UPDATE: We reached out to SCI percussionist/drummer Jason Hann to confirm that we did indeed hear Phish’s “First Tube” during last night’s rendition of “Round The Wheel”. Hann replied “You’re right. Only it was ‘Half Tube’, cause Kyle doesn’t really know it.”
The String Cheese Incident pulled out all the stops last night for night two of their three night Red Rocks run, as this Saturday night special was one for the books. Where to begin? Singers Rhonda Thomas (Isaac Hayes, india.arie) and Tony White joined the group for a good portion of the show throughout the night, including during the first set on “Sweet Spot” and “Stay Through.” They really hit home on the Percy Mayfield original “Please Send Me Someone To Love”, which was played in honor of BB King and featured some excellent blues guitar playing from Billy Nershi.
The highlight of the set came when the band jammed “Round The Wheel” into a tease of Phish‘s “First Tube”, which had the venue shaking.
“Sweet Melinda”, a Peter Rowan original, was beautifully played, and we may even get that next week at Gathering of the Vibes when Cheese will be playing a special set with both Rowan and David Grisman. A set-closing cover of Paul McCartney/Wings‘ “Live And Let Die” brought a proper close to set one and whet our appetites for what was to come in set two.
“Restless Wind” gave us a taste of the honky-tonk mountain sound that Cheese was born and bred on, with Nershi clearly in his comfort zone and taking the lead. The slow, melancholic vibe of “Hotel Window” led into a much-anticipated “Rivertrance” that was more than memorable with Michael Kang leading the way on violin. There is just something special when Cheese drops into the song that truly embodies the evolution of the band since its inception.
The encore never seemed to end, which was perfectly fine with us. It began with a “Drums” jam between Michael Travis, Jason Hann and special guests Dave Watts (The Motet) and Jeremy Salken (Big Gigantic) getting all sorts of weird. As the rest of the group made their way back on stage to join Travis and Hann, a superbly played “Rosie” showcased a funked-out “Billie Jean” with Tony White taking lead vocals. Any show could conclude with a Michael Jackson cover, and no one would complain, but Cheese jammed back into “Rosie” to end what was an off the charts second night on the Rocks.
SCI Red Rocks 7/25/15
Set 1: Jack’s Cheese Poem, Song In My Head, Eye Know Why, Sweet Spot*, Stay Through*, Please Send Me Someone To Love*^, Round The Wheel# > Sweet Melinda > Wheel Hoss, Live And Let Die%
Set 2: Tinder Box* > Restless Wind, You’ve Got The World*, Hotel Window*, Rivertrance, Way Back Home > Looking Glass > Just One Story (reprise)
Encore: Drums+, Rosie > Billie Jean@ > Rosie
* Rhonda Thomas (backup singer for Isaac Hayes) and Tony White
^ Percy Mayfield original (played in honor of BB King)
# Jammed in and out of Phish’s “First Tube”
+ Dave Watts (The Motet) and Jeremy Salken (Big Gigantic)
% Paul McCartney/Wings cover
@ Michael Jackson cover
Photos by Nicholas Stock: