Leftover Salmon | 12.29.07 | Boulder

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Words by: Brian Heisler | Images by: Tobin Voggesser

Leftover Salmon :: 12.29.97 :: Boulder Theater :: Boulder, CO

Vince Herman :: 12.29
As a late Christmas present and pre-New Year’s Eve gift, Leftover Salmon reunited in its hometown for the first time in three years. The smiling faces of Vince Herman and Drew Emmitt stared at each other across the stage before the anxious crowd. Emotions ran high, both onstage and off. The return of one of Boulder’s great bands was a reunion for the musicians and longtime fans alike, familiar faces jumping right back into the madness as if it had never left.

With arms flailing crazily, Herman greeted the crowd and spun into fan-favorite “Zombie Jamboree.” Instantly, the Boulder Theater became a dance playground. Emmitt tore things open with his electric twang and slide on the mandolin during “Unplug the Telephone.” That great combination of Herman’s quirky personality and Emmitt’s unparalleled musicianship was sorely missed the past few years, and for one night in Boulder it was back again. “Bend on the River” found Emmitt on violin for a straighter bluegrass feel, during which Herman let out a one of his classic yelps.

Drew Emmitt :: 12.29
The second set opened with another fan-favorite, “Up On the Hill Boogie.” The crowd sang along, attempting to hit each note as the song reached higher in the “do do do, ooooh!” “Mama Boulet” included one of the best jams of the night, done in great Salmon Cajun style. Herman’s son, Silas, joined the band on guitar for “Key to the Highway.” It seems the next generation of slamgrass has begun.

Since the death of Mark Vann in 2002, Noam Pikelny has taken the reins on banjo for Leftover Salmon. While no one can replace Vann, Pikelny continues to impress. A smooth, fast solo from Pikelny made the bluegrass sound explode, setting the crowd off and inspiring Herman to jump on washboard for a tune.

It was one of those nights where each minute the show went on it got better. Every move was somehow better than the last, and it felt like it would never end as the band played on. After encoring with the Rolling Stones’ “Let it Bleed,” the crowd continued to rage and coaxed Salmon back for a second encore, which included Jeff Sipe‘s five-year-old son on drums and a collective, vocal-only version of “Wake and Bake.” Fans clapped and sang, and it all ended just as naturally as it began.

It was a wild year for Colorado music fans. 2007 saw the departure of Colorado greats String Cheese Incident and the return of Colorado’s original slamgrass heroes, Leftover Salmon. Here’s hoping for more Salmon and Cheese in our live music diets in 2008.

Leftover Salmon :: 12.29

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