Spafford brought an era and the year to a close on New Year’s Eve with the band’s final show with keyboardist Andrew “Red” Johnson.

Red announced his departure from Spafford in November, citing his desire to spend more time with his wife and family. He called his 11 years with Spafford “a dream come true”, adding, “I wouldn’t trade a single second.” His last show with the band took place exactly 11 years after he became a full-time member at Spafford’s New Year’s Eve show in 2011.

“Back in late 2011, I was asked to play a handful of shows with the band to finish out the year,” he wrote in a statement announcing his departure from the group. “That New Year’s Eve, I became a full time member of Spafford. New Year’s shows have always been very special to me, so it seems only fitting that my last show should be on New Year’s Eve.”

Apropos of the evening’s significance, Spafford opened with an extended 30-minute “Red’s Jam”, which flowed into “Left On The Runway”. The jam-heavy opening sequence set the tone for the night. Following runs through Red-led songs “People” and “Slip and Squander”, the band played a cover of The Who‘s “Eminence Front” before closing the first set with “Leave The Light On”.

Set two likewise began with an extended improvisation on “Diesel Driver”, followed by “My Road (My Road)”, “Alternate Ending”, and a cover of “Into The Mystic” by Van Morrison, one of many jewels in Red’s vocal crown. The set continued with “Backdoor Funk”, the obligatory “Auld Lang Syne” to ring in the new year, and a funky set-closing “Electric Taco Stand”.

After a brief encore break, Red emerged on stage and sat down at his keyboard to address the crowd. He got emotional as he sincerely thanked everyone in attendance and watching at home “from the bottom of my heart.”

“All of you have made all of my dreams come true, and that’s all I can say. I can’t get through any more,” he told the audience, his voice quavering with emotion. He then added, “I will always be Spafford’s biggest fan,” before playing a sentimental “Beautiful Day”. The rest of the band joined him on stage at the end of the song, and when it was done, they concluded his final show with a glorious, 20-minute rendition of “All In”. The crowd chanted “Red” over and over as he took a final bow with the band, embraced his longtime bandmates, blew a kiss to the audience, and exited the stage for the last time.

Spafford – “Beautiful Day” – 12/31/22

Watch Red’s last show with Spafford in its entirety via the band’s YouTube channel in the player below.

Spafford will continue on with The New Motif’s Cory Schechtman on keys. The band recently announced its first tour dates with the new lineup, which are set to begin in Colorado this month. For a full list of tour dates and ticketing details, visit the band’s website.

Spafford – Marquee Theatre – Tempe, AZ – 12/31/22 [Pro-Shot]


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Setlist: Spafford | Marquee Theatre | Tempe, AZ | 12/31/22

Set I: Red’s Jam > Left On The Runway, People, Slip and Squander, Eminence Front* > Leave The Light On

Set II: Diesel Driver > My Road (My Road) (>) Alternate Ending > Into The Mystic^, Backdoor Funk, To The Nest > Auld Lang Syne > Electric Taco Stand

Encore: Beautiful Day, All In

* The Who cover
^ Van Morrison cover