Groups poured into the crystal-filled casino, greeting each other as they would at a family reunion. The venue hosted more impressive beards and festive shirts than on the usual occasion. Railroad Earth hadn’t made an appearance at the Crystal Bay Casino since March 2015, so understandably, tonight was a full house – a great third stop on the 10-week tour.
Many drove from Placerville, the home of Railroad Earth’s annual hosting gig, Hangtown Music Festival, while others were local to Lake Tahoe. The longtime fans and regular Hangtown attendees knew song cues, raising their fists in unison with a shout, “hey.” Fans jammed to their classics in much of the first set, while new material was introduced from their upcoming album “All for The Song” in the second set. The album is expected to be released early in the tour.
Seen less often with a bluegrass jam band, Railroad Earth had a great lighting director, while something more commonly witnessed were the interesting dance moves enjoyed by attendees in the freely expressive atmosphere. Technical skill shone as each multi-instrumentalist in the band took turns shredding scales and switching from one musical language to another.
Photographer Larry Sabo noted, “Tim Carbone, the fiddle player, is phenomenal with all the bands he plays with,” reminding us that these musicians use their skill in multiple projects that fans can check out – but they come together in the this family centric band founded in 2001 — in New Jersey of all places.
The band doesn’t alter its stage presence much as the musicians focus on their highly technical jams, but fans come for the music, friends, feel-good vibes, and to dance. Musicians in the audience surely appreciated the technical finesse of the instrumentalists. The audience was one big family, much like the Hangtown community vibe. It’s hard not to feel happy and welcome at a Railroad Earth show. That feeling is what stood out most in the event.
For me, that feeling is something very special and reminiscent of California. This type of show was not one I ever came across in Texas, where I’ve spent most of my life. However, when I am at a Railroad Earth concert, it feels like, “This is home; this is California” (though the show was technically at the Stateline in Nevada, but shhh, we can keep that between us).
— Amanda Jacobs
Click the link to see all of Larry Sabo’s photos from the show.