Having employed so many trapeze artists and high flying adventurers it seemed inevitable that the members of Cheese would get in on the act eventually, but we’ll get to that soon enough. Night two of their three night affair at Red Rocks was certainly a memorable show. Between the stellar work from openers Analog Son to guest appearances this show had a little bit of everything for everyone. The clouds of the previous day had dissipated and fans entered the famed venue under rays of sunlight. Fans seemed fully in the groove and ready to throw down by the time Analog Son took the stage. While there seemed to plenty of room to rage on Friday, Saturday’s incident was sold out in advance leaving lots of people in the lot with their fingers pointed towards the sky.
This was Analog Son’s inaugural show at Red Rocks and rather than let the experience overwhelm the massive group, they simply rose to the occasion. Analog Son is a funk collective that features elements of hip-hop, soul, rock and jam. Their lineup is a veritable who’s who of the local Colorado music scene. The band sprung from the minds of Jordan Linit and Josh Fairman. They are collaborators at heart and in their short history Analog Son has performed with over 30 musicians sharing the stage. Their show at Red Rocks featured 12. On this outing they utilized the vocal power of Devon Parker and Ashley Niven to great effect. Their set closing Jimi Hendrix medley that featured “Manic Depression,” “Voodoo Child” and “Crosstown Traffic” was an obvious highlight.
The String Cheese Incident has no issue with bringing out the big guns during their first set. For the second night in a row Cheese dropped jaws from the git go. They opened with an appropriate “Climb” to start the show.
Set 1: Climb, Hi Ho No Show, Ophelia, My One & Only, Black And White > On The Road, Colorado Bluebird Sky
Set 2: Forever Man*, Hot Lanta*, Jellyfish > Land’s End > Let’s Go Outside > Howard > Just One Story
Encore: How Mountain Girls Can Love
*w/ Todd Park Mohr (Big Head Todd)
They proceeded with the Kang led “Hi Ho No Show” off of the recently released Sedona Sessions. Keith Moseley took the vocals on a beautiful rendition of The Band’s “Opehlia.” Kyle sang his emotive “My One & Only” before “Black and White” rumbled through the canyon. The band transitioned smoothly to a perfect “On The Road.” They closed with a powerful “Colorado Bluebird Sky.” That song has blossomed from an acoustic ditty to a set-closing monster. This is where things got a little weird.
I was positioned on the stage left side of the venue near the projection screen in row fifteen. We noticed early that there were some shenanigans going on in the lighting trestle high above the stage. We saw Billy, Keith, Travis, and Kang saddling up to repel down to the stage. As they reached their position the lights dimmed and Jason and Kyle came out with a few cheesy lines before they started playing a “Mission Impossible Theme” jam as the aforementioned band members began their descent. As they reached the stage Big Head Todd appeared from the wing and joined the band for the one, two punch of Eric Clapton’s “Forever Man” into The Allman Brothers’ “Hot Lanta.” While BHT might not be everyone’s first choice for a sit in, he is a Denver icon and man he really can shred. The “Jellyfish” featured some of the deepest jams of the night followed by the crowd-pleasing “Land’s End.” Cheese kept the ball rolling with Kyle’s “Let’s Go Outside” which has become a huge second set jam in it’s own right. The show closing “Howard” into a monumental “Just One Story” was the icing on the cake. They returned to encore with a sweet but short Nershi led “How Mountain Girls Can Love.” This was another barn burner of a show featuring a ton of SCI classics alongside some new and exciting tracks. The String Cheese Incident continues to work on original material with a focus on truly collaborating. They seem to be having fun and the music was top notch for two days. The run would conclude with an early show on Sunday and an opening set from The Grant Farm. The show included sit ins from members of The Infamous Stringdusters on the encore as well. Go get your Cheese fix soon, they appear to be no longer content with maintaining the status quo.