The String Cheese Incident rocked us through another New Year's Eve in familiar fashion. The show was surprisingly not sold out, leaving lots of breathing room for the faithful fans of cheese. There is a simple explanation for the event only selling eighty percent of its capacity, I have a notion anyway. The Grateful Dead wants their family back? The Other Ones (see recent review and photos of The Other Ones) have been selling out their shows from coast to coast. It seems that aside from Phil Lesh touring with his other band Phil Lesh and Friends (Warren Haynes, John Molo, and company) that The Other Ones will be out in force in the coming year. There is no other reason for the Cheese to have not sold out the event completely. However, I like it when a concert is not sold out. The lines for everything are just a little shorter and its easier to move about the venue. I was so glad to not be crowded into a building across the bay, twice as big, but bursting at the seams with people. Don't get me wrong, I really wished I could have been in both places at the same time. You can always find some chill time behind the stage in the Oakland Coliseum, even when you can't even move around the rest of the place. Some people like to see the stage, some just like to dance, regardless of whether they can see. Most imperative, however, that they can hear it well, content to take an occasional peak at the band from afar.
I've been particular to both styles of concert viewing at different times in the past. After little consideration, I do have to confess, I enjoy dancing right in front of the stage the best. The connection with the band is always so much better when you can see a musician's eyes as the magic unfolds. The instruments, indeed, do become portals of time travel as twenty minute jam sessions become transports to a place in the brain familiar to many. The zone, where your every move is fluidly perfect. Your words come out effortlessly, your mind anticipates all questions. Words leave your lips in near thoughtless reflex as you dance, laugh, and enjoy life to its fullest. Under the smooth exterior, is a noggin most obsesed with hearing every intense volley of leads and fills, cuts and chops. Ultimately, keeping ninety percent of all the brain's available concentration delightedly intent on hearing the music's every bump and grind, note and chord. Yeah, the zone, either you've been there or you haven't. The wild thing was, it was that kind of night for everybody there. You could feel it in the air, you could see it in the eyes of people you bumped into, and on the smiles of passerbys in the hallways. Energy, unadulterated, and clean, flowing through the crowd like the breath from a baby.
Then there it was, the illusion shattered, as a crying, and very unhappy girl swept silently through the hall, much too quick to even be comforted by anyone in that crowd. A breath of fresh air was in order, and we came back from outside to find the stage in a frenzy with freaky sideshows all over the place. The Cheese was in the middle of a FAN-tastic rendition of "Let's do the Time Warp Again," from the cult classic film the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The show was awesome and most everybody was having a great night. The Cheese was in prime forum and the set list was just awesome, consisting of mostly String Cheese originals with their usual eclectic sampling of cover songs. The fun began with some wild disco action provided by the Keller Williams Incident, which was String Cheese with Keller. "Staying Alive," brought back ancient memories of walking out from the Dead show and finding myself inevitably freaking out next to the disco bus. Speaking of the Dead, the Keller Williams Incident was full of surprise as they did a mellow rendition of "Franklin's Tower" and then the opening set ended with "Freeker By The Speaker" and "You Should Be Dancing."
Certainly setting the mood for the evening, the first set with Keller was absolutely fantastic. The best part of the whole show was when they came out to start the second set and the band was decked out in costume. Travis had hair for the first set with Keller Williams, but came out with a pink mohawk for the second set. He immediately jumped behind his kit an offered an explanation to the crowd for his new hairdo. The recent death of Joe Strummer (The Clash) had inspired him to make a public moment of remembrance and homage to a musician who had inspired him to be in the place he was today. A shocking tribute that ignited the crowd to a revolutionary frenzy in anticipation of the music to come. The rest of the band was quite decked out also, but Kang took the cake with the great pants he was wearing. Obviously a labor of love was in the making as they were handmade with extensive beadwork and this electric blue fabric with an eyecatching psychedelic pattern. Another highlight was the perfectly executed cover of Pink Floyd's "Time." Right in motion with the evening's theme of time travel, and that was followed up with "Breathe," the two together left you in a state of comatose pleasure. The absolute highpoint for the evening was when the Cheese did their very own "Land's End" right at midnight and the balloons dropped, everybody was in ecstasy. Thanks for reading and we'll see ya at the shows.
NEW ROCKTIME PHOTO!! (1/20/03)
STRING CHEESE INCIDENT COUNTING CROWS DEF LEPPARD CHER THE OTHER ONES AEROSMITH TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS PAUL McCARTNEY SANTANA SHERYL CROW TESLA JAY-Z AND 311 OZZFEST 2000 OZZFEST 2001 OZZFEST 2002 DAVID BOWIE AND MOBY AT AREA2 THE WHO JACKSON
PAPA ROACH, P.O.D.,CYPRESS HILL, & ROB ZOMBIE MORNING SPRING RAIN FESTIVAL JUNE 2002 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND MIDNIGHT OIL MT. AIRE 2002 BIG HEAD TODD CROSBY, STILLS, NASH AND YOUNG BUSH AND DEFAULT INCUBUS BLUES TRAVELER LINKIN PARK IN
BRYAN ADAMS AT THE FILLMORE LINKIN PARK & P.O.D. CROSBY, STILLS, AND NASH STRING CHEESE INCIDENT
FUEL & SALIVA AEROSMITH 2002 STEVIE NICKS THE
AEROSMITH 2001 BLINK 182 THE STRINGCHEESE INCIDENT OZZFEST 2001 BAD COMPANY LINKIN PARK OZZFEST 2000 MARILYN
MEGADETH TED NUGENT
NEW YEAR'S EVE 2000-2001
THIRD EYE BLINDSUMMER
YES THE FURTHUR FESTIVAL 2000 THE B.B. KING
THE STRING CHEESE INCIDENT JOE WALSH
CROSBY, STILLS, NASH, AND YOUNGREUNION TOUR 2000 NYE
WITH THE STRING CHEESE INCIDENT
MILLENIUM TOUR 2000
ZZ TOP & LYNYRD SKYNYRD TOM PETTY
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