Full disclosure here, I’ve never really been a huge fan of String Cheese Incident. I saw them several years at the River Stages Festival, was underwhelmed, and have mostly avoided them since. So when I received a review copy of String Cheese Incident’s first entry into the Rhythm of the Road series, entitled Incident in Atlanta, I was hesitant to give it a go. Incident in Atlanta collects the entire show from one night of a historic 3 night run in 2000 at Atlanta’s Tabernacle. The show, recorded 11/17/00, is a fan favorite from a time that was considered by many to be String Cheese Incident’s strongest.
Deciding to give it a try, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Incident in Atlanta definitely showed me String Cheese Incident at their best and helped me understand why they have one of the most fervent fanbases on the jam scene.
The first draw for hardcore fans will be the sound quality. Incident in Atlanta has been fully remastered from the original 24-bit master tapes and have been offered both on cd and by download in MP3 format, FLAC format or, for the first time in SCI history, in 24-bit FLAC format. The sound is crystal clear and the mix is good on this album. I have the lowest quality MP3 recordings and I’m quite happy with it so I would imagine the super fans who want to shell out for the 24-bit FLAC are going to be in for a real treat.
As for the setlist, it’s a lengthy mix of originals, Bluegrass standards, and rock and pop covers. Highlights include a smoking rendition of “Orange Blossom Special” with Tony Furtado on banjo, Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On”, and Peter Gabriel’s “Shakin’ the Tree.”
Rhythm of the Road, Vol. 1: Incident in Atlanta is not likely to make a lot of new String Cheese Incident fans. Those who find them wanky will find plenty of fuel for their point here. Those who find them brilliant will find plenty of chops to make their own claim. But the Rhythm of the Road series is pretty obviously created as a gift to the people who just can’t get enough String Cheese Incident and this first offering Incident in Atlanta has a lot to offer for the String Cheese Incident fanatic. I’m looking forward to seeing what the folks from SCI Fidelity have in store for future volumes in the series and hope they continue to produce these high quality remasters of some of the most important shows in the band’s storied history.
Here is the complete setlist:
Set 1: “Smile,” “Joyful Sound,” “Orange Blossom Special,” “Barstool,” “Pygmy Pony,” “Missing Me,” “Ramble On”
Set 2: “Outside And Inside,” “Impressions,” “Glory Chords Jam,” “Midnight Moonlight,” “This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody),” “Miss Brown’s Teahouse,” “Wake Up,” “Black Clouds”