Leftover Salmon entered Boulder’s Fox Theatre to a sold-out crowd on a Monday night, and started the evening in more than (their already) unusual fashion. Guitarist Vince Herman read a “proclamation” from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, commemorating the theater’s 25th anniversary.  After a chorus of old-fashioned “whereas” and “therefore’s” led by Vince, the band dropped into their classic show opener “Carnival Time” to the insane pleasure of the 500 some-odd folks packed into the Fox.  After an obligatory “festivaallllllll” call from Vince, the rest of the band took their turns reminding us why they’re still kicking almost 30 years later, wonderfully invigorated by new keyboardist Eric Deutsch, even after the departure of Little Feat’s Bill Payne.

After a short pause, the band started mandolinist Drew Emmitt’s song, “Bend in the River,” and old Salmonheads recognized a possible pattern.  As soon as they busted out a washboard and “Ask the Fish,” that thought was confirmed.  Like the String Cheese Incident, another Colorado band celebrating the Fox’s 25th a couple nights before, Leftover Salmon was playing their classic live album, Ask the Fish Live, in its entirety.  The band treated old fans and new fans alike to delectable versions of “Lonesome Road” and the beloved bluegrass traditional “Reuben’s Train” before stretching out their take of Memphis Minnie’s “When the Levee Breaks.”  Banjo-man extraordinaire Andy Thorne stepped forward with some incredible electric banjo picking and Drew Emmitt followed right behind with equally innovative, rhythmic mandolin playing.

After singing “Happy Birthday” and presenting a birthday cake to drummer Alwyn Robinson, former Salmon drummer Michael Wooten dropped in for “Jokester” and “Stay Away Monday,” the first of many sit-ins that occurred throughout the night. After Wooten’s departure, the band hammered on, led by Robinson and veteran bassist Greg Garrison, leading the ensemble as they moved through “Cactus Flower” and the traditional “Hot Cold/Cold Corn,” both of which the crowd ate up gladly. Sometimes, old salmon is the best Salmon, and the band seemed set on proving that in more ways than one on Monday; their bluegrass chops have never sounded tighter on their take on Bill Monroe’s classic “Rocky Road Blues.”

The band opened the second set with the album-closing “Headbag,” ending their recreation of Ask the Fish Live. The second set was chock full of more rock-inclined Salmon tunes, with a guest appearance by Silas Herman, Vince’s son and mandolinist for the Colorado-borne band Gipsy Moon. With Silas’ help and Drew Emmitt on harmonica, the band rounded off the second set with a pair of classics, “Blues in a Bottle” and “Pasta on the Mountain,” before returning for their encore, “Good Night to Boogie.” The raging encore featured a sit-in from Hard Working American’s keyboardist Chad Staehly in addition to a reappearance by Silas Herman, leaving us all oh-so-satisfied, but nonetheless wondering about what the rest of this month’s full slate of anniversary shows at the Fox Theatre will hold in store.

Leftover Salmon will return to the world-famous Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado next weekend, March 10th, 11th, and 12th, for their now yearly tradition.  The Fox Theatre’s entire 25th Anniversary schedule can be found here, and check out a full photo gallery below by photographer C.B. Klein, as well a free stream of the night courtesy of nugs.tv and full streamable audio of the night, courtesy of Gerry Gladu.

Setlist: Leftover Salmon | Fox Theatre | Boulder, CO | 3/6/2017 

Set One: Carnival Time, Bend In The River, Ask The Fish, Lonesome Road, Two Step Au Will/Madame Rosin, Reuben’s Train, When The Levee Breaks, Jokester [1], Stay Away Monday [1], Cactus Flower, Hot Corn, Cold Corn, Come On Home, Rocky Road

Set Two: Head Bag, Gulf Of Mexico, High Country, Aquatic Hitchhiker, This Is The Time, Blues In A Bottle [2,3], Pasta on the Mountain [2,4]

Encore: Good Night To Boogie

[1] Michael Wooton on drums, [2] Silas Herman on mandolin, [3] Drew Emmitt on harmonica, [4] James Hambleton on guitar, [5] Chad Staehly on keyboard

Watch Leftover’s full performance below, courtesy of nugs.tv

Listen to a full stream of Monday’s show below, courtesy of Gerry Gladu