The End Of An Era: Railroad Earth Performs Final Show With Andrew Altman
The band's Horn O'Plenty finale in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania also featured a guest appearance from Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye.
Andrew Altman played his final show as a member of Railroad Earth this past Saturday, November 26 at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. The second and last of RRE’s 11th annual Horn O’Plenty concerts in Stroudsburg saw Altman say farewell to his bandmates and Hobo fanbase also included a guest appearance from longtime Patti Smith collaborator, guitarist Lenny Kaye.
Altman took two opportunities to address the crowd. The bassist spoke emotionally about his 13-year tenure at the start of the second set and also gave thanks before sharing vocals with frontman/guitarist Todd Sheaffer on the evening’s “Long Way To Go” encore.
RRE looked back to 2014’s The Last Of The Outlaws to get Saturday’s show underway with “Chasin’ A Rainbow.” The jamgrass act then paired oldies “Happy Song” and “Elko” before jamming the title track from their 2004 LP, The Good Life, into recently debuted cut “My Favorite Spot.” A quick romp through “RV” and instrumental “Farewell To Isinglass” came next. Railroad Earth closed the frame with an expansive “Grandfather Mountain” and 2019 single “The Great Divide.”
“I wanted to say a little something if that’s okay,” Altman said at the beginning of the second set. “Let’s see if I could get through this without an ugly cry.”
Read more of what the bassist told the crowd after setbreak:
“When it became clear it was time to make a change for myself and my family, I had to think about the last time we’ll get to be together. There was no question to me it would be here with all of you. Because everyone here in the Northeast, New Jersey, this is the band’s home. You’ve been supporting them since before I got here. I know you’re going to keep supporting them after I’m gone and that’s why I love you guys. Thank you, you’re like part of the family. I appreciate you and that’s all I can say!”
Andrew asked the audience if they would take a picture with the band before Railroad Earth launched the closing stanza with “Black Elk Speaks.” A lengthy take on the beloved “Head” gave way to the rollicking “Only By The Light.” A powerful “Mourning Flies” followed along with the Andrew Altman-helmed “12 Wolves.” Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye then emerged for “Blues Highway” off the latest RRE album, 2022’s All For The Song, and “Dancing Barefoot.” Kaye played electric guitar on both, the latter of which was originally released on the Patti Smith Group’s 1979 album, Wave.
Railroad Earth ended the set sans Kaye with live staple “The Jupiter And The 119” and All For The Song’s “Runnin’ Wild.” Andrew Altman addressed the crowd once more following the encore break. “I want to thank these guys,” Altman began and reeled off the names of his bandmates past and present. “They let me live my dream in music. They let me be myself,” the bassist said as he teared up. Altman and Sheaffer then co-helmed “Long Way To Go” to seal the weekend.
Watch fan-shot video of “Dancing Barefoot” and “Long Way To Go” along with an audience recording taped by Johnny C below:
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Setlist (via Railroad Earth Facebook)
Set One: Chasin’ A Rainbow > Happy Song, Elko, The Good Life > My Favorite Spot, RV, Farewell to Isinglass > Grandfather Mountain, The Great Divide
Set Two: Black Elk Speaks, Head, Only By The Light > Mourning Flies, 12 Wolves, Blues Highway* > Dancing Barefoot*, The Jupiter and the 119 > Runnin’ Wild
Encore: Long Way To Go^
- * – with Lenny Kaye on electric guitar
- ^ – with Todd & Andrew trading off lead vocals