The String Cheese Incident 12.9.11

Aragon Ballroom
Chicago, IL

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (

We arrived for night two at the Aragon to a massive line as people slowly filtered in. I was a bit worried about missing the pit, but I got in quickly and made my way up front. It was obvious the luxurious space we experienced on night one was nowhere to be found. Fuzzy people literally oozed off the floor in all directions. There were more photogs shooting the band, but still plenty of room to maneuver. String Cheese came out with a Kang fueled "Best Feeling" to get the night started. Here is the complete setlist from Friends of Cheese.

SET I: Best Feeling> Eat My Dust, Doin’ My Time, So Far From Home, MLT, Born On The Wrong Planet, Way Back Home, Bumpin’ Reel

SET II: Rosie> Bonafied Lovin’, Las Vegas, These Waves> Drifting, It Is What It Is, This Must Be The Place (Na├»ve Melody), Colorado Bluebird Sky

ENCORE: Kashmir> Whiskey Before Breakfast*

*Mislabeled on FOC

SCI continued to sound incredibly tight and primed from their weeks on the road for yet another night in the Windy City. We seemed to get an extended photo session in the pit before we were told our time was up. I roamed to the back and mingled a bit before I found Mikey and we tried to find space on the floor. As I stated previously the place was absolutely packed and even scooting in on the back of the floor seemed impossible. "My Time" was tight, but the "So Far From Home" seemed like a cognoscente reference to how far they’ve come in the last few weeks and perhaps a nod to the fact that they would be heading back to Colorado soon. The "BOTWP" was executed nicely and featured a solid jam with Kang taking the lead. "The Way Back Home" was clean and probably another reference for their readiness to be back with their respective families. Travis busted out his snappiest of beats for an untzy "Bumpin’ Reel" to close the first set.

They began the second set in a big way with what had been dubbed as the "Rosieo," it’s a combo of Kyle’s Rosie and the Chromeo tune, "Bonafied Lovin’." We got a preview of this jam at Kyle Hollingsworth Band with Kang in Fort Collins, but obviously seeing String Cheese pull this off bumped it up to a whole new level. The "Las Vegas" got dark and gritty and just blew me away. The visuals featured projections of the Vegas sign with red lights bouncing around the ecstatic crowd. "These Waves in Drifting" was a bit of an energy drain, but I found the minimalist jamming to be special in its own way. I was stoked on the Kyle led "This Must Be The Place," which is probably my favorite Talking Heads cover. They closed the second set with a huge "Colorado Bluebird Sky." It’s been interesting to watch this tune evolve into a massive jam vehicle, moving so far beyond its bluegrass roots that at times it was almost unrecognizable.

String Cheese encored with a tight "Kashmir" that dissolved into a whompy jam before they segued into a beautiful instrumental version of "Whiskey Before Breakfast." It was another solid show that pushed on until almost midnight. The over-sized crowd poured out on the cold streets and the harsh wake-up call of the cold air made steam rise off the Cheeseheads. I couldn't be happier with their performances thus far and am more than pumped to finish it all up on night three.

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