String Cheese Incident
July 4, 2001
Headwall at Mt. Werner: Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Source: SchoepsCMC641 >MP-2 > AD2K > DA-P1
Extracted using Track Theif on a Macintosh G4 and Shortened by [email protected]
02. High on a Mountain Top*
03. Big Sciota*
04. Hold What You've Got*
05. Born on the Wrong Planet
06. Little Hands >
07. Jam** >
08. MLT** >
09. Jam** >
10. Drums** >
12. Tom Thumb's Blues
01. Shakin' the Tree
02. Howard >
03. Sittin' On Top of the World
04. Let It Go
05. Rivertrance >
06. Star Spangled Banner jam >
Set 2 continued
01. Cheese Crew Thanks
02. This Must be the Place (naive melody) >
03. Jam >
04. Outside Inside
05. Shine > Jam*** >
06. I Know you Rider
** with Stephen Chopek and Chris Lovejoy on percussion and John Ellis on saxophone
(all from the Charlie Hunter Band)
*** w/Fire on the Mountain teases
the following passage is from John Barlow, lyricist for many of the Grateful
Dead songs that Bob Weir sang, and several of Brent Mydland's last
compositions. powerful stuff from one of the scene's elders, I hope it moves
you as much as it does me.
A STIRRING CHEEZE INCIDENT IN THE ROCKIES.
Since it's now dawn in Wyoming and I have to somehow pack for three
weeks on the road, drive 250 miles to Salt Lake, fly to San
Francisco, and prepare for this evening's festivities, I am forced to
be a good bit more brief that I would prefer in describing my
glorious Fourth of July.
It was a day when, along with eight or nine thousand of the sweetest,
most beautiful kids I've ever seen, I sang the un-singable "Star
Spangled Banner" and *meant it*!
This was no mere patriotic gesture, since, thanks to that
malapropriating corporate today in the Extremely White House, my
patriotism is at an all-time nadir.
No, I was inspired to lusty bellowing by an astonishing new Free
Association called The String Cheese Incident, who are, along with
their audience, Grateful Dead 2.0, and a improved release on both
sides of the proscenium, I'd say.
I'd been hearing of these guys for a few years, but, to be honest, I
haven't been much encouraged by any of the musical or social
phenomena that followed the death of the Dead in 1995. Everybody
seemed to be waiting for Garcia to turn back up. Which, of course, he
Much as I miss him personally, I wasn't sure this was entirely bad
thing either. By the time our long, strange trip finally black
petered out, there wasn't much left to admire in it. Just about
everybody, whether musician or audience member, seemed terminally
messed up on one form of self-indulgence or another. (Not that I was
As much as I admired the principles we'd all once stood for, it took
a lot of imagination to claim that any large number of us still stood
for much of anything besides money and intoxication. The Grateful
Dead organization itself had become like a Mafia village in some
remote Sicilian valley. Not since the Borgia Vatican had there been
such time-tangled intrigue. And most of the Deadheads seemed like a
Cargo Cult on bad acid. It wasn't that pretty.
So I didn't go Phishing. I tried to write for Ratdog, but, when I
heard what they'd done to my songs, Mom, I swore off that.
But then the Barlowettes, whose instincts are not to be ignored, came
back from Jackson Hole one night after having heard something called
The String Cheese Incident. They were so pumped that I wondered if
some genuine revival might not be taking place. Still, I had my
reservations. There's nothing more suspicious of joy than a
disappointed old hippie.
The next time they went to one of these concerts they came back with
a bootleg tape. As soon as they played it for me, they got my
complete attention. It seemed these guys could play anything. When
they jam - which is pretty much all they do - they toss the
goddamnedest fruit salad of musical genres you can imagine. Kinda
like Cole Porter doing Bluegrass for Tuvan throat singers. Or Led
Zeppelin meeting the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with Yo Yo Ma
conducting. Or something. Or somethings.
So, when the daughters asked me if I wanted to come along and camp
out with them - like the Deadhead I never quite got to be - for two
days in Steamboat Springs last week, I jumped on it. (Of course, I
would have jumped on it anyway. Any time your teenaged daughters want
to bring you along, you don't care if they're off to see Komodo
dragons fight to the death in pits of burning tar. You go. And I
Now I'm a completely converted Cheesehead, or whatever they call
themselves. (Since folks from Wisconsin also call themselves that, a
better name is doubtless called for. These kids resemble Packers fans
about as much as faeries resemble goblins. Indeed, I believe I don't
exaggerate when I say that the audience I saw in Colorado was the
most civilized group of young people I've ever been among.
They were gentle, tolerant, self-contained, joyous, and utterly
responsible without anyone telling them to be. Both the concert site
and the campground were entirely litter-free within an hour after
everyone cleared out. This just happened. There were no exhortations
from the stage, admonishing them to clean up. They didn't even tell
each other to do it.
They were also incredibly lovely to look at. Such an expanse of human
scenery I've hardly ever seen, not even in Paris, France, let alone
the central Rockies, where folks can look a little raw.
And the music... Zowie! If you aren't moved to dance by The String
Cheese Incident and the self-amplifying dervish transports of their
co-conspiring audience, there's just no dance in you.
But the Main Thing, the Real Deal, is the fact that this band and
their audience comprise the new cathedral where dwells that
mysterious Holy Creature that sometimes turned up in the space
between the Grateful Dead and the Deadheads. Furthermore, it's far
more crisply defined. These guys are tighter than God's wristwatch.
Everything just works.
While, as I say, I was in some ways Grateful when they were, the
death of the Dead also meant that my primary religion's central place
of worship simply vanished. I used to say that I had three altars in
this world: coral reefs, Grateful Dead concerts, and all that is
female. It was tough being reduced to two, numinous though they be.
And it's great being back up to all three again.
Also - and I hesitate to recount this - something marvelous happened
to me during the second set on the 4th. At a certain point, it seemed
that the spirit of a beautiful woman came into me and began to
operate my incongruous old heap of a body.
I'm tempted to say it was Cynthia's wraith, since she certainly
seemed to have those long, elegant hands and fingers, that slender
flow. I must have looked truly preposterous as she wove the air with
my blunt paws, but it didn't matter. I didn't care if I looked like
least suitable drag queen in San Francisco. I was delighted to lend
her my body. I wasn't dancing *with* someone. I was being danced.
Even if they couldn't create a zone where this sort of thing can
happen, I'd still be in awe of the art that blooms from these guys.
They seem to share a lot of my own instincts about how music really
works - economically, philosophically, and spiritually. They know
that if you give that gift to your best ability, without pride or
greed or vanity or proprietary arrogance, it will return itself to
you many times over. And every one of them has the kind of lucid eyes
that can seem to see forever... from either side of the cornea.
They've expressed an interest in getting together with me to see if
songs will grow between us. I can't wait to give it a try. I hope
very much to be worthy of the opportunity.
Ok. Enough. I don't want to induce diabetic coma in any of you. And
this is getting pretty saccharine, I admit. But do yourselves a
favor. Experience this magic before the world has had its usual ugly
way with it.
John Perry Barlow, Cognitive Dissident
Co-Founder & Vice Chairman, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Berkman Fellow, Harvard Law School