Leftover Salmon At The Rialto Theatre, Tucson, Arizona, February 24, 2013. Photo by Joshua P. Fowler.
One wouldn’t know that Southern Arizona has a thriving jam community from the number of bands that play shows in Tucson, so when bands like Jam Grass mainstays Leftover Salmon come to town it isn’t just a concert but a family reunion of sorts. The whole family was at the Rialto Theatre on a beautiful spring night in Tucson, for a show that was as drunkenly loose and much more fun than most reunions.
The band shifted between the open jams and tighter songs throughout the night, but the crowd responded best to the extended jams and impressive solos. Drew Emmit on Mandolin and Jason Carter on fiddle were the stars of the instrumentals showing off their licks the night. The show started on a slower note with bluesy number “Lonesome Road” but quickly picked up with Vince Herman taking the vocals on “Boo Boo” which had a clear reggae inspiration. Perhaps the greatest reaction came when Emmit too switched to fiddle and together they played an impressive back and forth instrumental of the fiddle national anthem, Ervin T. Rouse’s “Orange Blossom Special”. They started with the familiar train blues and dissolved in to a long and impressive show off of fiddle skills.
Throughout the night the band was having fun and joking in between songs to themselves and to the crowd. At one point they played what they called “every song ever played combined with digital compression”followed with a short ditty about an amputated ear on the floor. Herman took the crowd request for his second consecutive Tucson show for his song “Fuzzy Little Hippie Girl”, which is exactly about what the title implies. At other points the crowd wasn’t in on the joke but the band seemed to be having fun none the less, cracking jokes to each other during and in between songs.
The show ended on a somewhat awkward note with a cover of The Eagles “Take it Easy”. About half the crowd were enthusiastic about singing along on the chorus, the other half was unsure whether to participate likely with Big Lebowski quotes running through their heads. Despite the early end time for the show due to the lack of an opener everyone left well entertained and satisfied and already scouring the calendar for the next family reunion.