Streaming In The Years: 12 The String Cheese Incident New Year’s Eve Shows On Archive
Colorado jam act The String Cheese Incident will return to 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colorado between December 29 and 31 for this year’s New Year’s Run. On the 29th SCI will team with Big Gigantic for a “Big Gigantic Incident” second set, while the band has tapped The Floozies to open on the 30th ahead of three sets on New Year’s Eve.
The String Cheese Incident has always been a taper friendly band and over a thousand recordings of the group are available on Archive.org. Included within are recordings of 12 different SCI New Year’s Eve performances, which gives fans a good chance to listen to what Cheese has done on past December 31st shows. While we can’t recommend purchasing official recordings via Live Cheese highly enough, here’s a look at 12 different SCI NYE recordings:
12/31/1996 – Telluride, CO – Taped by Brian Blue
The earliest SCI New Year’s Eve show on Archive.org took place on December 31, 1996 in Telluride, Colorado and would wind up being the group’s last NYE concert in their home stage until 2012. Cheese mixed plenty of well-jammed originals with a kickass set of covers including “The Hobo Song” and “Southbound.” The recording above is an incredibly crispy soundboard that gives us a great taste of the group’s formative days.
12/31/1997 – San Francisco, CA – Unknown Taper
On December 31, 1997 The String Cheese Incident teamed up with Leftover Salmon and the Mother Hips to play Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco. SCI’s set saw them joined by Jeff Sipe for a “Drums” section, former Grateful Dead keyboardist Vince Welnick for “Estimated Prophet” and “San Jose” as well as multi-instrumentalist Paul McCandless for the duration of the set.
12/31/1998 – Oakland, CA – Taped by Jon O’Leary
The String Cheese Incident was part of a big New Year’s Eve concert at Oakland’s Henry J. Kaiser Auditorium that also included K.V.H.W., Bob Weir & RatDog and Planet Drum. As per Friends Of Cheese SCI started off the action with an acoustic set featuring Darol Anger on fiddle and later played an electric set. However the soundboard matrix recording above begins with the electric set and ends with the acoustic performance.
12/31/1999 – Portland, OR – Taped by Jon O’Leary
There’s so much to love about SCI’s millennium show and the ultra-crispy soundboard matrix shared by the band. Not only does Cheese deliver top shelf versions of “Born On The Planet” and “Rollover” as part of the first set, they unleash a second set for the ages. Following a New Year’s countdown and traditional “Auld Lang Syne” with The Zen Tricksters, SCI covers “One Love” with their guests. Soon thereafter they would perform the entire second side of The Beatles’ legendary Abbey Road album. The String Cheese Incident then ends the night with Keller Williams adding to “Breathe” and “Lonesome Road Blues.” Other guests on hand were Jamie Janover and Liza Oxnard.
12/31/2000 – Portland, OR – Taped by Eric Stoick
On December 31, 2000 The String Cheese Incident rang in the new year at Portland’s Convention Center for the second year in a row. Highlights include wild covers of the Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like An Eagle” and Weather Report’s “Birdland” as well as Keller Williams’ appearances on “Jellyfish” and “Kidney In A Cooler.”
12/31/2001 – San Francisco, CA – SBD Taper Unknown
Here’s another wonderful soundboard of a fantastic The String Cheese Incident New Year’s Eve show as the band moved up to headlining status at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on December 31, 2001. SCI opened with a debut cover of Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” and would also unveil their take on Rush’s “Tom Sawyer.” The guest trend continued with Karl Denson adding to “Round The Wheel” and Keller Williams helping out on “Bam!” as well as the “Freeker By The Speaker” > “Restless Wind” encore.
12/31/2002 – San Francisco, CA – Taped by Matt Varady
The String Cheese Incident returned to the Bill Graham for the second New Year’s Eve in a row in 2002. Billed as the “Time Traveler’s Ball,” SCI was joined by Keller Williams for the entire first set and a portion of the second set. The band debuted a whopping six covers, namely “Stayin’ Alive” (Bee Gees), “You Should Be Dancing” (Bee Gees), “Time Warp” (Richard O’Brien cover from the Rocky Horror Picture Show), “Time” (Pink Floyd), “Breathe Reprise” (Pink Floyd) and “Space Oddity” (David Bowie cover).
12/31/2003 – Chicago, IL – Taped by Jason Ho
The String Cheese Incident took their New Year’s festivities to The Windy City in 2003 for a performance at the Auditorium Theatre. SCI kicked off the show with an unplugged set followed by two electric sets. Once again they had plenty of debuts in store as the played for the first time were “Theme from The Wiz” (Charlie Smalls), “Wipeout” (Ventures), “Ease On Down The Road” (Charlie Smalls), “Time Alive” (SCI original) and “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” (REM cover). There were also a pair of bust outs with “Chili Dawg” returning after 381 shows and “Sweet Home Chicago” making its first appearance in 522 shows.
12/31/2004 – New York, NY – Taped by Jason Ho
Cheese fans in the Northeast had one and only one chance to catch the band in the area on New Year’s Eve. The String Cheese Incident played the famed Radio City Music Hall on December 31, 2004. SCI was aided by Chris Berry on djembe for “One Step Closer” and “Mouna Bowa” in the first set as we well as the “Drums” sequence that began the second set. Highlights included a 14-minute “Miss Brown’s Teahouse,” a cover of Steely Dan’s “Reelin’ In The Years” and a “Rollover” > “Rivertrance” that spanned nearly 30 minutes.
12/31/2006 – San Francisco, CA – Taped by Peter Gilmore
The last two New Year’s Eve shows to take place outside of Broomfield, Colorado were held in San Francisco on December 31, 2005 and 2006. In fact, the December 31, 2006 NYE concert would be the band’s last year-end show until 2012 as they would soon embark on a hiatus. SCI displayed the genre-bending their sound had undergone over the previously few years at their ’06 NYE show. Bassnectar joined the group for a dubby jam late in the show and they were aided by Soul Eye as part of a long encore. There were also a handful of cover debuts: “Rockit” (Herbie Hancock), “Rocket Man” (Elton John), “Sex Machine” (James Brown) and “Ziggy Stardust” (David Bowie).
12/31/2012 – Broomfield, CO – Taped by Pete Coffan
The String Cheese Incident finally brought New Year’s Eve back to Colorado with a performance at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colorado on December 31, 2012. SCI treated fans to three career-spanning sets heavy on originals. They did throw a cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” in for good measure.
12/31/2014 – Broomfield, CO – Taped by Pete Coffan
SCI’s most recent New Year’s Eve show available on Archive.org took place on December 31, 2014. Cheese has found a home for their December 31st concerts at the 1st Bank Center, which has hosted the band’s NYE runs since 2012. All three sets have standout moments, but the second set from the beginning of “Desert Dawn” through the end is where it’s at. The “Jellyfish” > “Desert Dawn” closing segment of the second set particularly shines.