After headlining the first two nights of the High Sierra Music Festival, String Cheese Incident closed out the weekend with a pair of shows at Eugene, Oregon’s Cuthbert Amphitheater on July 7 and 8.
Beautiful, sunny skies greeted the colorful crowd on Saturday. Billy Nershi (guitar), Michael Kang (electric mandolin, fiddle), Keith Moseley (bass), Kyle Hollingsworth (keys), Michael Travis (drums) and Jason Hann (percussion) got themselves and the crowd warmed up with the instrumental “Dudley’s Kitchen” to open the show. From there, the band took their audience for their usual genre-defying ride. “Close Your Eyes” led into the quick-paced jamgrass stylings of “So Far From Home” before Moseley sang The Band’s “Ophelia.” “Freedom Jazz Dance” followed, and then Michael Travis got a turn at lead vocals on Paul Simon’s “Late In The Evening.” That song also featured guest percussionist Jarrod Kaplan, and led into a drum segment before the rest of the band joined back in to close the set with a huge “Just One Story”
Saturday’s second set featured several tasty segues and some big jams. The newest song played that night, “The Big Reveal,” proved to be a good jam vehicle and led into “Miss Brown’s Teahouse.” Later, “Jellyfish” included Little Feat’s “Willin’” in the expanded section before the last verse. “Jellyfish” then morphed into the spacious “Land’s End” which went through its own metamorphoses until it cohered into the ever-building “Colliding” from 2014 album Song In My Head to end the set. Bob Dylan’s “Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)” was played for the encore.
Sunday was another beautiful day in Eugene with high temperatures in the low 80s. West coast String Cheese fans were as friendly as ever, still blissed out from the night before and ready for another round. The night featured more special guests and choice covers. Guitarist Jeff Pevar of Jazz is Phish added his ample talents on “MLT” during the first set. “Water” segued into the hard-charging “Dirk” to end Sunday’s first set.
“Believe” was the chosen song to open up the final set of the weekend, and the west coast portion of Cheese’s summer tour. Again, the band crossed between genres. There was rock n’ roll with “Song In My Head,” Rocky Mountain Celtic trance with “Valley of the Jig,” and some slow-building rock balladry with “Hotel Window.” Dark Star Orchestra founding guitarist John Kadlecik came out for a run through Tom Petty’s “You Wreck Me.” Talking Heads’ song “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” was expanded into a jam that eventually led to the set-closing “Texas.” The String Cheese Incident didn’t waste any time during the encore break, returning immediately to the stage to squeeze in another song before their Sunday night curfew. The island rhythms and uplifting message of “Can’t Wait Another Day” brought the beautiful weekend of music to a close.
Cuthbert Amphitheater – Eugene, OR – 7/7/18
S1: Dudley’s Kitchen, Close Your Eyes > So Far From Home, Ophelia, Freedom Jazz Dance, Late in the Evening* > Drums* > Just One Story
S2: Sweet Spot, Big Reveal > Miss Browns Teahouse, Stay Through > Jellyfish > Willin’ > Jellyfish > Land’s End > Big Oregon Jam > Glory Chords > Colliding
E: Quinn the Eskimo
- = w/ Jarrod Kaplan on percussion
Cuthbert Amphitheater – Eugene, OR – 7/8/18
S1: Can’t Stop Now, Search > Could You Be Loved, Falling Through the Cracks, MLT*, Water > Dirk
S2: Believe, Song in My Head, Valley of the Jig, Hotel Window, You Wreck Me^, This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) > Heads Up Jam > Texas
E: Can’t Wait Another Day
* = w/ Jeff Pevar on guitar
^ = w/ John Kadlecik on guitar