Admittedly, it's been a number of years since this critic has seen and heard Colorado's
String Cheese Incident perform, so the band was a strong draw for me personally as
well as many fans. One thing is certain after hearing SCI perform several sets already
this weekend: they're no longer strictly the jamgrass band they began as in 1993, having
several song strong writers with divergent musical interests. "Outside and Inside" began
their early afternoon set simply enough, with a mix of piano and organs. Then, the music
got highly improvisational, with jams that swirled elements of bluegrass, Celtic music and
dance music. "Joyful Sound" was nothing like that of the version this fan was familiar
with from years ago, having evolved to a bass-heavy dance track, coming off as a techno
styled rave up, as was their cover of the Talking Heads' "This Must Be The Place (Naive
The Colorado band came back later in the evening for a second set, this time billed as
The Zac Brown Incident - featuring none other than the Country songwriter and his
band combined with SCI. With Brown taking the lead vocals, "Sometimes A River" took on an
Appalachian twang, but hardly came off as country-rock, sounding instead like a more roots
oriented String Cheese. "Close Your Eyes" found the many musicians on stage mingling
dueling guitars and dense organ swells. The traditional gospel number "Bound For Glory"
took on a New Orleans swamp boogie and featured a backing chorus of players. Brown's own
music, such as "Jump Right In," took on the improv of the jam band, with extended soloing
and play amongst one another from the members. The combined band then got down on the
front of the stage for what was the highlight of the evening: an acoustic run through the
classic Aerosmith rocker "Sweet Emotion" that featured guitars, fiddles, mandolins and all
kinds of handheld percussion instruments, while digital flames danced across the video
monitors. Zac Brown Incident then closed out the set with some classic Colorado music,
spiced up with some good old southern singing. "Colorado Bluebird Sky", a SCI classic,
featured wailing guitars and organs that brought a huge ovation to close the set.
Furthur performed two sets on Friday evening, the first of four planed sets taking
over the span of the weekend, and were certainly in fine form, showing no signs of slowing
down any time soon and continuing to expand the legacy of The Grateful Dead. Opener
"Shakedown Street" was uptempo and funky, and a great way to get the fans going to start
the show. "Estimated Prophet" got the crowd singing along on the sunny, "California"
chorus. And "Candyman" was slowed in tempo but took on a New Orleans swampy boogie.