Greensky Bluegrass performed a nearly two-hour, free live stream on Wednesday, marking the band’s first in-person performance since the coronavirus events hiatus began. While the band intentionally did not disclose the location of the show to avoid people showing up to the crowdless concert, fans were quick to point out that the show appeared to take place at St. Louis, MO’s The Pageant. The full-production performance was shot in 4K HDR by 201 Productions and streamed via HYFI. The free stream also featured a virtual tip jar from which a portion of the proceeds will go to the ACLU.
While mandolinist/vocalist Paul Hoffman had noted his excitement about reuniting with his bandmates in the flesh in a promo video for the concert posted on Tuesday evening (“Guys… we’re back! We’re in a venue! Feels good, right?”), he wasted no time with sentimentality to start things off on Wednesday with “Living Over”.
After that came “Windshield”, which began a series of segues that took the band through renditions of The Beatles‘ “Help!” and their own “Take Cover”. The show rolled on with more fan-favorite originals, including “Bottle Dry” and “What You Need”, the latter of which saw tour manager/”greatest vibraslap player in the bluegrass world” Guido Batista offer his customary introductory “buzz.”
After runs through “In Control” and “A Letter to Seymour”, the silliness began as dobro player Anders Beck left the stage and ascended to the balcony as guitarist Dave Bruzza noted with a smile, “We’re live, and it’s Wednesday.” Added Hoffman jokingly, “Man, I hope I remember the words.” With that, the band launched into the “Casual Wednesday” that many fans were expecting from the moment the stream was announced.
For those unaware, “Casual Wednesday”, whose lyrics are, simply, “Casual Wednesday”, has been known to pop up at Greensky shows hosted on Hump Day, giving Beck a chance to command the crowd with some light-hearted antics. For this edition, Beck made the most of the extra space afforded by the empty theater, donning a viking helmet and popping up to the vacant balcony to kick things off. “If you don’t like fun, this would be a great time for you to go to the bathroom at home,” Beck joked.
As his amused bandmates provided accompaniment, Beck did his “casual” MC thing, riffing on the long break since the last time the band celebrated “Casual Wednesday”. As his spiel went on, a shirtless “fan” with an “I Miss Live Shows” sign appeared on the balcony. “I miss live shows too, man,” Beck riffed. “I miss shirts, also.”
As he made his way downstairs and found a golf cart to drive around the ballroom floor, He went on to crunch the numbers on Wednesdays, noting that the band has not celebrated Casual Wednesday together in 24 Wednesdays and reminding the streaming audience there are only 16 Wednesdays until the election.
He also dubbed this Wednesday “the worst Wednesday of my life” due to the fact that the band had to play to no in-person audience. As he said into the camera, “I’m in a venue with my friends and nobody else here. We’re in an empty, and that sucks! I miss you! I miss you, I really do! Because it’s Casual Wednesday, I need you!” Of course, it wasn’t all bad, as Beck even grabbed one of the 4K cameras for a few moments to shakily zoom in on his bandmates.
Things then returned to relative normalcy as the band’s full lineup took on “Worried About The Weather”, followed by “Old Barns”. The concert then wound down with “Wings for Wheels”, which ultimately led into a show closing “Don’t Lie”.
Scroll down to check out some photos from the show courtesy of photographer Dylan Langille (ontheDL photography).
Setlist [H/T JamBase]: Greensky Bluegrass | The Pageant | St. Louis, MO | 7/16/20
Living Over, Windshield > Help! > Take Cover, Bottle Dry, What You Need (1), In Control > A Letter to Seymour, Casual Wednesday (2), Worried About the Weather, Old Barns (3)(4), Wings for Wheels > Don’t Lie
(1) – w/ Guido Batista (vibraslap)
(2) – Lyric change “Casual camera”, Anders wanders around the balcony, drives a golf cart
(3) – New Barns arrangement
(4) – Fixin’ to Ruin tease