Snubbed by James Brown? Maybe

— The dust has largely settled from the String Cheese shows over the Fourth of July. Much has been said about the concerts and its fans in Sound Off, in the Reader Forum at the Pilot & Today Web site and over the phone to reporters. Most of the latter can't be printed.

I've got no beef with String Cheese, the concert or the other stuff that went on. The city and the promoters can work that out without my help.

My concern is James Brown and how he dissed Steamboat Springs.

Maybe we asked for it. Steamboat did make a bit of mockery of the Godfather of Soul nine years ago by tagging some stupid bridge the "James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge." That, of course, became a big Steamboat controversy, something we are all used to. Not that Brown didn't stir the pot a little. He did come out here for the bridge dedication in what was little more than a publicity stunt for him. Surely Brown must have known the whole scene was a little ridiculous. So I'm pretty sure upon his return to perform here, Brown snubbed us, and the bridge had something to do with it.

Brown's performance on the Fourth of July was fantastic. He gave us everything he had. But then came the end of his set. When Brown stepped down off the stage, a fellow from his entourage came on stage and asked the crowd if they wanted James Brown to come back.

The crowd cheered. The guy kept egging us on.

"Do you want James Brown?"

We cheered again and again typical before-the-encore hype. The crowd was yelling and screaming for a while, but then we noticed the entourage guy was gone and the show was over. James Brown never came back out.

Maybe the crowd just wasn't cheering loud enough to justify Brown's return, but I doubt it. It was a big tease, no matter how you look at it. He sent a guy out there to get everyone excited, and then nothing happened. Reminds me of a date I had once. Was James Brown giving us the finger for the bridge thing? Who knows. Either way, his performance and then refusal to do an encore simply added to the small slice of Steamboat culture he owns.

I hope he comes back again. James Brown is still funky, and Steamboat could use a little funk.

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