String Cheese Incident at The Capitol Theater- Port Chester, NY

SCI nye cranes

Last show of 2017. Show number 113! String Cheese at the Cap. My first time seeing Cheese for new year’s eve and my first time seeing them at the Cap. The crew was Coyote, Will, and Cait. They had all been seeing this run while I was at Phish and now the grand end of the year/ start of the year was coming together. Sadly, the Blue One, AKA the Rainbow Fish, and her ever-present chum decided against the drive from Michigan last minute so it was just the four of us. Happy new year Rainbow Fish. You’re bluetiful!

We arrived early to catch up with friends and family; some were expected and some were surprises. Just as we walked in, news reached us that Phish was distributing light up wristbands. I had heard about other bands using them to make a synchronized light show from the stands before. The first mention was Coldplay. The cost has come down on the tech and it is still new to many. Essentially, your wristband will glow and flash different colors based on where you are in the venue. This is all controlled by the light crew and it does add a nice effect and makes you feel like part of the show. I mention this because after our tickets were scanned, we were fitted with similar wristbands.

SCI playbill nye 17

An usher handed us our “Cheesebill” with info on the evening, their intention and some summer dates (Red Rocks is on)! Each cheesebill came with a sheet of origami paper and in the middle page was a guide for making your own paper crane.

“The origami crane is a symbol of hope and healing during challenging times. We ask that you make your own crane, write a message of hope and healing, and pass it along to a stranger.”

Many tried, a few succeeded, and others resorted to paper airplanes. Little did we know just how deep SCI would roll with the crane theme.

All was going swimmingly. We ebbed and flowed around the floor starting close to the rail then moving further back for room to dance. I caught myself looking at my watch in a futile attempt to estimate the run time of the show and the set breaks. Each time I looked, I reminded myself that this is it. This is the last show of the year. Jane was at MSG (another last-minute decision) but she was dancing too and it was her first Phish NYE. Kinetic was at MSG with a huge crew. Sparkles was in Michigan, her happy place. My family was scattered around the globe and some have already celebrated based on their time zone. My friends here were dancing and smiling. I wanted to be with everyone.

New year’s eve is one time when most of the world is connected through an arbitrary event. Since 45 B.C. the new year was celebrated on January first. It took a Ceasar to make it happen and an empire to enforce but it took hold and now we can rejoice together. I’m avoiding anything too squishy, hippie, or pseudo-spiritual but will say this. After an intense and confusing year on many levels for people all over the world, it was nice to reflect on the fact that we’re all just people doing our best.

On to the show! I recognize a bunch more songs now and they played some that I knew of but hadn’t heard. SCI always manages to balance a number of styles. They’ve come a long way from being a small bluegrass band. We got a great sample of their style including country, bluegrass, jams, covers, and Coyote’s favorite… “THEY BROUGHT THE LEPRECHAUNS!!!” The full set is listed below. The jam leading into and through midnight brought a video and light show that was… crane themed! Transformation, growth, change and hope all resonated as a giant radio-controlled crane flew over the crowd. Now the woman from the video was on stage and flying above the crowd as people passed through the crowd with cranes spinning on huge mobiles. A dozen smaller cranes dropped and rose above the apron in sync with the music and our light up wristbands. What was that about feeling connected? Dancing, hugging, and “happy new year!” filled the air.


2nd set #sci #52showsayear

A post shared by Aaron Mandelbaum (@aaronmstagram) on

The show ended after the Phish show and we caught up with friends at a diner nearby to start the year on a full tank. I was in bed just before 5 am and reflected on the night and the year. Countless new friends, bands, venues, experiences, loves, and learning opportunities. In the morning i caught up on the spectacle that was the Phish show and checked the setlist. I can always hear another Carini but otherwise, I was glad I did something different this year. No FOMO, no doubts, no regrets, and no stopping in 2018

Set 1:

Can’t Wait Another Day
Black and White
Betray the Dark
Purple Strains
Joyful Sound(>)

Set 2:

Close Your Eyes
Until The Music’s Over
Restless Wind

Set 3:

Brad Heavenly Jam(>)
Won’t Get Fooled Again
(The Who cover)
Tinder Box
One Step Closer


Valley of the Jig

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