Lights, camera, Ogden. Denver’s premier venue had the good fortune of hosting Railroad Earth for the duration of their three night NYE run, and as each evening came to a close, grinning fans reluctantly left the theater, pleading for one more song. To say that the excitement had been building would be a vast understatement as, upon passing through the doors on Saturday night, we were immediately overtaken by the buzzing energy of the other 1,650 people with whom we would share our night.
The stage was set with a spectrum of beautiful instruments in front of a giant silver Mayan Calendar and floating disco balls, although the prediction stands for the end of humanity in December of 2012, it seems at least we’ll all be dancing. While opening up with a rather mellow 40 minute first set, Happy Song’s rhythmic shuffle foreshadowed where the band would take us all later on that evening. With lead singer/guitarist Todd Shaeffer harmonically leading the band from verse to verse, Andy Goessling kicked his banjo into high gear.
After a short break the band took the stage for an hour-long second set and started literally picking the place apart. Look left. Look right. Smiles are flying around the room, spinning and grinning row by row from the stage back, the crowd rested upon every kick, pluck, and jerk of the bow. A special guest, Keith Moseley from the StringCheese Incident, joined the band to play the second to last song of the set, Sometimes a River, which he wrote with Shaeffer, and lead the way on electric guitar. Closing out the set with Gold Rush, the band lit the place up one more time before taking their last set break of 2011.
At around quarter-till midnight, the band came returned, all wearing Mayan headdresses, and brought the out funk with an eight-minute Railroad Earth Jungle Jam, complete with stilt-wearing spirits. Shortly after, Mayan god Kukulkan came to the stage and announced his arrival to bring the year to a close and usher in a new beginning in 2012. With heart wrenching solos and delicate interplay, Spring Heeled Jack, in particular, the band barreled through the third set and left everyone one their toes, wondering what the encore had in store.
Building on what dear Kukulkan had said, RRE embraced the themes of change and renewal and played three very appropriate songs: Hard Livin’, All Things Must Pass, and, Peace on Earth. Our present, our past, and our future. What once was our past, now is our future, and it is upon all of us to make these changes and to continue working towards the ultimate goal of Peace.
The band will make an appearance on this year’s Jamcruise before kicking off their 2012 tour with nine shows in nine states in eleven days. Giddyup.
Article By: Jake Warner