In all death there is rebirth, and following Joe Cahill’s (long time and beloved Fox Theater, Boulder Theater, and Leftover Salmon lighting designer) tragic death just a few short weeks ago I witnessed a community re-born, bound together after calamity. The Fox Theater held a benefit show in memoriam, where members of The Motet, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon and the String Cheese Incident ‘banded’ together to celebrate the life of a dear friend.
In a tragedy such as this, one realizes our faithful jam scene is much bigger than just the music. All those nights standing in line for desired tickets, the will-call line buzzing on a quest, an exploration of the senses…the last of our dollars spent for an entrance into adventure. All those moments chasing songs, seeking friends, standing belly up to the bar and being drowned in a sea of strings and soul and synth. It’s moments like these that define the quests of our lives... Joe’s benefit show reminded me that these simple moments bind us together, build us a home, and it’s for a greater purpose, it’s for our family. When Jans Ingber from the Motet sung Parliament Funkadelic’s “One Nation Under a Groove”, this feeling of community against tragedy was exemplified.
Outside the Fox Theater I heard someone say “I’m proud to be a part of this”. Walking back in to the venue with the added warmth of gratitude, I saw Andy Thorne from Leftover Salmon on stage thanking everyone for being a part of this special night with his inviting grin and grace…Jeff Austin from Yonder Mountain String Band looking sly and embracing the crowd in all his rabid fluidity…Michael Travis from String Cheese Incident in all his zany splendor.
When the rest of the artists came out for a “Higher Ground” super jam, the Fox was feeling full and vibrant, with the crowd collectively sharing their energy to heal the hole that was dug when Joe left this Earth. It was clear, with everyone’s tangible positive intentions, that we were there to celebrate Joe’s life, and he was certainly celebrated beautifully. “Spread this strength,” Jans Ingber shouted at the end of a vital and charismatic “Not Fade Away”… “Boulder is so strong” he reminded us before the crowd dissipated with open hearts.