Five things to do in Denver |

Five things to do in Denver

Ted AlvarezVail CO, Colorado
Special to DailyLyle Lovett plays Red Rocks in Denver on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Though perhaps still most famous for once being married to Julia Roberts and having strange hair, Lyle Lovett should get credit as one of the best country songwriters of the last several decades. The Texas troubadour mixes down-home sentiment, clever orchestration and whip-smart lyrics, and his band His Large Band, rather has both the presence and skill to weave jazz, folk, rock and even a little blues in with their country jamming. 2007s Its Not Big Its Large carries the tradition and puts his band front and center. Guest musicians for the recording include bluegrass superstar Bela Fleck. Lovett loves surprises in his live show, so you never know when he might bring guests famous and non up on stage for last-second improvisations. All the more impressive, the album was recorded live, proving that this large band has the chops to pull off just about anything. Eat your heart out, Julia.What: Lyle Lovett and His Large Band perform.Where: Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver.When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.Cost: $49.50-$65.Info:

You dont think of Colorado as being much of a rave state, but on Saturday Red Rocks could be transformed into the center of the universe for trance lovers. The Global Dance Festival will celebrate all things dance and trance amidst the natural splendor of Red Rocks, so if you love electronic music and a little bit of communal bump n grind, you owe it to yourself to get here. Trance music DJ/producer Ferry Corsten is practically a worldwide legend, and his brand of expansive trance music will get even the technophobic out and dancing in the crowd. Also on hand are drum n bass pioneers like Dieselboy and progressive house master Deadmou5, making his Colorado debut. Scads of local DJs will fill the space in between, creating a night to be remembered for dance and trance-aholics alike. If youve ever heard the thrum of a constant beat inside a club and wondered why all those people coming out looked so happy, heres your chance to find out.What: Global Dance Festival.Where: Red Rocks, Denver.When: Saturday, 5 p.m.Cost: $59-248.Info:

Here it is: The mother of all Colorado summer music festivals. We may get touring giants like the Warp Tour, but the Mile High Music Festival brings in the best, and we get them all to ourselves we dont have to share with Cleveland this time. Tom Petty, fresh off the release of his much-lauded Highway Companion, returns in fine form to deliver the kind of heartland rock he does so well. Highway represents his best work in recent years, so you dont run to the concession stands when you hear this is a new one. Heavy hitters Dave Matthews and John Mayer join Petty, but the festival has something for everyone, from indie-rock superstars Spoon to new-school rapper Lupe Fiasco to acoustic metal/world beat crazies Rodrigo y Gabriela. Local favorites from around the state mix it up with the big names; expect bands like Born in the Flood and Rose Hill Drive to hold their own with their more famous musical counterparts. Bands you must see, despite a temptation to skip out on their set, include: Pinback, The Whigs and Serena Ryder. But really, you cant go wrong.What: Mile High Music Festival, Denver.Where: Dicks Sporting Goods Park.When: Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.Cost: $85-$495.Info:

Hunter S. Thompson, the carousing, wild-eyed founder of gonzo journalism, inspires awe in his fans and ire in his critics. It takes a peculiar brand of genius to be both loved and hated, but rarely ever anything in between. In his biography Outlaw Journalist: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson, professor William McKeen takes a rare step back to provide the definitive chronology of the wild writers life, from his early days of acting up and out, to his heavily medicated road trips that served as the foundations of gonzo journalism, to the events that led to the quick end of his outsize life (Thompson shot himself in his Aspen home while on the phone with his second wife, Anita). McKeen had impressive access to friends, family members and associates, and they offer their honest thoughts and feelings on Thompson, leading to perhaps the definitive Hunter S. Thompson biography. McKeen will talk and sign copies of his book at the Tattered Cover Thompson maniacs should be there or be square.What: William McKeen signs copies of Outlaw Journalist: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson.Where: Tattered Cover, Denver.When: Monday, 7:30 p.m.Cost: Free.Info: 303-322-7727 or visit

OK, maybe you didnt know about Disneys runaway juggernaut High School Musical two years ago, but by now you should be expecting your teen or preteen to be begging you to take them to this live, professional production of the endlessly popular musical. Originally a TV movie about a musical, the show has earned a life of its own, spinning off high school musical productions of high school musicals, not to mention spin-off careers for its celebrated and occasionally misbehaving stars like Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, and Ashley Tisdale. Most of their other projects arent so hot, so if your kid is begging you to go, you might as well enjoy the highest quality version of High School Musical ever. This stage adaptation by Jeff Calhoun has all the zest and pizazz of a Broadway Musical, plus songs so catchy, youll finally understand why your tween likes it so much. Just be prepared to listen to Were All in This Together all the way home.What: A live stage performance of High School Musical.Where: Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver.When: Daily from Tuesday until July 27.Cost: $25-$95.Info: 303-893-4100 or

Support Local Journalism