The String Cheese Incident

On the Road: 04-23-02 Pompano Beach, FL

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As another installment in the On the Road series by Boulder, CO's String Cheese Incident, the Pompano Beach show followed two days after a particular high point in Atlanta. In some ways, it's impossible to pull these various releases apart: The bandmembers were obviously psyched for this tour in that they were recording it for release, but more than that, the diversity and sophistication of their own material clearly shines on this set of recordings more than it has on anything they've issued to date. As on the other recordings in this series, the music is unedited or remixed; what plays through your speakers is exactly what transpired that night. This evening opens with "Black Clouds," a country-cum-space jam rocker with a beautiful keyboard solo courtesy of Kyle Hollingsworth that is reminiscent of Chick Corea's on "500 Miles High" in places. The rhythmic twists here are astonishing in their seamless subtlety. Just as easily they crank into the Caribbean zone with "Rhum 'n' Zouc," a showcase for Michael Kang's swinging violin minstrelry. The first disc closes five tracks later with a seriously jazzed-up funk reading of Jimi Hendrix's "Crosstown Traffic." And while the vocals leave something to be desired, the playing does real justice to the original. Disc two concentrates on the longer, jam-oriented numbers. It opens with Bill Nershi's awesome reggae romp "Shanty Town," before seguing into a truly moving and inspiring cover of Peter Gabriel and Youssou N'Dour's "Shaking the Tree." From here they move into a newgrass runthough of the old nugget "Rollin' in My Sweet Baby's Arms," before taking it out with an over and under funky, laid-back burn of bassist Keith Moseley's "My Way." The final disc opens with a killer surprise: an absolutely stunning version of jazz trumpeter Kenny Dorham's "Blue Bossa." With Nershi taking the horn parts and percussionist Michael Travis gauging the band's pace and then moving it through the envelope into the body of the rhythms, it's a stellar read. There are versions of some of SCI's more well-known jam tunes as well, like "Jellyfish" and "Nova," before they return to where they started with "Black Clouds" and finally move off into Hollingsworth's "Latinissimo" and close with "Search," which simmers long after the final note has been played. In all, another fantastic show in what seems to be the establishment of a reputation for SCI as the nation's finest live band.

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