On Saturday March 16th, I had the pleasure of experiencing my very first Railroad Earth show at the Union Transfer in Philadelphia. Upon arriving and getting in line with the rest of the fans– or Hobos, as they refer to themselves– I could feel the excitement starting to build. Everyone was in good spirits and I could hear lots of chatter about Del Fest. I asked my friends what was up with that, and they said the initial lineup was out and Railroad Earth was not on it, and people were boggled by that. Security came around checking ID’s and getting us ready so they could get us all in out of the cold as quickly as possible when the doors opened.
Once inside, we made our way to the front of the stage to claim our spots. The stage was jammed packed with drums, acoustic & electric guitars, violins, banjos, mandolins, flute, electric bass and a stand up bass. As the Union Transfer began to fill up, my excitement grew even more! By the time Railroad Earth took the stage it was all I could do to contain myself! When they started to play the beginning notes of Potters Field, I was instantly drawn in and my smile was ear to ear. I was in awe of all the flavor that was in the set they wove together. Not only was there a strong foothold of blue grass, but there was a jam, funk and jazzy feel to it as well. Throughout the set, every time the band ended a song, someone would shout out, “Come back to Del Fest!”
The second set is where I fell in love with Railroad Earth! The fun, love and energy the band radiated on the stage wrapped around everyone there. It was as if we were all on the same train heading down the tracks without a care in the world! Highlights for me were Long Way to Go, Colorado and Spring-Hilled Jack (favorite of the night)! The encore caught me off guard. They came out and laid down a blazing version of The Doors‘ Roadhouse Blues. Afterward, Tim Carbone hopped off stage to sign some autographs and talk with some of the fans.
All in all this was an incredible show front to back. The venue is an amazing place with a very friendly staff. If Railroad Earth pulls into your town, make sure you hop on the train and bring your dancing shoes!