I went to this show with my brother Eric, Da_Pickl, and Jenny. The show was a birthday gift to my brother (I almost always take my brother to a show for his birthday (July 4). He never does anything for mine (Sept. 21). He has always bee spoiled like that.) Since he was going for free, I made him drive us in his GMC Starcraft van. I thought we’d go “in style”.
"Eric's van looks like this"
"Da_Pickl, Some Idiot, and My Brother"
We got up there early and parked in the upper north lot. Since we had reserved seats, we decided to bust out the washers game while we consumed the growlers of IPA that Da_Pickl picked up from CB Potts.
After a few good washers games with our neighbors (good as in they won them all and I was drinking beer) we strolled up to the gate. By this time Da_Pickl’s brother-in-law Chris, his brother-in-law’s brother Kevin, and his brother-in-law’s dad Chuck showed up. We actually had to wait for Chuck to give out tickets to the people parked in the handicapped spaces at the top of Red Rocks. He even gave one to a cop car. Chuck has balls!
My brother was at the show for Ratdog. so he asked me what a String Cheese show was like. So I told him about the hula-hoops, the flying glowsticks (the ratio of flying glowsticks to audience members is 97-1) and the costumed people. At about this time, these people came along:
As we were waiting for the show, this woman Debra and her friend came along sat down next to us. She said she didn’t know much about the band (she didn’t specify which one) and asked me to let her know the songs. When Playin’ In the Band came on, I dutifully told her the name of the song. She said she knew that one. Then something hit her: “Wait a minute, this is String Cheese Incident, isn’t it?” After I told her it was Ratdog, she was a bit embarrassed. She was there to see RD, after all. She was short, and maybe had bad eyes. Or she thought SCI opened. I don’t know.
When Playin’ came on, my brother said immediately that they were going to bookend the show with it. The went into a delightful New Speedway Boogie (a surprise for me) and followed with a sweet Big Boss Man. Tennessee Jed and Corrina followed. Then came the snores: Even So, October Queen (with the SCI “freaks” marching around the stage) and The Deep End. The Wheel was alright, and we saw a rare drum segment with Jason Hann and Michael Travis from String Cheese playing those bongo-style drums that you play between your legs (someone please tell me the name of those drums.) Knocking on Heaven’s Door and Playin’ finished out the set (or so I thought.) As soon as Playin’ ended the drums went crazy and they went into Samson. What a great song to end the set! My brother was ecstatic. He had never seen a Samson before.
Then, after a group meeting backstage, the band came out and all of them got in fromt of microphones except the drummer (who just stood there.) They weren’t picking up their instruments. I said to Da_Pickl, “Oh no! What is bobby doing?” He looked as worried as I did. The band began to sing Attics of My Life a capella. We were all amazed how good it sounded. It was nice, slow, and they did an awesome job! Kudos to Bobby!
Jam > Playin in the Band > New Speedway Boogie, Big Boss Man* > Tennessee Jed, Corrina@, Even So > October Queen+ > The Deep End > The Wheel > Stuff#, Knockin on Heaven's Door > Playin in the Band (reprise) > Samson and Delilah%
E: Attics of My Life&
*-w/ Boots (harmonica); +-w/ a "freak parade"; #-w/ Michael Travis and Jason Hann (percussion); %-w/ Kyle Hollingsworth (keys); &-a capella; Stuff - Jeff/Kenny/Robin/MK/Jay > Jay/Travis/Jason; All of RatDog sat in with SCI on "GDTRFB"
(with String Cheese Incident [SCI closed] and Taj Mahal)
At halftime we were just sitting there enjoying the atmosphere and watching the black storms that were rolling out over Denver and the plains (we never got more than a sprinkle. Da_Pickl’s neighborhood got 3 inches of rain.) when I noticed this chick with a stack of CDs walking in front of me. Suddenly, there was our scalper buddy Jerry shaking my hand. The CD girl was Jen, his wife. The thing about Jerry is he always finds us. He founds us at the Reunion shows in Alpine Valley, he found us at Vegoose, and he finds us all the time at Denver shows. We never know what shows he is going to, so we don’t know if we are going to see him. In this case he was going down the row to visit a friend of his. He told me he didn’t return my call about the show because, “I knew I would run into you.” He gave me one of the shows that Jen was carrying and I got a nice big hug from her (she is such a sweetie – Jerry, you don’t deserve her!)
String Cheese were their usual good selves. It seems like I ALWAYS get a “Sittin’ On Top of The World.”
Taj Mahal (who opened and did an awesome set – my brother got a kick out of Taj’s “Wolfman Jack” voice. ) came out and joined in on “Mailbox Blues” and “The Ballad of Stagger Lee”. Stagger Lee was nice - real nice (and apparently one of the few versions that Taj has done – see here for the list of bands. See here for some history.) I was only familiar with Robert Hunter’s telling of the story. I didn’t realize that there was a true legend and that many, many bands have told the story (I know I have heard The Clash’s telling .)
They closed the first set with Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Shining Star”. The “freaks” were behind the percussion setup hiding and flashing cards every time the lyrics
“You’re a shining star, no matter who you are
Shining bright to see what you can truly be”
The second set opened with what Da_Pickl dubbed as “CheeseDog”. All of Ratdog was out there with SCI playing “Going Down The Road Feeling Bad”. It was really cool. They kept repeating lyrics – dragging it out – and jamming in between. VERY NICE!
After that, it got dark, and the glowsticks went nuts. Plus, the “freaks” began a dance-about on the old concession stands at the side of the amphitheatre under black lights. (I wish I had pictures – my camera sucks for dark pictures.) We had to leave early because Da_Pickl’s back was hurtin’ him bad, and a couple of us had to work in the morning (Sunday show). It is actually a good thing we did, because it began to rain hard as we hit the car.
Here is the setlist:
Set I: Outside Inside> Best Feeling> Sittin' On Top Of The World, Mailbox Blues1, Ballad of Stagger Lee1, Piece Of Mine, Black and White2, Search2, Shining Star2
Set II: Going Down the Road Feeling Bad3, It Is What It Is, Sometimes A River, Smile, Eye Know Why2, Rivertrance
Encore: Tamba2, Black Clouds
1 w/ Taj Mahal
2 w/ Panjea horns (trumpet & saxophone)
My brother had a good time, and I am glad for that.
(Sorry this is late. I bought a car the next day, plus I have a new boss at work who is keeping me working hard to impress his boss and told me I couldn’t use my MacBook Pro at work anymore. Not really an excuse that is valid, but part of the reason. Don’t ask me why my Moe. review is even more late.)
(P.S. – Da_Pickl has been hurtin’ these past three shows (Moe., WSP, and SCI/Ratdog) – and I am not talking his back. He is trying to get a job in FLA and has had to fore-go his and Pauly’s favorite green hobby before his interview. He is there now, and hopefully he will have an answer either way before the ABB/Mule shows on Labor Day Weekend. Keep your fingers crossed!)