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Welcome back to another edition of Boots On The Ground! In part 1 of this 2-part series I shared my experiences in and around the Denver area, focusing mainly on Coors Field, beer, food and beer. Today I wanted to show you the primary reason I visited the Denver area a few weeks ago.
I went to Red Rocks!
I suggest enlarging each of these photos if you have a chance. I took about 200 photos and these made the cut.
It’s a pictorial!
I first became aware of the Red Rocks Amphitheater, located in Morrison Colorado and just a 20 dollar Uber ride from downtown, back in the early 80’s. MTV aired a live concert of U2 at Red Rocks.
Sorry for the crappy quality. I didn’t upload it.
I was absolutely blown away by the visuals of the amphitheater. I had never seen anything quite like it. It was then that I vowed to myself that one day I would see a live show there.
This is the story of that day.
I’m a serious musicphile and attend multiple concerts per year. Hell, I saw a show the week after seeing the one I’m going to tell you about. Whenever I attend a large musical gathering I always start to wonder, am I getting too old to do this? The answer is always an emphatic “FUCK NO!” I plan on attending live shows until they scrape my sodden remains off of the dance floor.
Fun fact! The first live concert I ever attended was in 1977 and I’ve been going ever since. While I am primarily metal-centric I do attend multiple genres of concerts. I’ve partied with Snoop Dog! I won’t get into the extensive list of bands but I will say I’ve seen a LOT of bands. A LOT!
While planning my trip to Denver I checked the web site for Red Rocks and accessed their calendar of events. Red Rocks hosts every musical genre you can imagine so I had quite the choice of acts to peruse. The weekend before the show I attended was “Reggae at the Rocks” weekend which sounded like a bunch of fun. Then I saw a date listing…
Sold and fucking sold!
I’ve actually seen Talking Heads live 3 times back in the early 80’s. Familiar with the movie “Stop Making Sense?” I saw the exact tour the night before they filmed most of it. All three times the band was fucking fantastic. Each performance qualified as one of the best shows I’ve ever seen and having never seen David Byrne tour solo it was time to do just that.
Best part about the schedule was the Colorado Rockies were in town the weekend before and I was able to go to 2 games. See part 1 of this series. The show I attended was the Monday night after the weekend series.
We’ve got a few things to show and enlighten you with so let’s do just that.
As mentioned I took an Uber ride from my room in LoDo out to the venue. It was about 20 bucks each way. The driver took me as far as regular vehicles were allowed and dropped me off “near” the entrance.
The visuals were already incredible.
Here is the most important tip I can give you about attending a show at Red Rocks in photo form.
Do me a favor and enlarge that photo a few times. Notice that line of brightly colored “ants” ascending the side of that goddamn mountain?
Yep. That’s the walk in. NOBODY told me that in order to attend a show here you had to CLIMB THE GODDAMN ROCKIES BY STAIRCASE!
Take another look.
I exercise daily including walking for fitness every other day but I do that shit at sea level. This was a fucking climb at serious elevation. There were people doubled over gasping for breath all the way to the top. I only stopped the one time but still. You can do it!
File this away for future reference folks.
When you reach the entrance, after you down your first beer of course, you ain’t done climbin’ yet.
The visuals around this place are amazing.
What’s great is as you walk into the theater you are at stage level so you can get a real nice look at the stage before climbing to your seat.
I was in row 35. As I reached my seat I got my first view of one of the more familiar visuals here. The Rocks.
The lighting changes the coloring of the rock pile dramatically as the evening progresses. You’ll see.
One thing to take note of is the amount of space between the rows. There is plenty of room to walk down the rows without disturbing the folks in your row. It’s extremely well laid out. As I sat down they were posting public service messages on the big screen. Enlarge this for entertainment.
Sure. Everyone made sure to pay attention to the rules and NOT fire up a joint or 2 or 20,000. I can pretty much promise you a contact high if you’re not partaking. I had a tasty edible on the way in that I consumed while I climbed the stairs to the venue. If you don’t have any smokeables the entire audience is happy to share.
As I was waiting for the show to start, I looked around and began to wonder how difficult it was going to be to get a beer and eliminate said beer. Then I looked at the end of my row just a few yards away.
That little building you see is a BEER STAND! IN MY ROW! The photo was taken while I was sitting in my designated seat. Holy shit this place fucking RULES! Not to mention that there are wandering beer vendors who will gladly bring a beverage to your seat.
They thought of everything!
As “effects” were settling in I again took notice of the surroundings. You can’t help but be amazed by how fucking gorgeous this place is.
The sun was beginning to set and the atmosphere was definitely changing.
There was an opening act called IBEYI. They are twin sisters of Cuban and French origin. I hadn’t heard of them but apparently they were in Beyonce’s “Lemonade” video. Which kind of explains why I hadn’t heard of them.
They were really solid. Cool stuff. The twins joined David Byrne and the entire band for the final encore of the night later in the show.
After a bit the sun had set and it was about show time.
Just before David Byrne took the stage, there was a murmering throughout the crowd that grew louder and louder and turned into a pre-concert roar.
Holy fuck are you shitting me? That’s a full moon rising right as the band took the stage. If I was still in my acid head stage I might have been content to just die right here on the goddamn spot!
A full fucking moon too?
The band took the stage.
You know? I had some pretty cool concert photos of the performance but I’m going to keep those and the memories for myself.
It was easily one of the best shows I had seen maybe ever. The setlist was just nuts. He played sooo damn many Talking Heads songs. There were about 10 other musicians on stage and at one time EVERYONE was playing drums.
I do have a good shot of what my brain was seeing during the show.
THAT! That’s exactly what my brain saw.
At the conclusion of the show I had to take one last photo of the Rocks.
And the exodus began in earnest.
Bring a little patience as you exit the venue. The good news is you are walking DOWN hill this time but it is a pretty good hoof to the Uber/Lyft pick up spot. If you take the time, use the restroom and be prepared for a little wait you’ll be fine. Of course it’s going to be a little “cluster fuckery” since there’s only one road in and out. It took maybe 40 minutes for my ride to work through the traffic but I had no issues with that. I was feeling quite amazing at the time.
Final Uber ride back to the hotel and there I was.
This didn’t just meet my expectations of what I wanted this experience to be: It blew them right the fuck away.
I was talking to some of my “seat buddies” around me before the show and I told them that I wasn’t a religious person but this place felt spiritual. It was powerful as fuck.
This is Sacred Ground.
I WILL be going back and right damn soon.
If you are a fan of live music or even if you’re not this destination needs to be immediately placed on your “Must DO!” List.
Go. See. Listen. Live.