Genes: Red Rocks Wish List for 2018 (column)
April 25, 2018
it's one of the favorite pastimes of live music lovers this time of year. People from all over the world start planning their visits months in advance. Colorado residents begin to memorize dates and pairings. Checking accounts and debit cards get crushed. It's something I call — the Red Rocks Rage.
The concert venue's schedule is pretty complete now. It begins to slowly leak in January but day-by-day gets more and more exciting. And when it's done, the wishing, hoping and begging for days off begins.
Some friends grab what they can upon ticket sales release dates and trust they will be able to get them sold. Others quickly email their pals around the country giving them the dates and setting up housing.
There are the must see groupie or nearly cult shows from bands like Disco Biscuits, String Cheese and any show featuring a member of the Grateful Dead. Then there are the wild pairings of shows that might be a bit of a culture clash — think Twiddle playing with The Hip Abduction — and then there is the all out rock nights like Mastodon coupled with Primus.
What's a fan to do? There are only so many nights you can make the trip over the pass and only so much cash to be able to afford to. It's a crushing decision time for music fans throughout the Centennial State.
I've come up with my dream list of shows. Though I'm unlikely to make them all, my dad always said, "A man's gotta dream." So being restrained by one show a month, time wise and financially, I came up with my Red Rocks Wish List for 2018.
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A sold-out Modest Mouse show certainly appears to be a top contender and then there is the elegant pairing of Elephant Revival with Blind Pilot along with upcoming stars Hiss Golden Messenger, however for my bucks it's May 22 — a rare live Colorado show from The Decemberists. With a new album, "I'll Be Your Girl," it will be their first Red Rocks show in three years and they always bring the perfect live sound to a perfect live place.
I know for a lot of you, it's Panic month. However, it's a conflict weekend for me (June 22-24) with, of course, Cover Rock happening in Avon. Three shows from Widespread Panic versus shows from The Eagles, Springsteen, The Doors, Simon and Garfunkel and others? OK, so they are tribute bands, but the last few years Cover Rock has been a quality event not to miss; therefore, I'm staying in the valley that weekend and venturing up to Morrison for the Ween shows on June 5.
There is some art to consider with acts like Seal and Sarah McLachlan performing on separate nights with the Colorado Symphony plus a fine array of jam bands to choose from Dark Star Orchestra, String Cheese Incident and Trampled By Turtles. But for me, I'm choosing to close the month out in style, with a two-night stand from Tedeschi Trucks Band. The husband-wife collaboration has really hit their groove on this tour and with support from Drive-By Truckers and the Marcus King Band, this will be well worth my moolah.
The summer's hottest month will live up to its reputation with a crazy first week featuring the WinterWonderGrass-inspired pairing of Yonder Mountain String Band and the Infamous Stringdusters, or blazing guitarist Joe Bonamassa and the heavy funk sized tour stop of Portugal. The Man. The midweeks of the month don't lack any steam either as Railroad Earth benefits from a great opener in Fruition and Father John Misty appears with one of those strange only Red Rock pairings with TV On The Radio. However, the return of former Talking Head's brainchild David Byrne on a solo tour that is conjuring up memories of the acclaimed Stop Making Sense Tour wins the prize. But like so many shows at the iconic venue, it is already sold out. Looking for a miracle, perhaps?
Tom Genes is a musicologist and organizes the annual Cover Rock Festival in Avon, returning June 22-23 with tributes to America's best rock 'n' roll bands.