The String Cheese Incident: A New Year’s Celebration 25 Years in the Making

By: Cy Fontenot

Night one of String Cheese Incident’s 25th Anniversary New Year Celebration at Broomfield, Colorado’s 1stBank Center was one for the books. World renown bluegrass rockstars Sam Bush and Darol Anger joined the stage for most of the first set, and it was bluegrass throwdown String Cheese-style. Bill Nershi was feelin’ it and everyone knew. They seemed to be experimenting with what people are calling the “Palindrome Set.” I’ll break it down:

In the first set they teased the palindrome idea with:

“Boo Boo’s Pikanic”

“Take the Money and Run”

“Salt Creek”

“Take the Money and Run”

“Boo Boo’s Pikanic”

Following this, Darol Anger became our collective stepdad as he, Sam Bush, and Michael Kang all whipped out their fiddles and baptized the crowd with the benevolent wisdom of the bluegrass gods. The crew went on to play:

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered”

“Sand Dollar”

“Revival”

“Colorado Bluebird Sky”

But then the second set was where things got trippy; lights and screens began to come alive and the Cheese got extra psychedelic as they entered back into a palindrome of sorts part two with:

“Close Your Eyes”

“Black Clouds”

“Jellyfish”

“Round the Wheel”

“Texas”

“Land’s End”

“Texas”

“Round the Wheel”

“Jellyfish”

“Black Clouds”

“Close Your Eyes”

The String Cheese Incident.

The String Cheese Incident.

This palindrome idea may seem cheesy, no pun intended, but it allowed a wonderful platform for String Cheese to do what they do best: improvise. The key to improvisation lies in the moment: that moment when the crowd is connected to the band, and they aren’t thinking, they’re just doing. It’s like everyone in the room is experiencing the moment together, through the music, sharing the feeling of life, love, joy and inspiration. It’s amazing when an artist can detach from the ego of being an artist and let the music be what it wants to be. This, among many reasons, is why String Cheese Incident have impacted so many lives, and why they have the beyond-dedicated following they have managed to acquire over the last 25 years. If we’re lucky, we’ll get another 25 years of String Cheese.

Check out String Cheese’s upcoming tour dates and latest releases here.

-Cy

All photos per the author. All videos and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.