String Cheese Incident Goes Classic at Camp Zoe
The once traveling Big Summer Classic returned as a destination event held Salem, MOs Camp Zoe from August 3-5. In addition to the String Cheese Incident, who anchored the festival in its original incarnation in 2005, Big Summer Classic 2007 boasted performances by festival veteran Yonder Mountain String Band, The Roots, Los Lobos, The Greyboy Allstars, The Wailers, Infected Mushroom, The Del McCoury Band, JJ Grey & MOFRO, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Vusi Mahlasela, Bassnectar, David Lindley, Drew Emmitt Band, Buckwheat Zydeco, Chris Berry & Panjea, Relix recording artist Jonah Smith, String Cheese offshoot EOTO and The Schwag, a group which has hosted numerous festivals at Camp Zoe over the years.
Despite the heat, which hovered around 95 degrees, String Cheese Incident delivered three inspired performances and brought out a number of guests each night. On Friday the String Cheese Incident invited out the Del McCoury band for three bluegrass numbers at the end of its set: the traditional Rollin’ In My Sweet Baby’s Arms, Hobo Jack Atkins Another Night (which String Cheese had not played since 2005) and Bill Monroes Wheel Hoss. The hospitable hosts also welcomed a handful of guests during its sets on Saturday. First, Los Lobos saxophonist Steve Berlin appeared on Kyle Hollingsworths Lost, immediately before Los Lobos guitarists David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas appeared on String Cheese Incidents first stab at Neil Youngs Down by the River since 2000 (the Los Lobos duo jammed with SCI on the tune on February 18,2000). The cover choice can also be interpreted as a nod to the river which runs through the scenic Camp Zoe site. Finally, at the end of the groups third set, Panjea leader Chris Berry, who is featured in both the current issues of Relix and Global Rhythm, played percussion on San Jose.
On the final night of the Big Summer Classic, String Cheese Incident performed with both one of its forefathers, Leftover Salmons Drew Emmitt, and its heir apparent, Yonder Mountain String Band. Emmitt played on the groups second take on Led Zeppelins When the Levee Breaks, a number that has been dormant since 2005. The mandolinist remained onstage for another rare cover, John Hartfords Steampowered Aeroplane, which featured all of Yonder Mountain String Band. Later, String Cheese Incident closed the evening with a version of Sittin’ On Top Of The World.A number of other collaborations also transpired throughout the weekend. During Yonder Mountain String Bands set Bill Nershi played on a version of Grade Sharp Curves, while Emmit appeared on both Talking Heads Girlfriend Is Better and the traditional Raleigh & Spencer. Likewise, Michael Kang invited String Cheese Incident percussionist Jason Hann to perform with his evolving project Panjea. String Cheese Incident will open its final run of dates with Nershi this Thursday at Morrison, COs Red Rocks.