Atlanta just can’t get enough of Arizona’s Spafford these days. Just 3 months ago during their red-hot “For Amusement Only” tour Spafford sold out the 600 capacity venue Terminal West in a matter of minutes. Then Spafford turns around and sells out Variety Playhouse, a 1,100 person venue, in a matter of seconds for an afterparty for Atlanta’s Sweetwater 420 Fest. By the time 4/20 had come tickets could be found at a resale value of close to $100 and sometimes more. Needless to say expectations and a need to see the young band continues to soar and man did Spafford deliver.
The set opened with the guitar riff of Electric Taco Stand which popped the energy bubble and had everyone bobbing and grooving along immediately. Once the band got to the chorus the full force of the sold out late night crowd was felt as we all sang “As the times go by!!” Spafford kept the energy high going into the first jam section before plunging deep into the trippy grooves at about the 9-10 min mark of Electric Taco Stand. All My Friends>Bee Jam followed clocking in at about the 20 min mark and ended with a smooth transition into Salamander Song and again the energy of the crowd was felt as we all sang in unison “We’re Dancing the whole way hoooommme!”
Next came the highlight of the evening, All In. This segment has everything I love about jam bands all together. Clocking in at about the 25 min mark but the bulk of the madness happens between min 8-25. The band locked into a slow funk groove dripping with trippy riffs from Brian’s guitar and Red’s keyboards. As the band progressed through the song, around the 18 min mark bassist Jordan Fairless breaks off and starts to tinker with his bass amp leaving just drums, keys, and guitar to vamp for the next 3-5 mins which still provided some special moments from Red’s keyboards keeping the psychedelic space feel going. After sound personnel and everyone got the bass amp working the band came back together for an epic peak and the crowd went nuts. With a laugh, a wave, and a smile Jordan and the band continued on with the show.
Todd’s Totts came next which had everyone not wanting to sleep at night as well as a full bass amp switch from Spaffords crew which set up for the 2nd highlight of the night – Plans. Filled with renewed energy Jordan was seen dancing like a mad man and slapping the bass with an almost angry face getting out the emotions of the last two songs. Plans finished at about the 14 min mark and the band finished up the set with Men at Work’s Down Under. The band came back out and encored with a brand new original Broken Wing.