String Cheese Incident Tour Journal: Philadelphia, PA (11/08/2014)
It was raining autumn leaves on the drive from Brooklyn to Philadelphia. Swooshing through the shades of orange on a cold, windy day is a reminder that winter is coming. These patchwork roads will be sleek with ice in no time; must get the travel bug out now.
Arriving in a new city with little to do until show time, I walked around South Street. I stumbled upon Repo Records and fielded a suggestion to hit up Jim’s for a cheesesteak. It isn’t tough to convince me to pursue something like the above-pictured monstrosity, and this was certainly the best cheesesteak I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying.
But on this day, the city of brotherly love had more cheese to offer. The String Cheese Incident’s anticipated return to the Tower Theater ushered in fans from all over the northeast, many of which are already on tour with ecstatic reviews of the Washington DC / Connecticut Incidents.
The crowd slowly trickled in, finding their place amongst the venue and engaging in pleasantries with friends from far and wide. String Cheese came out with “Song In My Head,” a staple from the era of the album with the same name. The tune has been played as much as any in the past few years, but jamming in to “Rhum ‘n’ Zouc” would provide an early treat to the fans who’ve been chasing it.
The first “Eye Know Why” of the year followed up, creating a trend of bust-outs that would leave most fans enthralled by the end of the show. “Doin’ My Time” allowed Billy Nershi to get some acoustic guitar soloing in while bassist Keith Moseley sang long and strong throughout the bluegrass number.
A “Black Market” bust out was up next, marking the first time the song has been played since July 14th, 2012, and just the second time it’s been played since 2007. Kyle Hollingsworth charged it up with funky key licks before Michael Kang shredded the back end of the jam. The song segued in to “On The Road,” a relatively standard Cheese tune that got a major facelift on this night.
The acclaimed “2001” jam made an appearance during “OTR,” causing an ecstatic frenzy out of the crowd. The space ship had landed in Philly, and String Cheese was taking us on a galactic journey inside that Tower Theater. An untraditional “Rosie” set-closer rounded out a heated first set, and set the bar high for set 2.
It seems that not every show gets a “Black & White.”
Second set began with the Keith-tune “Sweet Spot.” Regarded as one of the favorite new tunes by fans, the singalong has been getting the jam treatment on this tour, and last night marked another sweet “Sweet Spot.”
Kang can’t quite get the words right for “Just One Story,” the following song, but I’m not so sure anyone expects him to anymore. Jamming in to “Sand Dollar” slightly made up for it, but the back-to-back “Love Is Like A Train” and then “Emma’s Dream” were really nice. “Emma’s” would be the bust-out of the night, having gone since December 8th 2011 without any stage time.
Transitioning in to “Can’t Wait Another Day” wasn’t shocking, but the upbeat Hollingsworth number is always one to get the crowd moving and singing. The psychedelic”Bollymunster” chased in to the “Just One Story” reprise before ending the show. With bust-outs, songs that could be considered over-played, incredible moments and some sloppy jams, it was a roller-coaster of a second set.
A “Ramble On” encore was a great time, reminding the traveling crowd that Saturday will be a day on the road, and a night in Sayreville, NJ.
City Hall post-show
11/07/2014 TOWER THEATER, PHILADELPHIA, PASet OneSong In My Head > Rhum N Zouc, Eye Know Why, Doin’ My Time, Black Market > On The Road, RosieSet TwoSweet Spot, Just One Story > Sand Dollar, Love Is Like A Train, Emma’s Dream > Can’t Wait Another Day, BollyMunster > Just One StoryEncoreRamble On