RATCHEESE ON THE ROCKS

Words by Nick Hutchinson :: Images by Tony Stack

SCI, Ratdog, Taj Mahal :: 07.02.06 :: Red Rocks Amphitheatre :: Morrison, CO


Taj Mahal
07.02 - Red Rocks
Under nice weather (some cooling cloud-cover but no rain) I stepped into the second of two days of the "CheeseDog" tour at Red Rocks. Following what, from all reports, were great performances by the bands on Saturday (when Keller Williams opened), Sunday featured the venerable blues and folk pioneer Taj Mahal kicking off the predominantly jam-oriented mini fest. Taj is always a welcome presence; who better to start off a day of roots music at Red Rocks?!

Offering his soulful brand of world-influenced blues, Taj pleased the gathering crowd with tunes including "Lovin' in My Baby's Eyes" and "The Blues Are Alright." He was as vibrant as ever, and his long-standing talent was greatly appreciated by the audience. It was refreshing to hear a group whittled down to its essence - just good old drums, bass, and guitar. Taj even swapped out his regular axe to do a little banjo plucking, reminding the audience of his early roots in southern American acoustic music. Taj is always a treat.


Bob Weir - Ratdog :: 07.02 - Red Rocks
Bob Weir and Ratdog took the stage to much hooting, hollering, and anticipation. The band's last pass through Denver was on a snowy night back in December at Denver's Fillmore, so it was a nice change to catch them in the balmy month of July at a beautiful outdoor setting. From the early sparks of its warm-up jam, the group headed into the lilting notes of "Playin' in the Band," a classic that felt just right. The Dog proceeded to lay down spirited and soulful versions of many classics, including "New Speedway Boogie," "Big Boss Man," "Tennessee Jed" (Mark Karan clearly has this one dialed), "The Wheel" (a huge sing-along favorite and well played), "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (heavy, with the recent losses of Vince Welnick and Ramrod), and then a well-appreciated dive back into "Playin' in the Band" that pleased the crowd to no end.


Taj Mahal with SCI :: 07.02 - Red Rocks
If that wasn't enough to fire up the many old Deadheads in attendance, Weir, armed with only a tambourine (to begin with) took the crowd to church with a white-hot version of "Samson and Delilah." The old scriptures-based rocker eventually saw him strapping on Lightning Bolt, his blue hollow-body, and engaging with Karan in some fierce guitar interplay that was reminiscent of the Grateful Dead. It was as if a window was opened to the past and Bob was back on stage in a summer long ago, flicking and whopping his axe like a man possessed. "I would tear this whole building down!"

Sit-ins by members of SCI, most notably Michael Travis and Jason Hann for a lively percussion segment during "Stuff," spiced up what was already a tasty offering.

After a short pause, the band returned and closed the set with an awe-inspiring a cappella version of "Attics of My Life." Talk about nailing it. The impact of this Hunter-Garcia collaboration, as it was lifted by the "greatest and oldest of instruments" (the human voice), elicited a reverent silence and pushed many close to tears. No exaggeration, it was powerful stuff, and it was a cogent reminder of the deep spirit that still exists in the music of the Grateful Dead. Weir and Ratdog continue to develop as a viable post-Garcia outfit, and this show was just further proof of the group's ongoing progress.

In the attics of my life
Full of cloudy dreams unreal
Full of tastes no tongue can know
And lights no eye can see
When there was no ear to hear
You sang to me


SCI :: 07.02 - Red Rocks
The String Cheese Incident continues to be a hometown favorite on the Front Range, and they tend to bring their "A Game" when playing at Red Rocks. Launching into a tight version of "Outside Inside" (the title track from their 2001 release of the same name), the band tapped into its strength and didn't let up all night. The Cheese sets featured musical assistance from the Pangea Horns (sax and trumpet) as well as sit-ins by Ratdog and Taj Mahal.

The crowd embraced the local boys whole-heartedly. The band's music came alive in some nice extended jam segments ("Goin' Down the Road" was a fine example of the collaborative, jammy spirit of the event) and both songwriting and improvisation came to light on "Sometimes A River" from last year's One Step Closer and the final encore, "Black Clouds" from the band's classic 1996 release Born on the Wrong Planet.

JamBase | Red Rocks
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[Published on: 7/26/06]

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Comments

pheelalrights starstarstarstarstar Wed 7/26/2006 03:49PM
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pheelalrights

My buddy was there and said it was awesome. I got a shirt and the disk from Phoenix. The Cheese Dog was apparently a tasty rocky mt. incarnation.
peace

Andrew Bruss Wed 7/26/2006 04:01PM
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Andrew Bruss

If Bob Weir isn't going to perform music that's been written in the last 30 years, maybe he shouldnt be performing at all. It's a shame him and phil are both starting to take the dark path Mick and Keith took when they decided song writing was less important than hitting the road with the same tunes they'd been playing for years on end. What a hack!
The article itself was well written.

