Music to My Ears
‘Tis the season of summer concerts rolling in and out of Colorado. I like a little bit of everything so here are some ideas that run the gamut of rock, jazz, jam and ska all featured at some spectacular venues.
Nine Inch Nails & Soundgarden at Red Rocks
July 21st & July 22nd
Now this is my kind of garden party. An affair that encourages long hair, flannel shirts, scruffy faces, crowd surfing and more than a little bit of attitude.
Chris Cornell and the boys of Soundgarden stage a two-day invasion on Red Rocks on July 21st and 22nd with Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails doing the honors as the opening act. Wow. 1993 never looked so good. Twenty some odd years ago when these two outfits were both dominating their respective venues, who would have known they’d still be punching us in the gut with their groundbreaking music from yesteryear?
When I think of the grunge craze of the early nineties, for me it was Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. They were the true culprits in changing the musical landscape from Seattle that would soon spread to international property.
Then there’s the techno/house/rock spasm of Nine Inch Nails. As a college radio DJ in the early 90s, I had Reznor and company as mainstays on my rundown. They infuse the kind of musical roar that would jumpstart any rocker’s heartbeat by a few clicks so you can imagine how that’s going to play out in Morrison in a few weeks.
Motley Crue At Pepsi Center
These guys should have all been dead years ago. The amount of drugs and alcohol that have coursed through their respective veins is beyond comprehension. Be that as it may, the trials and tribulations of Motley Crue have translated into some epic music that has accompanied a lot of us through our various stages of life since the early 80s.
Think about that. Motley Crue has been defying the odds and remained more than just a little bit relevant for over 30 YEARS. That is no easy task. Now the bad boys of rock n roll are calling it a career and their farewell tour rolls into Denver for the last time (allegedly) this August 2nd at Pepsi Center.
The amount of trouble I personally flirted with in high school with the Crue’s fourth album, Girls, Girls, Girls as the soundtrack is a topic for a feature of a another time. Now if you’re content on getting your Crue fix with the endless line of television commercials that feature their tunes then so be it, but I think I speak for most metal and rock enthusiasts when I say that the Crue is a bucket list concert. When you factor in the flair, the explosives, the background and stage set and a handful of rock anthems coupled with the unpredictability of four derelicts from Los Angeles including one of the great drummers of his generation in Tommy Lee, these legends deserve a proper send off from their fans.
Speaking of Lee, can you name another percussionist who sets out to entertain the audience in such a consistent and awe-inspiring manner? A drum kit on tracks that suspends its artist UPSIDE DOWN and transports him far off the friendly confines of the stage to above and over the crowd? Or how about his 360 degree revolution that you normally see reserved for modern day roller coasters? Say what you want about Tommy Lee, but that’s a musical pioneer right there.
I challenge you to go to any sporting event and not hear a song blurb from the rock quartet in between play. Denver has never needed an excuse to celebrate much of anything so I have no doubt that Pepsi Center on the second day of August is already on a radar or two.
So why not take a ride on the wild side one last time here at home sweet home to kickstart your heart with your old pal Dr. Feelgood?
Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration Featuring Warren Haynes at Red Rocks
What a long, strange trip it’s been.
Add this to the list: a 40+ piece symphony commemorating Jerry Garcia’s original compositions as well as classic interpretations of his masterful creations of Garcia and the Grateful Dead. Collaborating with this groundbreaking orchestral program, which is curated by the Garcia family, is Grammy winner and renowned vocalist/guitarist Warren Hayes of the Allman Brothers Band, The Dead and Gov’t Mule fame.
Haynes, who will be infusing his own blend of rock, blues, R&B and jazz into Garcia’s masterpieces, is ecstatic about the opportunity to help command this extraordinary production, “I’m very excited about doing these shows. We’ve chosen a very diverse list of songs from the extensive Jerry Garcia related catalog and in the true spirit of the original music will be leaving room for improvisation and approaching the symphonic arrangements from a non-traditional direction.”
A New Orleans All-Star Rhythm Revue at Balistreri Vineyards
Live at the Vineyards, KUVO’s 9th annual signature fundraising event will have you thinking you’re down in the Bayou with an array of music, wine, gourmet feasting, dancing, auction and, of course, party. Featured acts include Donald Harrison, jazz saxophonist, bandleader, composer, singer and “The King of Nouveau Swing,” vocalist, pianist and the pride of New Orleans, Henry Butler, as well as Leo Nocentelli, one of the founding members of the New Orleans funk band, The Meters.
The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones at The Ogden Theater
If ska is more your thing, then take your groove and your fedora to the Ogden where those Bosstones from Boston are still bringing their sound to the stage after all of these years, 31 to be exact since forming back in 1983.
1964- The Beatles Tribute at Red Rocks
Fifty years ago this August, the Beatles first came to Colorado. Now you can relive the phenomenon that was Beatle-mania with the #1 Beatles show in the world with “1964” The Tribute.
This 50th Anniversary celebrates Red Rocks Amphitheater as one of four original concert sites still remaining from the Beatles first American tour in 1964. In celebration of this historical event, “1964” will kick off the evening with the 10 songs The Beatles performed at the venue 50 years ago.
Choosing songs from the pre-Sgt. Pepper era, “1964” recreates an early 60s live Beatles concert with period instruments, vintage costumes, hairstyles, onstage mannerisms, speaking voices, and unmistakable harmonies of the Liverpool quartet.