After a mighty two nights at Red Rocks Amphitheatre with Cory Wong and Keller Williams over the weekend, the String Cheese Incident strode back up Morrison’s natural amphitheater for their third and final performance of the three-night run on Sunday. The weekend was full of celebrations, and SCI made sure that the crowd knew to never miss a Sunday show as part of their 25th-anniversary tour.
Kicking things off in the daylight for some traditional bluegrass in Colorado’s sunshine, The Del McCoury Band treated Red Rocks attendees to some real fiddle pickin’. Del reminisced with the crowd, telling stories of songs the band played, including John Sebastian’s “Nashville Cats,” Bill Monroe’s “Bluest Man In Town”, and the traditional cover of “Cold Rain & Snow”. The legendary bluegrass icon and his sextet finished off their set with their 2001 “All Aboard”.
SCI started into their own Sunday performance with their older “One Step Closer”, before Michael Kang took the crowd on a violin trip through “Get Tight” and last year’s debuted song, “Manga”. Rainbow visuals matched the glowing mountain atmosphere around as the band started into the Talking Heads’ “Native Melody”, reminding the crowd that Colorado “must be the place,” before slipping into the ninth-ever performance of “Into The Blue”. Billy Nershi announced to the crowd, “We’re gonna do some fiddle pickin’” and led the crowd into a celebratory “Happy Birthday” to Del McCoury for his 80th birthday. The fiddle pickin’ was no joke, as three generations of McCoury picked onstage with SCI for some fast-dancin’ takes of Ola Belle Reed’s “High On A Mountain”, Vassar Clements’ “Lonesome Fiddle Blues”, and an SCI debut of Jimmy Martin’s “My Walking Shoes”.
Watch the performances from the band’s first set on Sunday below.
The String Cheese Incident – “One Step Closer” – 7/21/2019
The String Cheese Incident – “Lonesome Fiddle Blues” (feat. The Del McCoury Band) – 7/21/2019
[Video: Kyle Isaac]
A set break arrived as ominous clouds were filling around the 6,400 foot-tall venue. It was questioned whether the show would be rained out or lightning would strike too close, but as SCI strode onstage it was clear that music always (at least, usually) perseveres. An incredible “Rivertrace” started the night’s set as Denver’s Celtic Steps danced onstage in arranging fashion. The crowd cheered and danced as the band returned to their 2000s-era tracks of “Looking Glass” and “Just One Story” just as the black clouds above rained down on the crowd. Some people took cover, but most celebrated and danced in the rain to the bluegrass mountain music. A run of “Falling Through The Cracks” flawlessly led into bassist Keith Moseley’s “Joyful Sound”, keeping up the sequence with “Outside Inside” and finishing off with a fast fiddle “Hi Ho No Show”.
The String Cheese Incident – “Rivertrace” (feat. Celtic Steps Elite Team) – 7/21/2019
The absence of an encore on Saturday due to a late start time and a sharp midnight curfew, expectations for a return to the stage after the set two finale stood pretty high. Percussionist Jason Hann led the band into a serene play of Peter Gabriel’s “Shakin’ The Tree”, leading up to an energized high to end the three-night run. Watch the encore from Sunday’s show below.
The String Cheese Incident – “Shakin’ The Tree” – 7/21/2019
[Video: Live For Live Music]
The String Cheese Incident goes continues their 25th-anniversary tour with their appearance at The Peach Music Festival on July 25th-26th. For a full list of the band’s upcoming tour dates, ticketing, and more information, head to the band’s website.
Check out a gallery of photos from last night’s show below, courtesy of photographer Elliot Siff.
Setlist: The String Cheese Incident | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Morrison, CO | 07/21/2019
Set One: One Step Closer, Get Tight, Manga > Naive Melody > Into The Blue, Del’s Birthday Song, High On The Mountain Top*, Lonesome Fiddle Blues*, My Walking Shoes** (Jimmy Martin cover)
Set Two: Rivertrance^, Looking Glass > Just One Story, Falling Through The Cracks > Joyful Sound (No Rumble) > Outside Inside > Hi Ho No Show
Encore: Shaking The Tree (Peter Gabriel cover)
* w/ Del McCoury on Acoustic Guitar, Ron McCoury on Mandolin, Rob McCoury on Banjo, Jason Carter on Fiddle, Evan McCoury on Acoustic Guitar
** w/ Del McCoury on Acoustic Guitar, Ron McCoury on Mandolin, Rob McCoury on Banjo, Jason Carter on Fiddle, Evan McCoury on Acoustic Guitar
^ w/ Celtic Steps