moebiscoplease Wed 7/26/2006 04:02PM
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moebiscoplease

From the sounds of this review it seems like Ratdog tore the house down, but when I saw them at Great Woods in Mansfield they closed and it was pretty low key. They played tons of slow Dylan covers and literally put half the people next to me to sleep.
I love SCI and Ratdog circa 2002 but I just couldn't get into their new lineup. They had a sax solo practically every song.

manjotar starstarstarstar Wed 7/26/2006 06:33PM
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manjotar

why, that's enough to make me relocate to colorado...

lotusfuckinrocks Wed 7/26/2006 08:29PM
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lotusfuckinrocks

glad to see it all blew up at the rocks! wish i could of made it up there.unfortuantly i stopped at flag. cheese inspired alot of new people in az. thats what is all about. spread the cheese!

FormulaOBX Thu 7/27/2006 06:17AM
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I saw Weir with a "tie on" in D.C. For real.....

Nat1182 Thu 7/27/2006 06:48AM
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String Cheese Owns your faces!

NickBoeka starstarstar Thu 7/27/2006 06:49AM
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NickBoeka

Is there a particular reason why this article is about the Red Rocks show, but all the pictures are from the Pozo Saloon show? Seriously Jambase, was it that hard to find images from the Red Rocks show to help "capture" the feeling of the show from the article? Maybe by giving both bands equal words to review their show would help, Nick. I've been reading/visiting this site for a while, my opinion as of late: don't try to cover everything and anything at the expense of quality reviews/articles/newswires.

jimutts starstar Thu 7/27/2006 07:52AM
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Jambase can be hit or miss when it comes to show reviews. If I wanted a setlist, I'd go to ratdog.org or livecheese.com. I thought the Phil and Grab article was great, and not only mentioned songs played, but more importantly how they were played.

insignia Thu 7/27/2006 09:10AM
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gime more sucha short story i love these guys keller kinda boring though

Dizon311 Thu 7/27/2006 01:15PM
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Dizon311

Uh.. I was there and these ARE the pictures from red rocks.. Shinning star was performed at red rocks.. and cant u see the rocks in the background? hoped 4 better pictures my self but whatever...

HHoody star Thu 7/27/2006 01:54PM
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This article is terrible to be blunt and honest. SCI headlined the show and you barely even mention them. When you do you include the part where Rat Dog sat in. Did you hear the amazing "Rivertrance" they trhough down at the end fo the night as it started to rain out. Or the "Best Feeling" that followed "outside Inside" How about the "Eye know why" For a review of a show you might want to include a little more baout the band that is putting it on. Come on now Nick, did you even go to the show?

NickBoeka Thu 7/27/2006 02:17PM
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NickBoeka

well thanks jambase. while it took the time to update the comments section to include mine, you also figured out your mistake with the pics. thats better. Notice the Photo's by changed from Keith to Tony too.

Weezer starstarstarstarstar Thu 7/27/2006 02:51PM
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I'm down for Taj and Bob anytime. And at Red Rox! Yes!! Seems like SCI relies on smoke, mirrors, dancers, "lasers," jugglers, pageantry and razzle-dazzle instead of just plain old bustin' out the jam. Still a good band and fun though. It's always good to get a glimpse of a show like this so thanks. . . Peace Basers.

Tan star Thu 7/27/2006 03:03PM
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Tan


95% of the reviews that you read on JamBase are user submitted. As someone who submits reviews, it's not really JamBase that is hit or miss when it comes to reviewing a show - it's the writers themselves that bring it or don't.

I didn't really care for this one. Kind of a "Bobby Bobby Bobby" piece, and then 1ish weak paragraphs on SCI. In terms of writing and accurately covering a show, this one does not pass. But then again...

Snoozer reviews for snoozer bands.

bshaky starstarstarstarstar Thu 7/27/2006 03:20PM
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bshaky

Please remember this wesite is not dedicated to the review of SCI/Ratdog/Taj Majal on July 2nd, 2006, therefore a common practice known as "editing" is often employed in relation to words and photos to ensure that as many cool events as possible, are covered. Sorry about the photo snafu (just a "technical glitch").If anyone would like to see more photos of this show email me at tony@rocksteadystudios.com. -Tony

lotusfuckinrocks Thu 7/27/2006 08:53PM
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lotusfuckinrocks

sometimes sci is too good 4 comfort

All Loving Liberal White Guy Fri 7/28/2006 09:06AM
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All Loving Liberal White Guy

taj mahal rules! and he is a legend. his set at bonnaroo '04 was amazing and overlooked.

Weezer starstarstarstarstar Fri 7/28/2006 12:09PM
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I agree re Taj. He's been putting out great music for so long and is sort of overlooked. He's due more attention.

zusman1400 Sat 7/29/2006 01:47AM
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I have a theory that many in the jambase or relix or all the media in the jamband world doesn't really like string cheese. I don't know exactly why. Cheese is my favorite band do go see because I love all the different styles they can play in one night. You don't really see that. A band is either jazzy or rockin or bluesy or whatever. The cheese also gives it up to their fans and trys to keep them happy which makes me happy. For all you cheese haters, I would hope you would go to a show with an objective ear and good spirits. As for bobby and ratdog, I think they are great but I wish bobby would let the other guys sing sometimes.

livejamfan starstar Sat 7/29/2006 10:56PM
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livejamfan

I did not catch these shows, but Summerfest and Radio City were solid. I continue to find it interesting to see SCI not get the credit I feel they deserve as a great jamband. I have been to many, many shows for many bands in the last 20 some years and I think the Cheese is the most consistent and exciting band for me. Sure, I have tremendous memories of 80's Dead shows or 90's Phish or Panic shows, but I think SCI is THE BEST jamband right now. I don't understand how people who sprang from the Dead community can accuse them of being "too positive". What does that mean? What happened to the consciousness of this scene, y'know, "music for the mind"? If any members of the Cheese happen to read this stuff, all I can say is, "thank you and please keep touring, you are an inspiration!!"

meghanschardt starstar Sun 7/30/2006 04:29PM
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it wasn't just a ratdog show, forget about cheese?

EVILFUNK Mon 7/31/2006 12:12AM
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EVILFUNK

tanner is correct.

jjwood starstar Mon 7/31/2006 09:47AM
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I'm glad you didn't review the 7/1 show, because the band known as RatDog I saw that day was actually Bob Weir and his Grateful Dead Bar Band...or SchwagDog! SchwagDog on that day was terrible over half the time, playing GD songs with NO imagination and poor musicianship. As for SCI, I've called them String Phish Incident for years, but I'll give props to their percussion section, which SchwagDog desperately needs. Then again, SCI is in need of real strings musicians. I'll close by noting I saw Railroad Earth five days later at Cervantes, and that show kicked THE LIVING SHIT out of either band I saw at Red Rocks on July 1st. I did not go to the second show based on how weak the first one was.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstar Mon 7/31/2006 12:03PM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

SCI is light and bubbly.. I like them for that reason, heck the dead were that way too, when not playing a terrifying other one :)) I will always go see cheese when I get a chance, I like their diversity. I think Kyle is an exciting keyboardist, and Billy plays magical solos on that old acoustic. as for ratdog.. its hit or miss most of the time, Bobby can channel jerry sometimes, othertimes they are a directionless bar band. I cant bash either of these bands because every band cant be ON everytime. I saw cheese in the day set of bonnaroo ONE and it was so bad I took my sticker off my van that day. I have even seen WSP about half asleep in columbus ohio spring of 1999.
It happens.. Dont give up cos you see a show that doesnt BLOW your mind, give it another chance, you may be glad you did. Peace Yall!!!!

Melisiciousness starstarstarstarstar Mon 7/31/2006 02:24PM
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Melisiciousness

This was one of my favorite "incidents" of all time. First time at Red Rocks, so I was blown away. And to be a full-scale freak to boot, I'm one lucky mama.

tris3 Mon 7/31/2006 02:48PM
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string cheese is and excellent band that all. jiwood u alittel crazy. first of all sci is so down kang nershi and kieth fuckin rock at their shit. kyle is a master and the percusion is sweet. travis is a bad ass check em out with zilla who is one of best band ive seen lately

patchabstract Wed 8/2/2006 09:36PM
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The bigger a jam band gets, there is always a greater number of potential critics, who are really just tourists on vacation. If they can't appreciate the music and the connection the fans feel to the music, then they should give the ticket to someone who will really appreciate it. Despite the negative feedback, me and my other half had a great time and will continue to see Cheese for many years to come.

maaze22 starstarstarstar Thu 8/3/2006 11:22AM
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I was there! Bobby was the highlight of the weekend. Cheese could have done a better job, One step closer opener for the weekend was rather week! Bobby and his cassidy are still amazing! Over all though the best part of the weekend was Ratdog. I have seen much better and much more moving cheese shows closer to home! (Lets just say it was nothing like the Fillmore on 3/24/05, 3/25/05 and 3/26/06)

TennJedEye star Sun 8/6/2006 06:40AM
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This was one of the funnest two days I have ever had, good music, good friends, good times. I love both of these bands and thought they both played very well. This article on the other hand is weak, too short, not enough on SCI and not too many pix, although the ones posted are good ones. I realize articles on Festivals tend to be longer, but this was like a festival. One short page, 4 pictures, no way, this one couldv'e had 6 pages as far as I'm concerned. Lots of good musical shots and eye candy and of course the Red Rocks themselves are awesome. Seems like many people like to give the Cheese grief, but give them their due, they are one of the best jambands on tour these days, period. This was a boost for Ratdog. People on both sides wanted to see more of either band, but the combo was good for a Summer tour, and the cross pollination was great. Great shows, great tour, weak article.

jessrobs2006 starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/7/2006 07:12PM
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shatdog and ring cheese. !!!!!!!!!!