TREKKIN' FROM THE FOX TO THE ROCKS

Chris Robinson and Audley Freed :: 07.10.04 :: Red Rocks
Chris Robinson & The New Earth Mud opened night two at Red Rocks with "Mother of Stone," a whirly tune from This Magnificent Distance. Robinson's serene smile was infectious as he transitioned into "Boney Maroney" and "If You See California." After thanking the half-full crowd for listening to them today, Robinson shouted out "people get ready to ride" as he launched into the song by the same name (Ride). While it was certainly hot, this opening set ride was way too short, albeit very enjoyable, with comfortable, repetitive lyrics, and spirited guitar interplay between Robinson and guitarist Audley Freed.

Gregg Allman and Oteil Burbridge :: 07.10.04 :: Red Rocks
The crowd felt the love in the air as the Allman Brothers started their second show with "Revival." Ancient songs, including "Hoochie Coochie Man" and "Statesboro Blues," joined newer tunes from Hittin' The Note--"Old Before My Time" and "Desdemona." Robinson joined in for Dr. John's "Walk on Guilded Splinters," mixing the high energy with dark, muddy emotion. After "Hot Lanta," the audience sang along to "Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."

Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes :: 07.10.04 :: Red Rocks
Wicked guitar work ensued between Trucks and Haynes on "Black Hearted Woman" before Thom Doucette joined the group for "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl." We were high in the Red Rocks, not the Alps, but they added a little teaser of "My Favorite Things." A 20-minute version of "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" preceded the encore of "One Way Out," with Freed and Doucette sitting in.

Journeying to the top of the amphitheater, a steep hike cloudward, we discovered the commercial and non-profit world of the venue. Scattered among the food booths and the HeadCount table (the non-partisan group which stresses the importance of voting and participating in American democracy) were representatives of Rock the Earth, a new non-profit organization dedicated to improving the earth "one beat at a time." Created to work with the music community on environmental issues of importance to both bands and fans, the president and Executive Director Marc Ross stressed, "If the energy, resources, and talent within the music community could be brought together on important issues of concern, it would be a powerful force that could help level this currently uneven playing field in which the corporations are winning and we, as a society, are losing."

Kyle Hollingsworth and SCI :: 07.10.04 :: Red Rocks
Feeling this power of music, we ventured back stageward as Nershi yelled to the crowd, "Are you ready for a little psychedelic hoedown?" The Incident broke into a weathered "Black Clouds" as Nershi's daughter hooped behind the musicians. Hollingsworth, almost scary in his sparkling cape and Wolfman hair, yelled, "Are y'all ready?" as they released the Talking Heads song "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)."

The sold-out crowd cheered when Nershi commented on how beautiful a thing it is that music can bring us all together like this, as he added, "This is a very emotional place for us to play." The band launched into "Sirens" before Trucks on guitar, Oteil Burbridge on bass and scat vocals, and Marc Quinones on percussion joined in for a sweltering version of Coltrane's "Impressions." Haynes stepped onto the crowded stage to add guitar and vocals on The Meters' "Hey Pocky Way" before SCI reconvened to play "Barstool," as we wished we were swinging in hammocks gazing at the starlit sky above. A great feeling was all around as "Best Feeling" transitioned into a huge jam, at times the group was playing in almost complete darkness with just green glowing lights near the stage and the psychedelic light show flashing across our eyes.

Bill Nershi and Michael Kang :: 07.10.04 :: Red Rocks
The crowd was brought to their feet as SCI broke into the bluegrass standard "How Mountain Girls Can Love" before playing most of "Miss Brown's Teahouse" and the Average White Band's "Pick up the Pieces." The set ended with "Outside Inside," but the crowd's screams brought the band back to end the evening with one final "Round the Wheel."

The dream became real, a time of great music and great friends at great venues. We were all empowered by the diversity and intensity of the musical experience, and smile we did, through all three flights home.

Words by: Randi Whitehead
Images by: George Weiss
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http:// www.stringcheeseincident.com

[Published on: 7/27/04]

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