The String Cheese Incident brought the East Coast leg of their summer tour to a very special close in Portsmouth, Virginia on Sunday night. After a graceful opening performance from Yonder Mountain String Band, SCI delivered a Sunday show for the ages with bluegrass as lush as the harborside lawn at the pristine Portsmouth Pavilion.
Spirits were high from the get-go when Cheese busted out “Restless Wind” to open a first set full of funky Cheese favorites. After “Sometimes A River” and the coveted “Born On The Wrong Planet”, the lucky crowd saw the tour debut of “Pigmy Pony”. The rest of the set was a wild affair with an aggressive “Stop Drop and Roll” followed by Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved” jammed into “Beautiful”.
To start the second set, SCI marched out on stage with Yonder Mountain String Band to a roaring audience that was overcome with excitement for the pickin’ party that was to ensue. They started out by paying tribute to Ricky Skaggs with “Think Of What You’ve Done” and then to the decided father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe, with “Big Mon”. Always a delicious sounding breakdown, “Blackberry Blossom” was a huge hit with the crowd as the young mandolin sensation Jake Jolliff went note for note with the wise master Michael Kang. The real highlight of the Yonder Mountain Cheese Incident was “Son of a Preacher Man”, lead by a jaw-dropping vocal performance from Yonder’s Allie Kral. After this the band played right up until the venue’s curfew with a huge “Rollover” sandwich that featured “Valley of the Jig”, “Sweet Spot”, “You’ve Got the World” and a breathtaking Nershi-led “Hotel Window” that finally flowed back into a triumphant reprise of Rollover.
Michael Kang thanked the Right Coast crowd for bringing their all to every show as The String Cheese Incident embarks westward to their home venue of Red Rocks for what is sure to be an epic three night run this upcoming weekend.
Setlist – Portsmouth Pavilion – Portsmouth, VA 7/10/16
Set One: Restless Wind, Sometimes A River, Born On The Wrong Planet, Pigmy Pony, Stop Drop Roll, Could You Be Loved > Beautiful
Set Two: Think Of What You’ve Done* > Big Mon*, Blackberry Blossom*, Son of a Preacher Man*, Rollover > Valley of the Jig, Sweet Spot, You’ve Got the World, Hotel Window > Rollover
(no encore; played till curfew)