The String Cheese Incident Winter Carnival
03.22.07 – 03.24.07 :: The Fillmore :: Denver, CO
Last fall, when Bill Nershi announced that he was moving on after the Summer of 2007, a noticeable ripple passed through the SCI community. I got phone calls from friends around the country and began checking in with the SCI website for the announcement of Winter Carnival dates.
When the Thursday show finally arrived, I was greeted by a familiar scene at the corner of Colfax and Clarkson – hundreds of fans milling about, muttering sweet nothings and holding fingers in the air. This may or may not be the end of era, but it was great to see the community pull together in support of their boys.
The lights went down and the crowd went through the roof. What a welcome home! Any doubts about a great evening were immediately smashed as the bluegrass stomp of rare opener “Johnny Cash” filled the venue. It’s great, old timey songs like “Johnny Cash” given the String Cheese treatment that many of us fell in love with in the first place.
Ride, captain, ride upon your mystery ship
Be amazed at the friends you have here on your trip
Ride, captain, ride upon your mystery ship
On your way to a world that others might have missed
I couldn’t make the Friday show, so had to wait two days for another fix. It was a little bittersweet to walk in knowing this might be the last time Boulder’s barefoot boys would rock this hall. The evening kicked off with a less-than-stellar set of old fashioned, single mic bluegrass from Chris Thile and The How to Grow a Band. While amazing musicians, their sound didn’t fit the evening. To be fair, the audience was on edge, ready to explode, and anything besides an extra set from the headliners could only disappoint them.
At 8:15 the excitement in the venue was electric. Longtime friend, spiritual guide and bookkeeper for the band, Jack Mento, offered an extended introduction that incorporated many of the band’s album and song titles. It was a tribute to all the incidents we’ve shared over the years and a fitting start to the last Fillmore Incident.
Maybe they had a good cry back stage or maybe they put the party hats on, but when they came back for set two they were ready to say goodbye to The Fillmore by blowing the roof off the place. And I swear they almost did it. Welcoming Chris Thile, Noam Pikelny, Gabe Witcher and Bryan Sutton up, the boys went back to their roots and picked out “Doin’ My Time” and “Wheel Hoss” with a fervor that I hadn’t seen all evening. Energy was simply coursing through the band.
Then came the moment that brought me back to Red Rocks in July of 2002 when Michael Travis waved a sequin gloved hand in the air before dropping into “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough.” Keith Moseley let us know they were going to continue the tradition of “letting ‘Trav do something strange.” As soon as the red energy hats were passed out onstage, we were treated to a bluegrass version of the Devo classic “Whip It.” Travis did not disappoint, and even added live whip cracks to the song. “Whip It” segued into “Orange Blossom Special” before reprising.
To be honest, I’m not sure if it was the music or the crowd on Saturday that gave me “the fever” again. I had it bad several years ago, and I am glad that the boys brought it back even if just for a moment. If they’re gonna go, they might as well go out with a bang. If these shows at The Fillmore were any indication, they clearly intend to.
03.22.07 | Fillmore Auditorium | Denver, CO 03.23.07 | Fillmore Auditorium | Denver, CO 03.24.07 | The Fillmore Auditorium | Denver, CO JamBase | Colorado
Set 1: Johnny Cash, Round The Wheel, Black And White, Farther, Black Market > Mouna Bowa, Close Your Eyes
Set 2: Ride Captain Ride*, Best Feeling > Can’t Stop Now, 45th of November, Solution, Joyful Sound, Way Back Home
Encore: Outside and Inside > Jessica
*with Polyphonic Spree
Set 1: Search, Lost, MLT, Up The Canyon, Rollin’ In My Sweet Baby’s Arms, Shine, Big Shoes, Rain
Set 2: Bumpin’ Reel, The Way You Do The Things You Do, Desert Dawn > Black Clouds > Drums > Desert Dawn, High On A Mountain Top, Little Hands, Pack It Up, Miss Brown’s Teahouse
Encore: This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody), Dudley’s Kitchen
Set 1: Restless Wind, Cedar Laurels > Rhum ‘N Zouc, Midnight Moonlight, Eye Know Why, Love Is Like A Train, Valley Of The Jig > Smile
Set 2: Doin’ My Time*, Wheel Hoss*, Whip It* > Orange Blossom Special* > Whip It*, It Is What It Is, Galactic > Shine
Encore: Piece Of Mine, Sittin’ On Top Of The World > Texas
*with Chris Thile on mandolin, Noam Pikelny on banjo, Gabe Witcher on violin, Bryan Sutton on guitar
Go See Live Music!
03.23.07 | Fillmore Auditorium | Denver, CO 03.24.07 | The Fillmore Auditorium | Denver, CO JamBase | Colorado
03.24.07 | The Fillmore Auditorium | Denver, CO
JamBase | Colorado
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