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Published: 2001/07/13
by Matt Fleming

String Cheese Incident/Widespread Panic, Riverport Amp. St. Louis, MO, 7/7

Like Cheese with your Panic?

On one of summers' hottest days in Missouri, the stage was set for one of the summers' hottest shows. Billed by some as "The Widespread Incident", Saturday nights' show at Riverport Amphitheater in St. Louis was the second of two shows featuring both Widespread Panic and the String Cheese Incident.

The boys from Colorado began their 90 minute opening set around 6:30 with
the cheesy classic "Miss Brown's Teahouse". A few tunes later, fans of
traditional bluegrass were forced to shake their bones to a great rendition
of "The Hobo Song". Soon after, Cheeseheads were treated to the debut
performance of a new song from keyboard scientist Kyle Hollingsworth.
Tentatively titled "Searching For Answers", this new one was a fast-paced
smoker, and stood out as one of the afternoons' highlights. The stinkiest
cheese of the day came later, however, with the one two punch of fan favorite
"Smile" and the jam launch pad "Black and White" – which after a fierce jam
segued nicely into show closer "Restless Wind".

Panic filled the air around 8:30 with the eerie tones of "Bear's Gone
Fishin'". The first set rolled on without flaw, but didn't stir up any real
magic until a raging run of "Ride Me High" -> "Proving Ground" -> "Thought
Sausage" closed out the first set, leaving fans out of breath and thankful
for the intermission even after a relatively short first set.

Set two picked up where set one left off, destroying the sound barrier
with new rocker "Action Man" before pleasing the Georgia faithful with
Bloodkin's "Makes Sense to Me". A short while later, after a more than solid "Visiting
Day", it was time for the real fireworks to begin – time for the days' true
heat. Panic was joined by String Cheese's Kyle Hollingsworth on keys, Billy
Nershi on guitar, Michael Kang on mandolin, and Michael Travis on percussion – all of SCI except for bassist Keith Mosely. When the deafening roar of
applause finally died down, "The Widespread Incident" fell into The Meters'
classic "Ain't No Use". Even with ten musicians in the mix, the song passed
without hitch. Kang and Panic guitarist Michael Houser traded licks
effortlessly, while keyboardist JoJo Herman and Kyle Hollingsworth laid down
impenetrable layers of funk on both the clavinet and the keyboards. With all
this music coming at once, many in the audience didn't even notice Panic soul
man John Bell give Nershi his electric guitar mid-jam, exchanging Nershi's
pointless acoustic for a guitar with some balls. Nershi's small frame nearly
disappeared behind the large Washburn, but the exchange proved necessary as
his additions could finally be heard in the mix. Ten minutes in, the jamming
left "Ain't No Use" territory and entered some mellow, funk improvisation.
Everyone took turns trading solos and adding backing fills and licks until
about the 20-minute mark when both keyboardist left the stage. The
guitar-a-thon continued momentarily, but soon the stage cleared and "Drums"
began. The Incident's Michael Travis stayed out for all of "Drums"- at times
just throwing his hands up and shaking his head in disbelief at Panic's
percussion machine Domingo "Sonny" Ortiz. "Drums" was solid, and after a
bomb-filled solo from bassist Dave Schools, JoJo led the organ intro to
"Vacation". This relaxing fan favorite was played to perfection by all
parties involved, and gave way to a furious "Sleeping Man" that spotlighted
JoJo and his crazy fingers man-handling the clavinet. A screaming "All Time
Low" followed, serving as the set closer to this one of a kind second set.
An encore of Neil Young's "Last Dance" ended the show and the great weekend
of Panic with extra Cheese.

All of the great music aside, one of the coolest things about the event
was the interaction of both bands' hardcore fans before and after the show.
"Panic straight up melted the cheese tonight!" one Widespread fan said. " I
couldn't understand one word that JB character said the entire show." added a
Cheese-faithful. Though many were too stubborn to admit it, fans of both the
Cheese and the Panic enjoyed the entire night of music. When it comes down to
arguing which band is better, or which has the better fan base, or if Houser
is better than Kang – the boys said it best – there simply "Ain't No Use."

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