he String Cheese Incident began their group in Colorado and it's no surprise they showed an immense amount of love to their Colorado cheeseheads with five shows as a part of their 2021 comeback tour. The band's first live show after Corona was at the Peach Festival on July 4th but these Colorado shows were the first Incidents curated by the band. They started their 5-night run at Dillon Amphitheater with two shows from July 13-14th and completed the Colorado cheese-fest with three nights at Red Rocks from July 16-18.
When a band has 5 shows in the same state, in the same week, you know that there must be a very special relationship between the band and their followers. And that is exactly the case. At a Colorado Incident it isn't uncommon to hear someone boast about attending 200 String Cheese shows or someone rave about the experience of seeing the group live. There is also an intense wave of happiness that is exchanged between the fans, almost as if there was one big joke that everyone was in on and laughing at.
This is an effect of the uplifting nature of the String Cheese's music and it seems to be infectious. It's hard to be upset at a Cheese show because having a smile and some dance moves at the ready seems to be a uniform at any Incident. The lighthearted lyrics and extended jams give people that special feeling of wonder.
The first song they played on their Friday night show at Red Rocks was Shine and the words "I can shine it all on" rang through that epic amphitheater until the positive vibrations were thick in the air. Bill Nershi marveled at the spectacle of seeing so many people together after being solitary for so long. The band continued with songs like Eye Know Why, Can't Stop Now, Manga and Restless Wind. The crowd couldn't get enough of the improvisational expertise of the band and the variety of sounds used. It is so typical for The String Cheese Incident to travel between country western melodies to spanish percussion to mandolin solos to electronic drops and back to a country western melody. The band's ability to shift musical gears so easily is what keeps most cheese heads coming back.
Their versatility can be understood by comparing their day and night sets at that first Red Rocks show. The first set was dominated by what I call their "happy tracks" which are those feel-good songs like Round The Wheel that have that psychedelic americana style. This is not to say that the band won't spend 15 minutes exploring one of these songs with a plethora of solos but the night brought out a completely different side of the band. As night fell, their improvisation became more exploratory and infused a lot of electronic elements, courtesy of Jason Hann who sat in with Billy and the Kids earlier that week for a Drums in Space session. As the band increases the tempo and all of the lights are flashing, the jam crescendos into an electronic symphony that resembles many dubstep artists but is also complemented by Nershi rhythms and Kang solos. When an Incident concludes, one can only revel in the many cheese realms they have traveled to and start planning their next trip. The String Cheese Incident continues their tour in Kentucky and Ohio.