Spafford made lemonade with a live, ticketed performance at Digital Drive-In Mesa, AZ on Sunday night which was streamed for free to fans everywhere to enjoy. As artists around the country remain confined to live streams, the Arizona-bred quartet took what many consider the next step forward in terms of concert production in a post-coronavirus world.
Spafford is among the first acts to execute the idea, which is becoming ever-more prevalent, from full drive-in tours (like Marc Rebillet has announced) to the various drive-in series popping up at Major League ballparks across the country. With built-in social distancing guidelines, the drive-in theater approach seems far more practical than reducing a venue’s capacity by 80 percent.
As the band took the stage just after sunset, the environment was undoubtedly strange. Keyboardist Andrew “Red” Johnson put the audience at ease, however, by thanking them for a “dream come true,” before launching into the campy, upbeat synth riff of “The Remedy”. All systems were a go as Spafford ran through an airy “Backdoor Funk” that showed the group can pull off their own brand of laid-back funky jams on whatever stage they want. After an all-too-appropriate “Be Strange”, Spafford took a couple more fan-favorites for a ride, including “Slip and Squander” and “America”, before segueing into “The Reprise” to close out the set.
With the sun fully set as the band returned for the second frame, the giant movie screen adjacent to the band’s stage was in full effect, broadcasting the musicians-turned-movie-stars on the big screen while audio was fed to car-bound concert-goers via short-range FM radio. Spafford kicked off what would prove to be a five-song frame with the bluesy “Shake You Loose”, setting the stage for an improv-laden second set. Guitarist Brian Moss took center stage on “Electric Taco Stand” next as he lead both the vocals and the sonic exploration that the song prompted. After a couple more regulars, “The Postman” and “Salamander Song”, Spafford wrapped the second set with “All In”.
— Nonsense_3Ns 🤪 (@Dianna_2Ns) May 25, 2020
After thanking the audience, both physical and digital, once more, Red took the band through his tender balland, “Beautiful Day”, for the encore. Given how much he said that he and the band missed their fans, it truly was a beautiful day for Spafford, one of the few groups that has been able to perform live before an audience these past two-and-a-half months.
Watch pro-shot video of Spafford’s entire Digital Drive-In performance from Mesa, AZ.
Spafford — Mesa, AZ — 5/24/20 — [Pro- Shot, Full-Show Video]
Setlist: Spafford | Digital Drive-In | Mesa, AZ | 5/24/20
Set one: The Remedy, Backdoor Funk, Be Strange, Slip And Squander, America > The Reprise
Set two: Shake You Loose, Electric Taco Stand, The Postman, Salamander Song, All In
Encore: Beautiful Day
On Saturday, May 30th, Spafford will join 60+ other acts in performing at the inaugural Quarantine Comes Alive, a virtual music festival benefitting PLUS1‘s comprehensive COVID-19 Relief Fund.
Modeled after Brooklyn Comes Alive and Denver Comes Alive, Quarantine Comes Alive was conceived as a way to celebrate and support musicians, provide fans with unique musical experiences from the comfort of their couches, and raise money for comprehensive COVID-19 relief during this time of uncertainty.
Make a donation of any amount below or at quarantinecomesalive.com to receive a link to the stream on the day of the show.