Where to start…. String Cheese does it again!
Returning home to Colorado for a 3 night extravaganza at the gorgeous Red Rocks Amphitheater, The String Cheese Incident rocked the ship. Electronic Colorado was lucky enough to witness Sunday’s show, and boy did it not disappoint! Bill Nershi, acoustic guitarist, made a statement early on that they took song picks from fans, and they had a special set list prepared for us. All of the veteran Cheeseheads were out; it seems that everyone knows not to miss a Sunday show!
Colorado locals The Grant Farm started off the night with some soulful country and blues for us. It set the tone for the rest of the night. All three nights featured openers that were from Colorado, another way SCI tries to support the area they came from.
The first set was exactly what Bill said, a bunch of oldies but goodies, starting off with the seldom played “A Hundred Year Flood” followed by “Can’t Wait Another Day”, a shorter number that bassist Keith Moseley wrote about his daughter and sang with passion. There were also some pretty long and far out jams like “Galactic” which seemed to temporarily transport the audience to another world, then bringing us all back home with a classic like “Shine”, which was a great way to end set 1.
Intermission was not without its entertainment as well! We were treated to a stand up comedy show from Josh Blue, a local Denver comedian but known across the US especially since his appearance on Last Comic Standing (he was the last standing actually). Despite having cerebral palsy, he was incredibly positive and put on a hell of a show that had the whole crowd rolling.
Set two is where things heated up, as they tend to do with SCI. Starting off with another classic “Texas” which kicked off the set in spectacular fashion, leading the listener on an adventure. Bill’s lyrics are on point through this, and the jam is spacey with a little spice too. It almost seemed like a theme all night, nothing was too intense, but every song was riveting and so well played. Rivertrance was a treat for us, with an amazing yet fiery serenade from Michael’s violin. Tyler Grant joined the band for the first time for “Get Tight”, bringing some emotions and good vibes all around. They got along to playing a long winded and emotional “Rollover”, broke for a smooth “Soul Shakedown Party” with a touch of reggae, then a reprise of “Rollover” sung with gusto from Michael before calling it quits on set 2.
The encore was definitely the climax and highlight of this night. Michael Kang introduced two members of ANOTHER Colorado act The Infamous Stringdusters, Andy Hall and Chris Pandolf which immediately had me excited. Together they played a wonderful version of Black Clouds, and with the addition of banjo and dobro had the whole crowd dancing a mighty furious jig!
The highlight of the night though came when Tyler Grant (of Grant Farm) came on stage and helped SCI sing a fabulous cover of “Brown Eyed Women” from the one and only Grateful Dead. I think Jerry would have been proud of how soulful and nostalgic it was; the whole crowd was singing along and you could feel the good vibes from everyone. Keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth even gave a heartfelt speech and hat tip to Jerry before they launched off.
But They weren’t done! Back Out they came for ANOTHER encore, closing with the fan favorite “Rosie”, perhaps one of the best renditions I’ve ever heard. That song as many will know gets you moving and singing no matter what, and it was a perfect way to end the night.
Despite missing the first 2 nights, SCI did not disappoint with their final day at Red Rocks. Even if they didn’t repel and jump around hanging from the stage scaffolding like Saturday, the feeling was right, and the crowd open, for an emotional and amazing Sunday night show.
Photos by Steve Stoytchev © Electronic Colorado
S1: 100 Year Flood > Can’t Wait Another Day, Indian Creek, Resume Man, Galactic > Don’t Say > Shine > Texas
Set Break: Josh Blue standup comedy
S2: Rivertrance, Dirk, Get Tight^, Little Hands, Born On The Wrong Planet, Rollover > Soul Shakedown Party > Rollover
E: Black Clouds#, Brown Eyed Women^
^ = w / Tyler Grant – The Grant Farm
# = w/ Andy Hall (dobro) & Chris Pandolfi (banjo) – The Infamous Stringdusters