Waking up getting everything in my car takes way longer than I had planned in my drunken state the night before. Or maybe its because my body is wracked y pain from dancing so hard the past to nights. I am thankful the roads look clear of snow as I start up my car begin the long drive back towards the bay area. Traffic gets bad along the journey and any plans of stopping in San Francisco to shower and change clothing disappear as the hours click away on my watch. So I ended up driving straight for Santa Cruz, welcoming the fact that at least the sun was out and the temperature went up steadily as I got closer to the coast. I managed to get close enough to Santa Cruz to stop at some good friends house along the way and drive with them to The Catalyst in preparation of the 8:30 start time. Upon entering, I ran into some other friends that had a homemade sign, with pictures of Sandy Alexander and Marie Davidson. This sign was a homage too these two avid Yonder fans that have passed away in the past four years that where very active in the Yonder community.
Unfortunately there must have been a miscommunication somewhere in the information chain between Yonder and The Catalyst since 8:30 came and went. Finally around 9:20, with the now packed dance floor getting very antsy, the lights dimmed and the band took to the stage. With great intensity, as if they knew they had better make up for their tardiness, Yonder launched right in with If Loving You is Killing Me. This fast little number instantly brought smiles to everyoneís dancing faces. The entire first set was jammed full of song sandwiches. The first being with New Horizons leading into the John Hartford cover, Steam Powered Aereoplane. These two songs are Yonder gems and where only heightened by the fact that the second half of New Horizons made up the other part of this song sandwich. The second one came in the form of Traffic Jam containing Frank Zappaís I am The Slime in the middle. The cover was performed flawlessly as they always, then leading into the end of the incredibly fast Traffic Jam. This closed out the first set.
Once again sweaty, and this time hungry as well, I headed to the pizza counter at The Catalyst. I hungrily wolfed down two slices of cheese pizza. The first set had been so good, I really wondered what Yonder had in store for us in the second. We didnít have to wait long to find out, as Jeff, Ben, Adam and Dave re-took to the stage and started us off with No Expectations, a beautiful mandolin number that had the crowd singing along. Next Ben walked to the microphone and started some fast bass notes, singing out the lyrics to Redbird. My stomach began to question the intelligence of eating so much pizza and dancing so hard. The pace simply did not stop, with each song that followed serving to raising the energy level up another notch. To end the second set, Yonder showed another monster song sandwich down the throats of tired but very happy fans. As the opening notes of Snow On The Pines echoed off the stage, the crowd began to cheer with new found energy. This version was very special since it contained both the Talking Heads cover Girlfriend Is Better as well as Morning Dew, written by Bonnie Dobson but made famous by The Grateful Dead. This simply blew my mind and as they entered into the ending melody of Snow On The Pines the slack jawed faces of the fans began to fill with smiles and cheers.
Not making the screaming fans wait very long, Yonder came back out and closed out the night with Two Hits and the Joint Turned Brown. The past three nights have seen so many of my favorite songs come and go, performed beautifully and leaving me breathless. I was left scratching my head, wondering what they had left in them for the next two nights. I make the decision to leave Santa Cruz immediately and head towards home, my girlfriend, my bed and my puppy.
Set 1 If Loving You is Killing Me This Train is Bound For Glory Rag Mama Wildewood Drive New Horizons Steam Powered Aereoplane New Horizons A Fatherís Arms Little Rabbit Romance Blues Traffic Jam I Am The Slime Traffic Jam
Set 2 No Expectations Red Bird Rambliní Boy Donít You Lean On Me Southbound Casualty Damned If The Right One Didnít Go Wrong Pow Wow the Indian Boy Iíd Like Off Snow On The Pines Girlfriend is Better Morning Dew Snow On The Pines