Check out YMSB from 2005 Big Summer Classic in Schaumburg, IL on JamCam.

Words by: Melissa L. Burke :: Images by Tobin Voggesser

Yonder Mountain String Band :: 09.01.06 :: Red Rocks Amphitheatre :: Morrison, CO

YMSB :: 09.01 :: Red Rocks
It has been said that, "Not All Who Wander Are Lost," and for the scores of Colorado Yonder Mountain String Band fans, September 1st was the ultimate homecoming. YMSB ascended the stage at the world famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre as one of the opening bands for the revered Allman Brothers Band. Now these boys are no strangers to huge audiences themselves at this point, but for the fans that have seen the band "grow up" firsthand, this was a moment of awe and pride.

Oteil Burbridge (ABB bassist) his Peacemakers opened the show with a lively 40-minute set. Mother Nature, who has been gentle during most of the Red Rocks outdoor concert season, greeted fans and musicians alike with a stormy and chilly presence. This did little to dissuade the weather-seasoned Yonder fellows, as most of them make their homes in Nederland, Colorado, where the chilly winds do blow and all residents are familiar with the cold rain and snow. Undaunted, the band took their places on stage and settled into an exceptional show.

Adam Aijala - YMSB :: 09.01
Playing to a very full house, it was clear that many in the audience were there to pay homage to their hometown heroes. Lively and witty as ever, mandolin player and vocalist Jeff Austin gave a big "Hello" to all, and the band stepped into an appropriate "East Nashville Easter," followed by "Going Where They Don't Know My Name," which seems highly unlikely in the literal sense. Energized and humble, the band was full of friendly and appreciative banter that related to their jubilation at playing the esteemed Red Rocks. Austin remarked that he had been in the audience on his first visit to Colorado from his native Illinois and that he never thought he would one day be standing on the stage. A lot more than sentiment marked the performance. The recent five-month tour ended here, and the road has apparently done YMSB just fine, as they played with exceptionally well-oiled precision. All members played with extraordinary verve, making it difficult to decide which one to focus on.

Banjo player extraordinaire Dave Johnston has a quiet but mischievous stage presence that reminds the audience that although he is a serious musician, he's having just much fun as they are. Johnston had truly sublime moments on the banjo that elevated the songs we have heard many times to a newly interpreted view. YMSB has the rare ability to play each song in a new way at any given time, which always rejuvenates the tune. This evening was a rock-solid example of how this band has progressed into what they are today, due to an intangible coherence of merged resonance. They own the sound they create, born of influences as diverse as traditional bluegrass to Ozzy Osbourne. YMSB is a band for all ages and lovers of all kinds of music, which is demonstrated by their newest radio hit, "How 'Bout You?" sung by bass player Ben Kaufmann.

Johnston & Aijala - YMSB :: 09.01 :: Red Rocks
It's difficult to pigeon-hole the band's genre, and that is probably just fine with them. YMSB's dizzying touring schedule and the release of their new self-titled album, which was produced by Tom Rothrock (Beck, Elliott Smith, Blunt) and included drummer Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello), more than likely keeps them too busy to think about the actual progression of their sound, which remains uncharted. The ability of the band to stay connected to old fans and create new ones as they effortlessly evolve is easily the key to their success. A strong community exists between members and fans, and humor, tastefully crafted tunes, penetrating vocals, and occasionally profound stage ramblings hold the audience close. Regardless of where they wander, Yonder still seems to be in touch with their fans and unchanged by their success.

YMSB :: 09.01 :: Red Rocks
Rain pelting down and an occasional wind did not chill the heat Yonder threw down from the Red Rocks stage. Kaufmann reminisced by saying, "Picture an up-and-coming bluegrass band in a tiny bar in Nederland - four guys all playing music and trying to get going. We've played some crappy places along the way, and this ain't one of them!" Adam Aijala sang a classic YMSB original with great heart, "You Left Me In A Hole." Aijala's guitar playing was impeccable throughout the show, a real example of pure D'Addario Magic.

In all, Yonder Mountain's Red Rocks show was just plain perfect, musically, spiritually, and atmospherically. The boys played a relatively short set, but weather and music proved cleansing enough to satisfy all.

East Nashville Easter, Going Where They Don’t Know My Name, Night Out, At the End Of The Day, Angel, Damned If The Right One Didn't Go Wrong, Half Moon Rising, Fastball, How 'Bout You?, Death Trip, Sometimes I've Won, Nothin' But Nothin', Finally Saw The Light. Left Me In A Hole, Peace Of Mind > Up On The Hill Where They Do The Boogie > 2 Hits And The Joint Turned Brown

Continue reading for the headlining act, Allman Brothers Band...

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