Rhythm of the Road, Vol. 1: Incident in Atlanta, 11.17.00
The String Cheese Incident inaugurate a new series of archival live releases with the three-CD set Rhythm of the Road, Vol. 1: Incident in Atlanta -- 11.17.00, released ten years after the concert it chronicles. The group is its usual self, beginning from a bluegrass platform and building lengthy arrangements influenced by classic rock. The String Cheese Incident are the quintessential jam band in a performance such as this, in the sense that the songs get stretched out without apparent extra effort, just flowing along past the ten, 15, and even 20-minute marks. Sometimes, the band leans toward jazz territory, especially jazz fusion, as in the instrumentals "Pygmy Pony" and "Impressions," but most often there is the leisurely virtuoso feel of the Allman Brothers Band, an influence accentuated by the venue and apparent even before "Missin' Me" begins to feature riffs from the Allmans' "Jessica." That's only one of several references to other bands, the more overt ones including the covers of Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On," Talking Heads' "This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)," and Peter Gabriel's "Shakin' the Tree." Unlike Zeppelin or the Allmans, however, the String Cheese Incident never betray blues roots; they are more out of Bill Monroe than Muddy Waters. That impression is emphasized by the frequent presence of guest banjo player and guitarist Tony Furtado, who first sits in on "Orange Blossom Special" in the first set (disc one) and then returns in the second set for some extended bluegrass work. Played before a typically enthusiastic audience, the show is definitely a keeper and makes a good sendoff into live reissue releases for a popular jam band that is not performing regularly anymore.