Going out west is beautiful. Mind the twenty four hour drive from Virginia to Colorado, the vast expanse that is Kansas. The endless dreary road towards the Rockies to reach Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado, is enough to make any music lover forget the reason he started the journey in the first place. The sacred Native America site which is now home to one of the world’s greatest music venues has become a Mecca for avid concertgoers and music lovers alike. Widespread Panic has sold out 48 shows at Red Rocks, which holds the venues record for number of sold-out performances.
From the parking lot it is about a three mile walk to the top of the mountain on which the amphitheater rests. Climbing up the side of a mountain is even more difficult when you are out of breath from lack of oxygen. Reaching the top to find your seat, you can see the vast expanse of Denver and the Great Divide. There is nothing like experiencing a concert on top of the world, surrounded by megalithic rocks and an ancient Native spirit that still lingers all around. Three nights surrounded by love and music is all one needs to cleanse the soul from the journey there and prepare for the journey back. Widespread Panic brings fans from across the country, the aptly named song “Pilgrims” says it best “If it feels good we shake.”
With bust-out performances of Talking Heads classics,” Papa Legba,” “Life During Wartime,” “City of Dreams,” A triple, “Header,” Panic played to the audiences requests and desires and left them craving more. Good thing there was three more nights.
After three days and nights of Denver and the Rockies you can become entranced by the openness and clear headed state of mind. The west brings with it a spirit all its own, tied with the historical richness of Red Rocks, this is an unstoppable force bound to bring any true music believer to their knees. Once the pilgrimage to Red Rocks has been made it’s hard to deny the sense that it needs to happen again and again, year after year. Red Rocks becomes a tradition that embodies the western expanse, a Manifest Destiny for musical jams. The experience can only truly be understood by standing on that mountain and opening up your ears and mind to the reverberation of the past and present.
1: Imitation Leather Shoes, B of D, Tortured Artist, Papa Johnny Road, Send Your Mind, And It Stoned Me, Happy > Sell Sell, Postcard, Conrad
2: Second Skin > Rebirtha > Jam > Sleeping Man, Thin Air (Smells Like Mississippi), Driving Song > Ribs And Whiskey > Drums > St. Louis > Driving Song, Bayou Lena, Love Tractor
E: Papa Legba, Life During Wartime, City of Dreams
[Entire show with Edie Jackson, sign language interpreter; Last 'Bayou Lena' - 11/28/08, 347 shows]
1: Holden Oversoul, Old Joe, Shut Up And Drive, North, Goodpeople, Greta > Fishwater, Aunt Avis, Degenerate, Protein Drink > Sewing Machine
2: Rock > Solid Rock, Thought Sausage > Machine > Barstools and Dreamers, Honky Red, Pigeons, Don't Be Denied, Ain't Life Grand, Saint Ex > Chilly Water
E: Jack > Chainsaw City*
* with Madison Smith on percussion
[Soundcheck: 'Travelin' Light'; Entire show with Edie Jackson, sign language interpreter]
Flicker, C. Brown, Better Off, Genesis, All Time Low, Crazy, It Ain't No Use, Ophelia > The Shape I'm In, Chest Fever
2: Can't Get High, Quarter Tank Of Gasoline, True To My Nature, Tall Boy > Bust It Big > Big Wooly Mammoth > Time Fades Away, The Ballad of John and Yoko, Pickin' Up The Pieces, Surprise Valley, You Should Be Glad
E: May Your Glass Be Filled, Climb To Safety
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Editor: Robert (R.A.) Fadley
Freelance Writer, Musicologist, Music Journalist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.