The String Cheese Incident Delivers Heady Queso at 25th Anniversary Run

Colorado’s The String Cheese Incident graced the tri-state area with a 3-night run at the storied Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY to celebrate twenty-five years as a band. This run featured numerous rare covers, the spirit of Jerry Garcia, NOLA style marching into the crowd, and special guests. The band includes Michael Kang (electric mandolin/fiddle), Michael Travis (drums), Kyle Hollingsworth (Keyboards/Synth), Billy Nershi (electric/acoustic guitar), Keith Moseley (bass) and Jason Hann (percussion).

Night one started out with a bang, despite the band and crew travelling through the night from Del Fest and arriving at 8 a.m. that morning. The set started with “Believe,” from their 2017 album with the same name. The boys brought a piece of Del Fest to the Capitol Theatre with bluegrass tunes “So Far From Home” > “Cedar Laurels” and energized the crowd with an incredible segue. “Laurels” was last played at Red Rocks in July 2018. “Gone Crooked” is a new tune by Moseley, written with Raymond Baxter, and had a nice old timey feel. Rounding out the set was “BollyMunster” and the psychedelic “Peace of Mine” > “Let’s Go Outside.”

Michael Kang on the fiddle

Set 2 began with a SCI classic, “Smile,” played for Nershi’s wife Jillian who was celebrating her birthday that night. Nershi announced that the song was originally written for her. Fan favorite “Desert Dawn” segued into two tunes from The Beatles’ Abbey Road, “Polythene Pam” and “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window.” “Pam” was last played 15 years ago, on 04/04/2004, with six total live appearances in all. While not as rare, “Bathroom Window” was last played two years ago on 08/13/2017.

These rarities continued the high energy segue chain into the traditional bluegrass tune turned jam monster, “Rivertrance.” A rocking drum segment followed, with only Travis and Hann on stage. The new Dead-influenced Hollingsworth song “Big Reveal” > “All We Got” closed the set, but the show was far from over. SCI encored with their latin classic “San Jose” and then finished “Desert Dawn.”

Keith Mosely and Michael Kang jam together

Night two picked up where night one left off. Set one started with “Vertigo” and the segue sandwich of “Black and White” > “Can’t Wait Another Day” > “Midnight Moonlight,” the latter being a cover of Peter Rowan for the Jerry Garcia side project, Old and in the Way. The party then went into high gear as the band dove into “Valley of the Jig,” a SCI dancehall beast that is a reworked version of the traditional bluegrass tune, “Red Haired Boy.” The set closed out with Untying the Not’s “Sirens” > the quintessential “Restless Wind.”

SCI covers The Talking Head’s “Burning Down The House”

Set two continued with jam vehicles “Just One Story” > “Rosie.” “Song In My Head” then proceeded, from the album of the same name, followed by their debut of the Jerry Garcia Band cover, “Tore Up Over You.” “45th of November,” from the album One Step Closer, started a funk and psychedelic sequence that reminded the Northeast who SCI is. This began with a segue into the Talking Head’s “Burning Down the House.” The walls of the Capitol Theatre were filled with projections of fire. This cover was last played on 10/29/16 at Hulaween. The jazz-jam monster by The Weather Report “Birdland” > “Wheel Hoss” > “Birdland” > “Just One Story” closed out set two. Apparently, the band was also supposed to play “Jellyfish,” but scrapped the song based on time constraints. Capitol Theatre owner and jamband promoter Pete Shapiro was in the crowd tonight and addressed the audience before the boys returned for the encore. Nershi’s timeless bluegrass tune about rekindling lost love, “Bar Stool,” ended the show.

Pete Shapiro, owner of the Capitol Theatre, addresses the audience

Night three began with the band announcing, “Never miss a Monday night show.” The venue was half full, and those in attendance were in for a cheesy treat. The show started on a high note with “You’ve Got The World” and Believe’s “Sweet Spot.” The perennial fan favorite plus bluegrass tune “Little Hands” included a tight jam and segue into “Don’t It Make You Wanna Dance,” a Jerry Jeff Walker cover. Kang’s “Beautiful,” also from Believe, led into the introduction of their friend, guitarist Scott Sharad. He joined the band on stage for a rocking version of “Outside And Inside” > “Hot’ Lanta.”

Billy Nershi

SCI seemed determined to top each setlist, and the last set was no exception. All six members started the second set by marching into the floor NOLA style, and played an acoustic version of “Dark Hollow.” This song was last played almost 13 years ago at the Tweeter Center on 07/15/2006. “Into The Blue” preceded the always inspiring “Joyful Sound” > “Rumble” and got the crowd moving again. The Keller Williams cover “Best Feeling” launched into a dark reggae jam and segued into The Police’s “Walking On The Moon.” This is the third time they have played this unique cover. “Moon” went back into “Feeling” and then transitioned into Song in my Head’s “Colliding.” Another quintessential String Cheese Incident classic and jam beast, “Texas,” closed out this sensational set. Peter Gabriel’s “Shaking The Tree,” last played 03/18/2017, ended the run and sent the hard core fans home happy. The Northeast awaits the return of this gouda band.

Setlists courtesy of friendsofcheese.com

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Set One: Believe, So Far From Home > Cedar Laurels, Gone Crooked, BollyMunster, Piece Of Mine > Let’s Go Outside

Set Two: Smile, Desert Dawn > Polythene Pam > She Came In Through The Bathroom Window > Rivertrance > Drums, The Big Reveal > All We Got

Encore: San Jose > Desert Dawn

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Set One: Vertigo, Black and White > Can’t Wait Another Day > Midnight Moonlight, Valley Of The Jig, Sirens > Restless Wind

Set Two: Just One Story > Rosie, Song In My Head, Tore Up Over You, 45th of November > Burning Down The House, Birdland > Wheel Hoss > Birdland > Just One Story

Encore: Barstool

Monday, May 27, 2019

Set One: You’ve Got The World, Sweet Spot, Little Hands > Don’t It Make You Wanna Dance, Beautiful, Outside And Inside1 > Hot ‘Lanta1

Set Two: Dark Hollow2, Into The Blue, Joyful Sound > Rumble, Best Feeling > Walking On The Moon > Best Feeling > Colliding, Texas

Encore: Shakin’ The Tree

Notes 1 with Scott Sharrard on electic guitar, 2 Unplugged, Acoustic