I know I am going to cause a little bit of controversy, and it might be because of the fact that I grew up in Colorado and I am a little biased, but I do not care. I will say it, and you might disagree and want to try to convince me otherwise, but it will take a lot of convincing to get me to change my mind.
Red Rocks is the best amphitheater in the world!
You cannot find a better place to go see a concert with you and 9,000 of your closest friends. It is always an amazing experience from the views to the perfect sound. It is a place of my youth, as I eagerly waited for the March newspaper insert that told me which bands would be coming here over the summer. My friends and I would try to plan out which ones we would see and how we would get tickets for each of the shows before they sold out. I remember sitting in lines early in the morning to beat out the scalpers as I vied for those seats that everyone coveted. I even went up during the middle of winter to take pictures of the huge rocks blanketed in snow that I could do a report on this iconic structure for a social studies project. I have seen some amazing acts at this location including: the Black Keys, Radiohead, Live, P.J. Harvey, Rage against the Machine, Beck, the Grateful Dead, Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Indigo Girls, Steve Miller Band, Tom Petty, the Black Crowes, Ben Harper, and Jack Johnson. Summer wasn’t complete until I made it to a concert at Red Rocks.
Some people might argue that other locations are better to see a band at, and I would disagree with them. Red Rocks is the mecca for every musician. They know they have made it when they get to perform on this stage, and they will make the most of the opportunity. If you are having a hard time believing this, all you have to do is look at the bands who have either recorder a live CD at this location, or have filmed a music video here and you will know that it holds a special place in all of their hearts. The list is extensive with names like: Moody Blues, O.A.R., Dave Matthews Band, Mumford and Sons, John Denver, and of course U2 with their concert album that turned them into a top tiered band, Under a Blood Red Sky. I do not think that there is any other place on the planet that can boast that kind of pedigree, and artists will continue to record here.
The place has to be just as great for them as it is for the people that come and see them. The stage sits at the bottom of the seats which are hugged by two huge stones protruding from the earth. I went to go see Death Cab for Cutie and Benjamin Gibbard, the lead singer, put it best when he said, “It looks like an invading horde, except a lot nicer.” Even though this is not one of the biggest venues in the world, it still has to be powerful to see that many people staring down at you, shouting and dancing to the music that you are playing.
The best part is that the bottom rows are general admissions, and as long as you are one of the first people into the amphitheater then you will get an amazing seat for the show. Even if you are not there early and have to sit in the back, you still will have a great seat. You might not be able to see as well, but the two rocks create the perfect acoustics for any band playing, so the music sounds amazing no matter where you sit. But it you don’t mind a side view, each side has these little ledges that you can sit on underneath the pine trees that they planted to give the place more of a feeling like you are in the mountains to see a concert.
Also, if you get there early enough, you get to catch the opening act. Sometimes it is somebody that you know and you are excited about them getting their big break, but also it sometimes it is somebody that you only have a passing knowledge of. These bands sometimes are the biggest surprise. I got to see Rolling Stone‘s latest up and coming darling, Mitski. I did a little research about her before I saw her on YouTube, and I wasn’t quite sure if it was something that I was going to enjoy. But watching her live, the understanding of what she was about came to life. It was a little bizarre as she did a ballet dance with a kitchen table and chair, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of the performance, and I could see how she will one day become a name that more people talk about.
It was a great experience to finally make it out for a show this summer. I always try to catch one every summer, but the bands that are playing while I am out in Colorado are rarely something I want to see. This is why I was glad that this lineup was there this year. As the night progressed and the lights highlighted the rocks I have grown to love, I was happy to once again be back at the greatest concert venue of all time.