My First incident was an accident – well that is the wrong word… but it wasn’t intentional! I had drove up to the Kaiser, like so many ties before, for a Grateful Dead flavored New Year holiday. I was excited to see Ratdog in combo with Planet Drum.
Drove up with a good friend, had a great room nearby in Oakland, got to town early enough to chill, shower. Later on, while giving out stickers in the park, I met Mark Karan, and that made my day – that he was cruising the shakedown, and that he wanted one of my stickers.
We went in just as String Cheese was doing the opening set, and it was what I expected. I had heard them before on Barry Smolin’s “The Music Never Stopped” show, and thought of them as bluegrass-mountain-rock – and I wasn’t too excited for them. In fact i had turned down one or two chances to see them in the past, so they were not a pull for me. The acoustic set sounded like what i expected (or I fit it to my expectations!) I liked it and had fun, but didn’t plan on staying for their late night set. That was me – others were blown away – the halls were a chatter with “wow, those string cheese guys! I can’t wait for set two!”
I always enjoy Hot Tuna. I missed most of KVHW< because they played in another room in the Kaiser, and I didn’t find it at the right time. I think I was having fun talking to people. And then I made sure I was right up from, “Jerry” side for Ratdog. In the words of the Commander, it got really
molecular for me, in the best of ways. Whatever people say about Ratdog of that period, it worked for me… And it was the first ever “Bury Me Standing” – which at the time I totally thought was about me, (if you know what I mean).
During the set, despite my state, I kept noticing this cute girl dancing on the riser behind me, even smiling at me. In the break between ‘dog and Planet Drum, I got the nerve to talk with her. In the decade since, Tina became one of my best friends, and is the one who nicknamed me happycat! – though that is another story.
Planet Drum rocked it – made me dance and shake everything like crazy – and Carlos Santana joined in – and I remember that it was amazing. An All Star Jam to celebrate the New Year – my memory was that it was grate fun too, but lost focus, too many musicians. I can’t find either of these sets online, I would like another listen.
And then… String Cheese Incident’s second set, a late night exploration. I know many people who claim this as their first Incident. We twirled and danced on the second level of the Kaiser, me and my travel companion Apryl, our friends Emily and Karen and Steve and… and all the others (in fact somehow 20 people crashed in my room that night!) It seemed they played for hours, we were all blown away byt the open heartedness of the sound, and of course found its swirly jams very fun to spin too. We would sit for long times too lost in spacey places, and then we’d be dancing again.
The awakening of our inner cheese, our virginal Incident. String Cheese was the star of the night, and I know many people who got on THAT bus at that stop. I’ve seen many Incidents since then, from small shows at House of Blues, afternoon sets at High Sierra Music Festival, Summer Sessions with Phil Lesh and Firneds, Hulaweens and Sea of Dreams and Hornings Hideout, to the largeness at Rothbury. And I always meet really nice people, and have a great time dancing. The music lifts the heart, honors the spirit and soothes the soul. And it’s made with love.
I really enjoyed last night’s show, 7/23/2010 at Red Rocks, and I am glad they are back. I know some people wish they would tour, and maybe next year they will. For now, Iam grateful they are playing, and even though i couldn’t make it to Red Rocks, I can enjoy it as it happens! Thanks SCI and iClips for doing this broadcast series!
Here are some sets from 12/31/1998 – Ratdog, String Cheese, and KVHW. Enjoy!
This is a treat for me, as I missed this set entirely that night!