Photos and Words by Craig Sandor
I do believe the last time I had the pleasure of catching Rusted Root live was when they opened for Santana on Carlos’ 50th Birthday at what was once called “The Meadows Music Theater”, an outdoor amphitheater in Hartford, CT. You know the type of place, well it’s now called “The Corporate Conglomerate Center”, errrrrr…I mean “The Comcast Theater”, the typical 1/3 indoor and 2/3 outdoor on the lawn type of place that generally holds about 20,000+/- fans said and done. You know…the place that if you ended up with a lawn ticket, you brought a blanket with you to run down to the front of the lawn to “claim your territory” for the night. It didn’t really matter because you couldn’t hear much of anything musically related due to the poor acoustics of those places. BUT, luckily you were able to catch the latest sports score roundup courtesy of the drunken buffoons who ended up making your blanket their habitat for the evening, which turned into a towel to soak up the beer they repeatedly spilled. So now one guy is asleep in your space, and the other has leaned forward and started to vomit, and you just realized that you missed half of the show because you focused so much of your time on the asshats that just reminded you of the $50+ that you just wasted on that ticket. Don’t you just love those types of places?!
Well, The Ridgefield Playhouse is NOTHING like that at all!
I’ve covered a few shows at The Ridgefield Playhouse before and while the lighting is pretty tame and not all that exciting, the venue itself is a hidden gem. It’s your typical little “theater” type setup, but with only a capacity of exactly 500, there literally is not a bad seat in the house. But, the one thing that never really sat well with me is the fact that out of the six or seven shows I’ve seen there, not one person danced and if you tried, you were told to sit down…BOOOOOO!!!! Oh well, The Ridgefield Playhouse’s shows are always for non-profit and raise money for a worthy cause, so it’s understandable that the crowd at their shows are a bit more conservative for the most part since they have spent the money on a ticket there to really listen and enjoy the music.
Things were different on this night though, maybe there was something in the air (no, not that). But…wait…could it be??? Did someone actually, get up and dance and then ignore the security’s demand to sit??? Whoa…look at that! Another person, and another, and now a couple is up and dancing as are the kids in the eighth row! Here comes the domino effect…everyone is up to get down and boogie! Now this is what I like to see, a little shakin’, some movin’ and lots of groovin’ going on! NOW it’s a Rusted Root concert!
These guys always bring a “feel good” show and an insistence of having fun on stage. They’re constantly entertaining to watch, and it’s almost impossible not to dance when you see them. Rusted Root may be considered a “Jam Band”, but the genre they are placed in seems to go well beyond that. I’m going to call it “Alternative Acoustic Tribal Percussion World Rock” because there’s just so much wrapped up into one. The band obviously had a good time on stage this night as they were all smiles and were dancing around just like everyone in the crowd. It was a special night as well because three young local Ridgefield resident percussionists invited up on the stage to jam with Rusted Root during their hit, “Send Me On My Way”. These kids were somewhere between the ages of 10-12 maybe, but kept a beat like the best of them. They were all smiles and so excited to be on stage with the band and the crowd certainly cheered them on and boosted their levels of confidence.
All in all and absolutely amazing night of music, and a solid performance by Rusted Root. I walked out with a grin on my face, whistling their music on the way to the car and when I got in it, I searched through the iPod and pulled up all of my Rusted Root music and set it to shuffle for my 40 minute ride home…well that was a few days ago and I’m still listening to them!
Rusted Root was formed in 1990 and hails out of Pittsburgh, PA and is made up of the following band members:
- Michael Glabicki – lead vocals, guitar, harmonica
- Patrick Norman – bass guitar, backing vocals, percussion
- Liz Berlin – percussion, backing vocals
- Colter Harper – guitar, backing vocals
- Preach Freedom – percussion, backing vocals
- Dirk Miller – guitar, backing vocals
Setlist: The Movement, Laugh as The Sun, Send Me on My Way, Cruel Sun, Martyr, Back To The Earth, Fortunate Freaks, Something’s on My Mind, Food & Creative Love, Monkey Pants, Suspicious Minds, Cover Me Up, Dangle. Voodoo, Drum Trip > XTC
Encore: Beautiful People