Not too many words were spoken by the band during their three-set concert at Delmar Hall Saturday Night until the fifth song into the third set. Because there was no need. After more than 30 years of performing together a lot of words aren’t necessary anymore. It’s now an intimate comfort between the band and the fans. Everyone gathered at the Dancing Earth Reunion (formerly Blue Dixie) show was there for one reason, well, maybe three, but the main reason was to support the much-loved drummer, Michael Smith, better known as Smitty. The other two reasons? Solid, psychedelic bluesy rock and seeing old friends.
Back to that fifth song. Lead vocalist/guitarist David “Chopper” Campbell intro’d “We Just Danced” by saying, “I wrote this song for Smitty but it’s for all of us … The reason we do this is for you … You know this show is for Smitty tonight.”
And if you aren’t quite sure as to why Smitty? Why did band members travel from as far as Virginia and Chicago to perform just this one night during a pandemic?
This note from the band sums it all up:
“Our Dear Friends,
As you know, our brother Smitty has been sick for a while now, fervently and valiantly fighting to extend his days with us. Over the course of the past year, that battle has brought much to the fore—not least of which is the love of so many friends and family. It is rare, indeed, that we are afforded the opportunity during our lifetime to know and experience just how much we are loved—and how much that love suspends and carries us. Fortunately, through the outpouring that has buoyed him, Smit has been able to see and experience first-hand the profound enormity of everyone’s love and friendship. His heart is full and secure in that knowledge.
The past year, while scary, depressing, and dark, has also brought about adventure, an engagement, time with loved ones, the creation of music, and strengthened relationships. The whole band spent a week with Smitty last spring—holed up in a cabin at Perch Lake, MI, playing through old tunes, and composing new ones. We all laughed, cried, jammed, dissed one another in classic form, and reaffirmed the notion that we are all so fortunate to be part of this wonderful, giving, loving family. In a way, we have all come of age together, and this music has given us a vehicle to gather, grow, and become the best versions of ourselves possible. Many met and became friends at these shows, some became lovers, and some brought forth future music lovers. While our hearts are heavy during this time, they are also full.
At this point, the experts say they have exhausted all they know, and time—however fleeting it has appeared prior—is speeding up. Since life is a sum of experiences, Smit has requested one more with all of us and you. On Dec. 4, we will play one show in St. Louis at Delmar Hall. We will be pulling out some of Smit’s favorite tunes that evening, as well as debuting a new one that was written for him. It is our hope that many will be able to join in the celebration of Smitty’s life and music. Please stay tuned for details.
With love and eternal gratitude for all of you.”
And the love and gratitude flowed right back to the band from the fans throughout the 3-hour tribute to Smitty.
All photos from the night: https://bit.ly/DER21cz
Dec. 4, 2021 setlist from Delmar Hall:
Along the Way
Dance With Me
Drift (Just Stop Raining)
Get On the Road
Five and Dime
Spirit of the Feather
Great Western Slide
Whisper in the Night
Come a Stranger
Walk Awhile ->
From the Mountains ->
Playing With Fire
We Just Danced
Blue Line Jam
Raise It On Up
Up next at Delmar Hall: https://www.thepageant.com/calendar/?_sfm_venue=233
In my work life, I help nonprofits and small businesses with media and public relations. In my what I love to do life, you can typically find me photographing either wild horses or concerts.