Today is Michael Kang’s birthday! The multi-instrumentalist has played a pivotal role in The String Cheese Incident since the band’s formation in 1993, with his familiar voice and quick handiwork on guitar, mandolin, and violin.
We aren’t the only folks who have celebrated Kang’s birthday, and some digging through the archives led us to an amazing performance at the Varsity Theatre in Baton Rouge, LA, held on this day in 1998. After a rocking first set, the band welcomed out a special guest during the second half—Keller Williams. This happened a full year before their collaborative album Breathe was released in 1999, sowing the seeds for a release that would give us songs like “Best Feeling” and “Not Of This Earth”.
Williams not only joined String Cheese in the middle of “All Blues,” but he led a sing-a-long “Happy Birthday” for Kang, and even stayed through to finish off the song. Williams also appeared towards the end of the set to lend a hand for a cover of Grateful Dead‘s “Franklin’s Tower”, but left Cheese to their own devices to finish up the show with a fun “I Know You Rider”.
Thanks to Michiel Oudendijk, we have some pristine audio recording of this performance. Tune in to this birthday celebration below, and don’t forget to wish Michael Kang a happy birthday!
[Audio: Michiel Oudendijk]
Setlist: The String Cheese Incident | Varsity Theatre | Baton Rouge, LA | 5/13/1998
Set 1: Chili Dawg, Another Night, Lester Had a Coconut, Got What He Wanted > Elvis’ Wild Ride > jam > Elvis’ Wilde Ride, Bigger Isn’t Better > San Jose
Set 2: 100-Year Flood > Jam > All Blues > Happy Birthday* > All Blues* > Climb, Good Times Around the Bend, Mouna Bowa, Wake Up > Franklin’s Tower* > I Know You Rider
* with Keller Williams
[Originally published 5/13/17]