BIG Collaborations Continue
The BIG Summer Classic continues to offer nightly interplay between its traveling performers. Friday and Saturday night the traveling circus rolled through Schaumburg, ILs Gameworks for two daylong events. Festival headliners the String Cheese Incident opened its set Friday with a segue from Keller Williams performance based around Fuel for the Road. Later, Spearhead emerged sans-Cheese during the groups encore for a version of Love Invincible which segued into a jam featuring both bands as well as New Monsoon keyboardist Phil Ferlino and guitarist Jeff Miller. A guest-laden version of the Grateful Deads Franklins Tower featuring the New Monsoon-duo and Spearhead closed out String Cheese Incidents performance. Spearhead saxophonist Carl Young returned a night later enhancing a version of Miss Browns Teahouse. Umphreys McGee revisited Spearheads trick taking over for String Cheese at the start of the groups encore for Bridgeless. Throughout the two-song encore, which also included Michael Jacksons Billie Jean, the headlining band gradually filtered back onto the stage. Earlier Friday afternoon, Umphreys onstage guests included a pair of acrobats on 2×2 and Michael Travis on Space Funk Booty and Dave Stewart.
A handful of BIG Summer Classic performers also appeared with Umphreys McGee during its set Saturday night. Michael Kang joined first on a jam leading out of The Triple Wide which gradually faded into a jam also featuring Keller Williams on guitar and vocals and Jeff Austin on mandolin. The newly befriended performers also stayed on for a version of Black Water. Earlier in the day, Austin appeared with New Monsoon on EnFuego. Williams also augmented New Monsoon during Eminence Front, while Michael Franti appeared on Southern Dew and a cover of Wars Cisco Kid.
Sunday evening the BIG Summer Classic continued onto Indianapolis, INs White River State Park. New Monsoon opened the days festivities by inviting String Cheese Incidents Bill Nershi and Keith Moseley out for Two Nineteen and their bandmates Michael Travis and Jason Hann onstage for Country Interlude. Members of Spearhead also sat in for the alliterative Bongo Bono, while Keller Williams continued his tour-long trend of interlocking sets by bringing Austin onstage for Dupree’s Diamond Blues. Austins bandmate Ben Kaufmann then emerged for Crater which transitioned into Yonder Mountains set-opening version of the Robot Jam.
String Cheese Incidents guest-laden set Sunday was cut-short after running past curfew but did feature a number of appearances. First, all of Yonder Mountain String Band emerged for Whiskey Before Breakfast and Doin’ My Time. Michael Franti appeared next adding vocals to Jellyfish. Most of Big Summer Classics performances, including Keller Williams, New Monsoon and Yonder Mountain, returned to the stage for Celebrate Your Youth before the shows power was shut off. The BIG Summer Classic continues tomorrow in Toronto with Xavier Rudd also joining the bill.