The String Cheese Incident brought its three-night stand to a close at the 1STBANK Center in front of the wildest crowd yet. Complete with a costume contest, body painting by Icarus Zaure, Sven Jorgensen balancing around on a large ball whilst juggling, and The Conscious Alliance accepting donations for posters, the Winter Carnival celebrated the end of one season and the beginning of a new.
Whereas many similar three-night runs start on a Friday and close on Sunday, with Saturday being the big party night, SCI did it right by kicking things off on Thursday and culminating on Saturday. Call it simple planning or genius marketing, but wrapping things up as they did was the perfect way to please everyone. Not only did it allow for everyone to get plenty of sleep before the week starts, but it gave the heads who parachuted in for the mayhem ample time to make it back home for work on Monday -- as well as enough down time for everyone's chemicals to re-balance themselves.
The energy that flooded into the 1STBANK Center is more than noteworthy. Everyone knew Cheese would throw down for the finale, but no one could have expected what they had in store for everyone. Opening with "Song In My Head" was the perfect way to get everyone loose, speaking to our subconscious with "There's a song in my head, and it's driving me crazy." Kyle Hollingsworth elevated the tempo on the organ, as Nershi sang "it's getting louder... it's getting louder... it's getting LOUDER!"
Michael Kang praised everyone for coming out and insisted we send all the positive energy we had overseas to those effected by the earthquake that leveled Japan, along with the aftershocks that have left the country demolished. The energy in the room was off the chart as the group kicked in to "100 Year Flood." That was followed by "Rosie" and "Will it Go Round in Circles," featuring openers Ian Neville, Ivan Neville and Tony Hall, who sat in with the band.
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What's great about Cheese, aside from the obvious stage presence and talent, is the diversity of each band member. Each has a successful side project that showcases their skills outside of the designated instrument seen at Cheese shows. Last night, drummer Michael Travis (who plays percussion in Eoto>) took to the microphone and belted out a spot on version, if not better than the original, of The Fixx's "One Thing Leads To Another." He shimmy-shaked around the stage, rigidly stepping to the beat, proving that drums and percussion are not his only skill set.
The second set opened with "Howard," a ballad that I thought was a fast cover of The Nuge's "Stranglehold," but lost its Nugent-pizazz when it went psychedelic. It was long, but needed, as there was a parade approaching the main floor that needed some time to get situated. After winding around the concourse and finally making its way onto the floor, the parade weaved through hula-hoopers, jugglers, noodlers and the like until it made its way to the center.
Go-go dancers were lifted on scissor lifts at the sound booth and at side-stage, starting during "Way Back Home," and into "Let's Go Outside," a song the Kyle Hollingsworth's Band jammed when they opened for Umphrey's Mcgee a few weeks back.
The encore included a cover of "Wanna Be Starting Something," implying that yes, we should all get out and do something. A theme, if not based on the set list then simply the feeling for the night, was pro-activeness: Get out and do something. And what a perfect way to end the only time we are going to see these six artists perform together this whole year. Keep your eyes peeled for their respectable side projects; Eoto, Praang, and the Kyle Hollingsworth Band will undoubtedly be around these parts for the summer.
Click through to read the Critic's Notebook and the set list
The String Cheese Incident Winter Carnival, Night Three 03.12.11 | 1STBANK Center, Broomfield
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SET 1 1. Song in My Head 2. Search 3. 100 Year Flood 4. Rosie (new track) 5. Will it Go Round in Circles feat. Tony Hall on Bass, Ian Neville on guitar, Ivan Neville on keys (Keith on Percussion) 6. Eye Know Why 7. Shantytown 8. One Thing Leads to Another 9. Valley of the Jig
SET II 1. Howard 2. Way Back Home 3. Let's Go Outside 4. Sand Dollar 5. Ring of Fire 6. Desert Dawn
ENCORE 1. Black Clouds 2. Wanna Be Starting Something 3. Black Clouds
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: I thought it was a three-night show like no other, complete with new tracks, classics and amazing covers. Random Detail: The Conscious Alliance does great things at these shows providing a forum for food donations. Full plastic bags were in tow, full of canned goods. By The Way: There is no Red Rocks this summer. In case you haven't heard yet.