” which opened with a quick drum break a la Tyler Thompson before moving into the energetic bluegrass song. The band slowed it down for the beautiful and moving “Come On, Get In,” which moved into “Just One of Them Nights.” Next, the band brought up the energy of the crowd with some rock and roll with “Lay Down Blues,” which featured frenetic and masterly soloing by Jay.


Fruition kept the guests coming, bringing out Larry Keel on guitar halfway through the second set. This was a particularly beautiful thing to witness, as the band members noted that they have long looked up to Larry as an inspiration, and it was apparent how jazzed and grateful they were to bring him out. With Larry Keel, the band first played the slower and almost airy “Early Morning Wake Up,” which sped up into “Fire.” During “Fire,” an old-school guitar duel erupted as Jay and Larry took power stances and showed off their mindblowing skills, eliciting hoots and hollers from the crowd. As Jay and Larry took turns kneeling on stage and shredding, the other band members stepped back and looked as in awe as those in the crowd.

“Fire” moved into Neil Young’s “Ohio,” during which every person in the crowded theater was feeling the music, even the security guards by the front of the stage who were bobbing their heads along and grinning. “Ohio” moved back into “Fire” to bring a climactic end to Larry Keel’s cameo with the band. After Larry scampered off stage, the band looked almost in a state of shock, with Kellen asking “What just happened?” and Mimi instructing the crowd to raise their glasses and leading a cheers to the historic moment that had just occurred.

Mimi had one of her strongest vocal showings of the night during “I Should Be,” and she mesmerized the audience with her ability to imbue a huge amount of emotion with her soulful vocal stylings during the slower rock ballad. As if the Larry Keel sit-in wasn’t enough, following “I Should Be,” the band welcomed to the stage Andy Thorn of Leftover Salmon on banjo. For “Daddy Lessons,” a cover from Beyonce’s Lemonade, which featured Mimi, a noted Beyonce enthusiast, on vocals. The choice of a pop-song cover featuring Andy Thorn echoes Leftover Salmon New Year’s set last year in Portland, OR at the Roseland Ballroom, during which Mimi sat in with Leftover to sing Adele’s “Hello.” Following “Daddy Lessons,” after a few minutes of confusion, Jason Hann was properly located and welcomed back on stage to join Andy Thorn and the band in the Talking Heads’ “Nothing But Flowers.” This was a particularly joyous moment of the night, not only because of the happy-go-lucky nature of the song but also because of how everyone on stage was clearly having a ball trading off solos and playing together. Jason Hann exited the stage, leaving Andy Thorn and Fruition on stage for the next song. Jay, before moving into “Falling on my Face,” noted that the song is not a traditional banjo song but that he was stoked to have Andy Thorn play on it. Andy Thorn’s banjo playing was a perfect complement to “Falling on my Face,” as the banjo cascading above the heavier rock song and filled out the sound beautifully.


Andy Thorn exited the stage, and the band welcomed Brad Parsons back again to sing the cheery “Somehow, Some Way, Some Day.” Brad Parsons’ vocals took the song to the next level, and again, the euphoria of the musicians was contagious as Brad Parsons and Kellen Asebroek bounced around the stage grinning. The five members of Fruition closed out the second set with a truly beautiful and moving version of “The Meaning.” As the crowd sang out the line “Life’s for the living,” Kellen laughed, clearly caught off guard to some extent by the crowd’s response. The song was a perfect cap for the set, and the packed theater went wild at its conclusion.

Watch Fruition’s “Somehow, Some Way, Some Day” with Brad Parsons, courtesy of Tory Pittarelli at the Mischief Collective.

For the encore, Fruition played the Beatles’ “I Got A Feeling,” during which Mimi and Jay switched off vocals and, at points, shared the same mic. For the last song of the night, Jay noted that they “had to play their Colorado song” before the band moved into an a capella harmony that kicked off “Meet Me on the Mountain.” Mimi and Jay both used the song as a time to get up close and personal with the pit, taking a knee at the front of the stage during their solos. The song closed with the house lights being brought up, and the crowd singing the chorus a capella, solidifying the night as a truly magical one.

It’s easy to understand why Fruition’s fan base has grown so quickly over the years and is so dedicated to the band, as anyone who gets a chance to see them falls in love with their eclectic mix of musical stylings and heartfelt and playful stage presence. To the people that I spoke to during and after the show, many noted that Fruition has an ability to evoke such a range of sincere emotions in those listening, and Friday’s show at the Ogden was certainly no different. If you have the chance, do yourself a favor and check out Fruition during their upcoming tour dates, which are listed below and on the band’s website.

All photos appear courtesy of Rios Photography.

Listen to the whole show below, courtesy of Terry Lapointe:

Setlist: Fruition at the Ogden Theatre in Denver, CO – 10/21/16

Set I: Labor of Love, The Wanter, I Can’t Stop, I Don’t Mind, The Way That I Do [1], Blue Light, Mountain Annie, Beside You [2], Montana* [2, 3], Stay Close [3], Highway 1 [4]

Set II: There She Was, Santa Fe, Never Again, Come On, Get In, Just One of Them Nights, Lay Down Blues, Early Morning Wake Up [5], Fire > Ohio > Fire [5], I Should Be, Daddy Lessons** [6], Nothing But Flowers*** [1, 6], Falling on my Face [6], Somehow [7], The Meaning

Encore: I Got A Feeling****, Meet Me on the Mountain

[1] Jason Hann on percussion
[2] Bevin Foley on violin
[3] Brad Parsons on guitar and vocals
[4] Andy Hall on dobro
[5] Larry Keel on guitar
[6] Andy Thorn on banjo
[7] Brad Parsons on vocals

*Brad Parsons original
**Beyonce cover
***Talking Heads cover
****Beatles cover

Fruition Upcoming Tour Dates
October 22 – Aspen, CO – The Belly Up
October 27 – Live Oak, FL – Suwanee Hulaween
November 4 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
November 5 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre
November 6 – Jackson, MS – Duling Hall
November 9 – Baton Rouge, LA – Varsity Theatre
November 10 – San Antonio, TX – Aztec Theatre
November 11 – Houston, TX – House of Blues
November 12 – Austin, TX – Emo’s
December 29 – Portland, OR – The Wonder Ballroom
December 30 – Portland, OR – The Wonder Ballroom
December 31 – Portland, OR – The Wonder Ballroom