[Photo Stories + Fan Review] Spafford Tour Through Florida

Words by
Photography by Carson Church

When Spafford comes here every year to do a Florida Run, they never disappoint and the overall temperatures around the state start to rise. These runs have created a Florida following called FLAF, a group of fantastic humans who all love Spafford.  Which in turn created a clothing line.  The group bought the band and crew FLAF shirts and had an official meetup at The Orpheum in Tampa.

Night one in Pensacola started off the run in absolute fantastic form. Sit in percussionist Chris Ozuna, added a sweet spice to the already stellar versions of originals. Nick Tkachyk (drums) broke out the vocal cords on a the song “Take a Picture” by Filter.

Vinyl music hall | pensacola, fl | january 22, 2020

Night two at the Tampa show the atmosphere was maxed out at full throttle bliss. This show was the official meetup for FLAF of the run. This was how we wanted to show our love for this amazing band. The shirts that were made for the band were not worn to the VIP meet and greet. Some crew members had them on and the band gave no hints as to if they would be wearing them later when they took the stage. Still the fans were charged up and ready to groove. The lights go down and out walk the band  in their FLAF gear supporting the group that loves them. The crowd went nuts. For those of us who have been planning and thinking about this idea for about a year or so, the smiles, the screams, the energy this brought to the room gave us goosebumps.

Top notch Spafford is how they are with their fans and they delivered with amazing energy all throughout the first set. This show also had a guest sit in on saxophone, Chris Sgammato. He was first introduced to the band at Jam Cruise last year and is known to local fans of the Tampa area. Chris seems to bring an energy with him that the band completely feeds off of. They ended the set with the Van Morrison song “Cleaning Windows”. Set two opened with “In the Eyes of Thieves” again with Chris sitting in. The song takes you on a journey of musical flights: spacey, deep syncopated grooves that take you for a ride.  Second set closed with another huge fan favorite “Weasel”>”Palisades”>”Weasel”.

The orpheum | tampa, fl | january 23, 2020

The Culture Room in Ft. Lauderdale is a cool venue with an outdoor area and an indoor area which made it very cool to meet and gather and enjoy the excitement of the show. After coming off two solid shows and special guest appearances the fans who were traveling show to show were all wondering what was in store for the evening. What guest if any were gonna sit in? What songs were going to be played and if there were going to be any combo songs or long jams (obviously)? The anticipation was building especially after the band Eggy opened it up with a heater of a set. As the lights came down and the band came out the roar of the crowd was huge. You could see the smiles of the band and the excitement in them all.

Diving right into the first set the crowd was treated to a “Lovesick Melody> Soil”. Which has become a Spafford staple. The energy was set high and as the song wined down a little cool off was expected. That was not where the band was going. This is when we knew we were in for a treat. “Funkadelic” starts the next multiple song combo and you could totally feel the band was locked in. They were intertwining funky, groovy, dance improves to lead us into “Hollywood”. This song has come a long way and what used to be a 6-7 minute cool down song turned pure jam of some of the best improv of the FL tour. As the song starts to get to the end the band decided not to stop the jam and roll the song right into “Gold Glittered Hat”.

CULTURE ROOM | FORT LAUDERDALE, FL | January 24, 2020

Set two was a total game changer. What was personally about to happen was totally not expected. “Backdoor Funk” opens the second set and then Brian Moss (guitar) starts the jam and the first chords cause a frenzy. Now I’m a guitar player as well, and Brian had recently been teaching me the chord progressions to that very song. As the song progresses on he made direct eye contact with me and showed me the chord changes live. A super human move on Brian’s part and I am forever thankful for this moment. Something I will never forget on my Spafford journey. The song ends. The crowd get a few seconds to breathe but it is not long before the fan favorite “Electric Taco Stand” starts and BAM! The dance floor is on fire again.

ETS segues into Walls which again has a great funk to it. A huge fan of the band has been chasing this song for a while. Billy didn’t make it to Ft. Lauderdale. The band knew he was chasing this song however they did not know he wasn’t able to make it. Everyone who knew Billy from the crowd all said the same thing, ”Where is Billy?”. The “Walls” was the longest played version of the song at 20 minutes. This led us into a spectacular version of “Simon and Lily. The jam built up at the end and then switched its gear right back into ETS to close the set. The crowd was ecstatic!

Driving to Jacksonville we were refreshing our phones to see if the soundboard was released yet so we could dig back into the Ft. Lauderdale show. Pretty funny to me to see how anxious we were to hear it again. Well again the fans that were following the band throughout the state were wondering how and what they would play to top Ft. Lauderdale. The 1904 music hall is a narrow long venue. A sold out show made it a well packed crowd and inside and out the energy was fire.

Again, the band played “Slip and Squander”, a song that was requested to open the show. The first set had only had 1 combo song moment. This staple set of songs were fire. “America”> “The Reprise” is another set of songs usually played back to back. This version was super extended and the crowd was loud and raging.

For the encore the band chose the Tears For Fears original “Mad World”. Again, it felt like the band did not want to stop. The band was in pure bliss. Smiling from ear to ear. Adrenaline pounding. They thanked the FLAF group for showing up to every show of the run and the crowd for helping it make the perfect ending to a historic run in Florida.

Spafford does not, at all, disappoint. Neither did Eggy. A perfect ending to a perfect part of the tour.

All photos shot by Carson Church. Tickets to Spafford upcoming winter tour dates here.

More Stories