Spafford Delivers Emotional Sendoff For Andrew ‘Red’ Johnson On New Year’s Eve
Watch pro-shot video of Red’s final show, which took place at The Marquee Theatre in Tempe, Arizona.
By Scott Bernstein Jan 3, 2023 • 7:10 am PST
Keyboardist Andrew “Red” Johnson played his final show as a member of Spafford on New Year’s Eve. The concert on Saturday ended a two-night home state run at The Marquee Theatre in Tempe, Arizona.
Johnson announced his decision to depart Spafford back in November with a note in which he cited his desire to spend more time with his family. Red’s first show as a full-time member of Spafford came on December 31, 2011, so he thought it was fitting to end his run on New Year’s Eve. Spafford tapped Cory Schectman (The New Motif) to join the band starting in 2023.
Johnson, guitarist Brian Moss, bassist Jordan Fairless and drummer Nick Tkachyk honored the keyboardist by opening with an expansive “Red’s Jam” that spanned over 30 minutes. The improv-heavy, five-song first set continued with adventurous takes on “People” and “Slip And Squander.” Spafford then jammed a cover of The Who’s “Eminence Front” into beloved original “Leave The Light On” to end the frame.
Recently debuted original “Diesel Driver” kicked off the final set of Red’s tenure. After nearly 20 minutes “My Road (My Road)” emerged and eventually led into “Alternate Ending.” Spafford concluded the seamless set-opening run with their rendition of the Van Morrison classic “Into The Mystic.” A standalone 14-minute “Backdoor Funk” followed before a wild take on “To The Nest” from their 2022 LP, Simple Mysteries, closed out the year. A countdown came out of a particularly spacey jam and gave way to the traditional “Auld Lang Syne” as balloons filled the venue. Spafford wrapped the set with fan favorite “Electric Taco Stand.”
Red took the stage alone at the start of the encore. Johnson addressed the crowd and thanked those on hand and watching the livestream at home for all of their support over the years. “All of you have made all of my dreams come true,” Andrew added. “I will always be thankful and I’m so excited for the future of Spafford.” He then played a solo “Beautiful Day” before his bandmates joined him to wrap the night and his tenure with a powerful “All In.”
Watch pro-shot video of Saturday’s show below:
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Spafford kicks off the Cory Schectman era on Friday in Crested Butte, Colorado.
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Setlist (via SpaffNerds)
Set One: Red’s Jam, People, Slip And Squander, Eminence Front > Leave The Light On
Set Two: 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