We steer the set list

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Key points Free Summer Concert Series: Cracker 3:30 p.m. Saturday Headwall ski trail, at the base of Steamboat Ski Area Free

There's a reason Cracker is one of the best bands to see live. More than most bands, Cracker's shows are an interplay between the audience and the music.

The band never makes a set list, said Cracker guitar player and singer David Lowery. With each song, band members read the audience and decide which direction to take them.

"We did this show last week in Chicago, and afterward, I thought, 'Wow. We really pushed the energy level up from where we've ever taken it before,'" Lowery said. "The funny thing was, it was a really sloppy show. We hadn't played in three weeks, but it was great."

There are a few songs the band always plays -- Cracker classics such as "Low" and "Eurotrash Girl" -- but for every show, the group tries to pull out something it hasn't played in a while.

Cracker, in its two-person acoustic form, came through Steamboat in January for a show at Levelz, where it played late into the night and long after the contracted set was over. The band is coming back for the last show in this year's Free Summer Concert Series. The band comes to Colorado often because it is home to one of its biggest fan bases in the country.

"The Rocky Mountains have always been good for Cracker," Lowery said. "Radio stations play us, and not just the big hits. They go deep into our catalogue."

For curious Cracker fans, the group currently is in the studio working on another album due out next year. Its last record, "Countrysides," was released in 2003.

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