Limited audience enjoys melodies and memories at The Samples show in Vail |

Limited audience enjoys melodies and memories at The Samples show in Vail

Sean Kelly and band mates treat listeners to songs from past decades at The Amp

The melodies brought out the memories Tuesday night as fans of The Samples came out for the limited-attendance show at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater as part of the Hot Summer Nights series. The band, which formed over 30 years ago in Boulder, is no stranger to the live music scene in the Vail Valley.

“The Samples have played throughout the valley many times and most recently in 2018,” said Tom Boyd, director of PR for the Vail Valley Foundation and director of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail. “They have deep roots here in Vail and I think all of us have seen them so many times but it doesn’t matter because now there’s so much nostalgia involved,” Boyd said.

Throughout the decades, band members have come and gone but lead singer Sean Kelly and his signature voice create the sound that is The Samples.

“Wow, this sort of looks like our first concert, or maybe it looks like our last concert,” joked Kelly, when referring to the size of the audience in a venue that can easily fit thousands. COVID-19 restrictions currently allow 175 concertgoers at each show at The Amp. But the small crowd provided a big welcome, especially when Kelly and band started out with the familiar riffs of “Weight of the World” as the opening song.

Other favorite tunes like “Nature,” “Feel Us Shaking” and “Did You Ever Look So Nice” were crowd-pleasers as well. Most of the audience was definitely of a certain age range. I saw many familiar faces who moved to the valley when I did and this music was our soundtrack.

“I have been listening to The Samples since high school, all the way through college and beyond,” said Meggen Kirkham, a Colorado native and self-proclaimed superfan. Kirkham had scheduled The Samples to play at her birthday party this summer but has postponed that celebration until next year due to COVID-19.   

Kelly slowed things down a bit and played a few solo acoustic songs and also interacted with the audience and tossed out CDs right from the stage. “We’ve played the ‘Tonight Show,’ The Gorge, House of Blues, Red Rocks, but we love playing here,” Kelly said.

“When you look at Colorado bands, The Samples certainly have to be among the top bands that have ever come out of the state along with Big Head Todd, the Lumineers and The Fray. It’s really an honor for us to host them,” Boyd said.

Upcoming concerts at The Amp

  • Aug. 14 – Joshua Bell & Larisa Martinez’s “Voice and the Violin”
  • Aug. 18 – Runnin’ Down a Dream – Celebrating the Music of Tom Petty
  • Aug. 22 – Robert Randolph & Friends
  • Aug. 25 – Magic Beans
  • Aug. 27 – Kyle Hollingsworth and Jason Hann of The String Cheese Incident

For ticket information and more concert announcements go to

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