String Cheese Incident 7.6.12

Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Morrison, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock

Unlike Thursday, which was a picture perfect day at "The Edge," Friday saw one of the worst torrential storms I’ve ever witnessed at the famed venue. The show began routinely enough with some pre-show drinks and light showers under a cloudy sky. However it seemed to clear off as the masses found their way up the ramp and into their seats. I was taking photos again so I found myself at the front of the sold out crowd ready for night two of String Cheese.

The show began ominously enough with Billy asking the crowd if they were, “…ready to brave the elements.” Rumors of lightning and serious weather had been floating around the gathering, and Billy pretty much confirmed them. Moseley’s swooping bass lines brought on a bouncy “Birdland” and for a minute it seemed the band was shrugging off any concerns.

String Cheese Incident Live at Red Rocks Amphitheater on July 6, 2012.

Set One (aka False Start): Birdland> Wheel Hoss> Birdland, Rain…

Set Two: Restless Wind, Water> Search, Turn This Around> Breathe> Turn This Around, Way That It goes, So Far From Home, It Is What It Is> Bumpin’ Reel> Black Clouds

Encore: Can’t Wait Another Day, Little Hands> I Know You Rider

2nd Encore: The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)

I hopped around snapping shots during the “Birdland” sandwich with a short, but fun “Wheel Hoss” stuck in the middle. Like a Medicine Man from a bygone era, SCI went into “Rain” and literally called down water from the heavens. I felt a slap on my shoulder and a quick,”You’re done,” as fat drops of water smacked against the ground. I quickly stowed my gear in my backpack and sought cover. In an instant the sky opened up and immediately drenched the audience.

“Hey folks I guess we’ve gotta a little rain delay… hang with us we love you for being here. God bless the rain you know we need it.” – Keith Moseley

Billy said it would be a forty-five minute wait and that lighting had been spotted. He advised people to seek shelter. It seemed that most people heeded his warning, but many who were equipped with rain gear opted to stay. That forty-five minutes ended up being closer to two hours before the rain let up enough for the band to return. The crew squeegeed the stage as the crowd filtered back inside. Many fans headed home, however many more who were ticketless found their way inside. Essentially it became a free show, because there was no way to verify the legitimate ticket holders.

String Cheese came back with a beautiful and entirely appropriate “Restless Wind.” The setlist would continue on with a wet theme with “Water.” In fact from a meta standpoint the entire setlist reads like a story of the evening. The lyric-less “Search,” which featured a fiddle-conducted drum jam between Travis and Hann was the highlight for the entire show. Kang hit the musical gaps and directed solos from the drummers giving them shorter and shorter spaces to fill. I made my way up top and found that the last twenty rows were far from packed giving those that remained plenty of room to dance. “Turn This Around” bookended an impeccable version of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe.” Kyle who was simply cosmic all weekend took the reigns on “Way That It Goes” before the band went into the newer tune “So Far From Home.” The “Bumpin’ Reel” was huge as it stretched on over the fifteen minute mark. SCI closed their hour and half set with the widely called “Black Clouds.”

The double encore was their way of making up for the lost set and featured some classic Cheese as well as some of their more routine covers. Travis started in with a shout out to Conscious Alliance. They played another newer tune entitled “Can’t Wait Another Day” which was the soundtrack to a tour promo video and is their most recent studio recording. It’s a bubbly Kyle tune that seemed to insinuate their necessity to keep the show going despite the rain.

“I wrote this tune while I was waiting for my baby girl to be born.” – Kyle

String Cheese delighted the fans with a chunky “Little Hands” followed by a version of “I Know You Rider” to finish the first encore. The band came back with a “Mighty Quinn” to finish the night off proper. Musically the rain energized both the crowd and the band giving everyone that stayed a memory that is sure to last. I know I won’t soon forget about Rain Rocks 2012.

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