Greensky Bluegrass swept through Eugene’s McDonald Theatre for a night of fall-tastic bluegrass. The essence of the evening illuminated the transition of the seasons, from the epic lyrical storytelling, to the graceful auditory buildups.
The tour bus parked outside the venue came into view, as attendees rounded the corner of the show’s line beneath the animated marquee.
Then the night began. Greensky Bluegrass ignited the evening with “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down.”
The crowd embraced the band’s organic representation of traditional bluegrass, which was combined with a newly-generational lyricism and storytelling technique; and the eloquent string-picking notes simulated the sounds of leaves gently falling to the ground.
“Lose My Way” was next—with Hoffman’s vocals ringing strongly—supported by an epic banjo solo from Bont, and followed by a true showcase of instrumental storytelling from Beck on the dobro.
A twangy and classical bluegrass start to “It’s Not Mine Anymore” followed, continuing with an elongated and spacey strumming, which then finished with a dramatic pause and re-entry to close out the entirety of the tune.
Hoffman called out to the audience, “Hello Eugene!”
It sure has been awhile!” shouted an attendee from the crowd, wishing Anders Beck [dobro] a birthday congratulations.
Next was “Universal Sound,” with an intense, highlighted solo from Devol on the upright bass. Then Hoffman screamed out about how good a time he had playing that song, and how he hoped the audience enjoyed it just as much as he did. “It’s just vibey,” he said.
“Growing Bananas” and “All for Money” followed, projecting a rippling kaleidoscope of visuals, coupled with advanced string plucking.
Greensky’s years of experience touring on the road showed, as they covered Norton Buffalo’s “Ain't No Bread in The Breadbox” to close the set.
With a little jig from Hoffman (seen a lot throughout the night), the band retook the stage with “Just Listening” into “Like Reflections”—a wholesome duo to ignite the second half of the evening. The level of harmonic synergy heightened with the crowd, for a full-blown disco bluegrass party during “Train Junkie.”
“Stress Dreams” closed out the second set with deep excitement and animation from an enthusiastic dobro player. After a brief encore applause, Anders Beck [Dobro] led the band back onto the stage as the MC for a very rowdy version of “Casual Wednesday.”
Beck deliberately and passionately walked the front of the stage, amping up the crowd and explaining, “Today is a very special day. Because it is ‘Casual Wednesday,’ and it’s so simple to feel this good just once a week.”
Beck rejoined the band for an astronomical musical closeout to his beautiful MC opening.
Greensky Bluegrass closed the evening and second encore piece with ripping Phish cover, “Chalkdust Torture,” the true whip cream on top of this casual Wednesday pumpkin pie.
This fall-themed set adhered to the ups and downs and the gracefulness of storytelling that comes with autumn…the smell of brew throughout the venue…the gentle ability to go from fast to slow and build up the energy—whilst utilizing and exploring each other's key ingredients to make that sweet dessert…that we call Greensky Bluegrass.