Happy New year!!!! The String Cheese Incident has returned to the San Francisco bay area for this year's New Year's Eve celebration. This is gouda news, the drive home from Oregon the day after the big party was never fun for this California boy. Besides that, to ring in the new year in proper psychedelic fashion, it does seem that San Francisco is the place we ought to be. The Bill Graham Civic Center to boot, ahhh...the memories. I remember a night a while back when Jerry was rocking this place and the show wasn't even near sold out. A cold winter night and the miracle seekers were the only ones still outside. It t'was two nights before Christmas and all through the house the music was stirring, and the all outside the venue the deadheads were pleading. Suddenly, a few of my good friends that were stuck outside came running through the door along with a hundred or more of the "smilingest" people you've ever seen. Good old Bill Graham himself had walked out into the street and opened the doors of the San Francisco Civic Center (as it was called at the time) and invited every one in out of the cold for the rest of the show. Well, the times have changed folks. There was nigh not a ticket to be bought on this cold winter night, and nary a miracle ticket unless angels were sitting in your shoulder for all to see. Plan in advance for your NYE celebration kids and you might not find yourself where you want to be when the balloons drop.
The show was FAN-tastic and absolutely off the charts. I may find words to describe the musical events of the evening. But, words will fall short to truly convey the feeling of camaraderie, family, and overwhelming love that was omnipresent in the mood of the crowd. To set the stage for an event of this magnitude with the highest hopes for these kind of "good vibes" is no easy task. We must give thanks to all involved in the production of this event for making it a New Year's to remember. But, the "tried and true" thanks for this event has to go out to the faithful. If you came to this gig in the proper attire then you were truly the super heroes of the evening. The great and many unique costumes were the ultimate in psychedelic fun. This was the "Super heroes Costume Ball," and it went off in style. I think the super hero "theme" for the event was a great idea. When it became a reality, I think it was more of spectacle than anyone who planned this insane fun could have possibly envisioned. Kudos to the thinkers, the promoters, and the producers of this event. A very GRATEFUL thanks to the band and the thousands of brave super heroes... and we were heroes, just for one day.
I have to admit, this was the biggest event I have ever seen at this venue, even bigger than the ENIT festival. I was amazed when we drove by and saw the bright psychedelic light show on the front of the huge building. The show was completely sold out and I wasn't surprised as nationwide popularity of the String Cheese Incident has been increasing exponentially for the past couple of years. This is, in part, a residual effect of the breakup, or hiatus, of the band Phish leaving a giant hole to be filled. A mass audience of people, suddenly left with much time on their feet, and no place to dance. The migration was natural to all, just as it was for many who discovered SCI after the death of a much favored super hero, Jerry Garcia, and the eventual demise of the Grateful Dead. But, mostly because SCI is a phenomenal band and were already destined to play for mass audiences. Their strong love for the tradition of ever-changing ever flowing improvisational music performed in front of a live audience is what drives the band. The omnipotent transcendence of their music is what feeds the fans, a symbiotic relationship forged by the power of rock and roll.
The show was opened by Keller Williams and String Cheese Incident came on stage around 9:45 p.m. It was unreal, my face almost fell right off. They looked great, Bill Nershi was wearing a patriotic costume that was a mix of Captain America and Uncle Sam. Michael Kang was studding around the stage as "Mr. Love," no shirt on, great hat, perfect pink pants, and it looked like maybe he's been working out. Great original costume Mike, I think you can likely expect much female attention to come seek out "Mr. Love." Keith was "Hologram Man," wearing a full suit and hat made of reflective laser hologram material and was looking good and flashing rainbow holograms for all the world to see. They opened the show with another unexpected gem from the land of cover tunes. It was the beginning of a "Magic Carpet Ride," and if you like, "Come As You are." The second tune being slightly ironic as everyone was supposed to come as anything but who they are. It was incredible, plus or minus fifteen thousand freaks, and at least half or more were wearing super hero costumes. Audience participation to the fullest. It really made the night something more than special.
The parade wound through the crowd, dancers and neon glow lights. The balloons dropped at midnight, everybody kissed or toasted champagne and the Cheese went into "Round the Wheel" with Karl Denson on saxophone. Next, came the super surprise of the evening as Michael Kang struck the first chord of Rush's "Tom Sawyer" on his Les Paul and a queried look came on the face of everybody who wasn't a devout Rush fan. Me, I looked at my wife and said, "Tom Sawyer," they wouldn't do that with a slightly queried look on my face. The band let that moment hang in the air for a second or two, just eating up the expressions of the crowd and then let it go full force as Kang stepped to the microphone to deliver the opening lyrics, "A modern day warrior, mean mean stride..." It was awesome, not quite like Rush does it, but it sounded good. A nice rare treat since members of Rush are on a break for four years and should return to the studio and stage before the end of 2003. Michael Kang and I will be anxiously awaiting their return. The highlights of the show for me were the last jam of the first set during "Texas," and the first encore was a near endless "Freaker by the Speaker." Thanks for reading and we'll see ya at the shows.
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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