French composer Claude Debussy once said that "Music is the space between the notes." Likewise, there’s much more to experiencing live music than what you hear. In addition to seeing the artists on stage, you experience the energy that is created between the artists, the audience and the venue. And when that venue is a cave, there’s a magical spark that inspires everyone. It can make for some unforgettable moments underground. We call those moments pure cave magic. Here’s some of our favorite spellbound memories.
Pure Cave Magic: Spellbinding Underground Moments
The Flaming Lips Ring in New Years 2019
Year one at The Caverns blended into year two in as epic a fashion as possible. Giant Unicorns? Check. Wayne in a bubble crowd surfing? Check. Giant “F*ck Yea! Caverns” balloons? Check. During the show, 2019 balloons filled with confetti floated up to the stalactites whereupon they met their demise—the cave rained confetti for hours! It was a night of unbridled joy, whimsy and spirit that only The Flaming Lips could deliver. What a New Year’s party! One that will never be forgotten, and we hope to do it again in the future.
St. Paul & The Broken Bones Get Deep and Dirty Underground
St. Paul & The Broken Bones have a reputation for lively, entertaining shows, but when they came into the cave in 2016 with their freshly pressed suits to tape an episode of Bluegrass Underground, we didn't know what we were in for! Frontman Paul Janeway introduced one of their signature tunes "Broken Bones and Pocket Change" saying, "Alright, Mr. Cameraman you're going to have to follow me cause I'm getting out in there.” Feeling the cave vibes Janeway walked off the stage and out into the crowd belting out his deep soul. About 3 minutes into the song Janeaway dropped to his knees, then ended up on his back, writhing on the cave floor, completely absorbed in both the performance and the cave. Upon standing his suit was covered in cave dirt, which only added to the beauty of the experience. Audience members still recount this pure cave magic moment when St. Paul got down and dirty. Watch the performance.
The SteelDrivers Sing-A-Long
The SteelDirvers were one of the first bands to play underground over ten years ago. In 2019, they returned for another subterranean show. Halfway through the band's performance, some audience members began to sing along with the band, as often happens at concerts. But with each song, more and more audience members joined in. Eventually the entire cave was filled with a sing-along that echoed through The Caverns for over half of a set! It was pure cave magic and a testament to the power of The SteelDrivers songs, their melodies and their fans.
The Jeff Austin Band & The Travelin' McCourys New Years 2016
The late Jeff Austin played underground many times, including shows with his former band Yonder Mountain Stringband and most recently with his solo project The Jeff Austin Band. Every time he took the stage was a special experience. In 2017 we hosted a double bill with the Grammy Award-winning Travelin' McCourys and the Jeff Austin Band. The show ended with a full set combining both bands—some of the best acoustic musicians in the world. Watching Austin lead these musicians through a full set of extended jams was a pure cave magic moment. Austin played with an energy that pulled you in and didn't let go as the sound enveloped everyone in the cave.
Wyclef Jean Underground Dance Party
In 2018, The Caverns hosted Wyclef Jean, a Grammy Award-winning member of the supergroup The Fugees. Wyclef brought so much energy to the intimate cave concert you would’ve thought he was playing for a giant stadium full of fans. Near the end of his set, Wyclef began inviting members of the audience on stage to dance. Eventually he had the entire stage full of dancers. With the energy level turned up high, Wycelf left the stage to join the audience on the cave floor for an extended dance party. Then abruptly—Wyclef sprinted out of the cave not to return. The entire audience ran after him as the show abruptly ended. To this day people who were there talk about the crazy energy of the show and the intimate exchange between Jean and the cave audience, not to mention his mysterious exit!
Guster Goes Spelunking
From the moment Guster arrived for their show, they exuded a childlike excitement about playing in the cave. The full band immediately asked our staff where they could find caves to explore before their show. Our staff gladly took them to some of our favorite secret caves. Frontman Ryan Miller channeled his caving experience to the stage. During Guster’s set, Miller climbed the rocks behind the stage to perch himself high above the audience.
Greensky Bluegrass Channels The Grateful Dead
In March of 2015 we hosted an unforgettable day of jamgrass that included Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon and Greensky Bluegrass all on one day; the lineup alone was a great musical moment. The entire day was full of energetic, extended jams as you'd expect from these bands. When Greensky Bluegrass hit the first few chords of the Grateful Dead's "Black Muddy River" and frontman Paul Hoffman soulfully started belting the first lyrics, the entire cave audience was drawn in. The audience was so entranced you could hear a drop of water drip from the stalactites.
Have your own adventure underground. Make your plans to come experience the magic of the Caverns and your favorite artists. View upcoming shows.