Greensky Bluegrass returned to The Egg in Albany, NY on January 24 for their first East Coast show of 2018. The Michigan band was joined by Billy Strings, who opened the show with a selection from his 2017 album, Turmoil & Tinfoil. This sold-out crowd was treated to two sets of fantastic bluegrass on this “Casual Wednesday” with a number of egg jokes thrown in for good measure.
The Quintet from Kalamazoo opened their first set with “Past My Prime,” which was greeted with a thunderous applause from the crowd. They followed that up with “Bringing In The Georgia Mail” and “Jaywalking.” Each featured a flurry of impressive solos with an eerie Dobro solo from Anders Beck. Both the band and the audience threw out egg jokes before and after launching into “Gumboots,” “Against the Days” and “Into the Rafters.” The bird jokes continued before starting “Reverend” and then following that with “Clinch Mountain Backstep.” The boys ended the set with “Nine Days” and fan-favorite, “Worried About The Weather.” This was the longest song of the set and received the loudest response from the fawning crowd.
The beer line quickly faded as the lights dimmed, signaling the start of a magnificent second set. “Cryin’ Holy Unto The Lord” was the uplifting opener everyone needed to start dancing again. The highlight of the night was “All Four,” an 18 minute gem which featured a rousing jam that dazzled and amazed everyone in attendance. “What’s Left of the Night” was next and Michael Arlen Bont’s incredible banjo solo was spectacular. The band brought the jam down to an ephemeral lullaby before bringing it back up to finish the song and move into “Miss September.” This was the catchiest song of the night and Paul Hoffman really shined on Mandolin during this track.
Greensky slowed things down with a spacey intro into “Bottle Dry,’ whose roaring peak was followed by the frenetic “Radio Blues.” The band’s fingers were a blur as they played each verse of this toe-tapping hit. The Egg received even more compliments during an appropriate “Casual Wednesday.” Anders came out and said this was an “Eggs-quisite room that was really Grade-A” and the crowd couldn’t agree more. Without missing a beat, they were off like a shot with “Broke Mountain Breakdown.” After some bombastic back-and-forth playing, they broke into a wavy, ambient jam before they brought it all back together with an effect-laden scorcher of a solo on the pedal steel.
Things weren’t over yet as the band ended the second set with the Michael Jackson hit, “Beat It.” Mike Devol’s bass playing had everyone moving as this song got everyone out of their seats to end the set. As the crowd gave a standing ovation, Dave Bruzza welcomed Billy Strings out on stage to help with their encore. The audience went silent as all 8 players played an unplugged encore featuring the solemn “Tear Down The Grand Ole Opry” and the upbeat “Sunny Side Of The Mountain.”
Setlist via PhantasyTour
Set 1: Past My Prime, Bringing in the Georgia Mail, Jaywalking> Gumboots, Against the Days, Into the Rafters, Reverend> Clinch Mountain Backstep, Nine Days, Worried About the Weather
Set 2: Cryin’ Holy Unto The Lord (Rock Where Moses Stood), All Four, What’s Left of the Night> Miss September> Bottle Dry, The Radio Blues, Casual Wednesday, Broke Mountain Breakdown> Funk Jam> Beat It
Encore: Tear Down The Grand Ole Opry* Sunny Side of the Mountain*
* w/ Billy Strings Band, acoustic at the lip of the stage