Our Iconic Red Rocks

Crowd at Red Rocks 1952
Dave Matthews Band: Live at Red Rocks Mumford and Sons at Red Rocks

This isn't the first blog post written about Red Rocks here at DPL, but if anything in our fair metropolis deserves renewed attention and accolades, Red Rocks is near the top of the list.

In high school, I was a Dave Matthews fan. Of course being in a suburban, middle class high school, almost everyone was a Dave Matthews fan and DMB's concerts at the local, grassy amphitheater were the peak of summer socializing. By the end of high school, I'd discovered punk and obligatorily disavowed any interest in Dave Matthews. I must, however, credit Dave Matthews with introducing me to the seemingly mythical place in Colorado called Red Rocks when they released their 2+ hour Live at Red Rocks set with the historic photo of a snow-ladened Creation Rock and Ship Rock on the cover. Six years later, I found myself in that same venue for the first time when Radiohead came to town just months after I moved to Denver. I was more than impressed and continue to enjoy summer shows at this incredible place.

Here at the library we have one more connection to Red Rocks. Burnham Hoyt who was the architect for the North Wing of Central Library (the older part of our building) also designed Red Rocks Amphitheater as well as many other award-winning projects in Denver.

A large portion of the concert calendar at Red Rocks has been released and shows are selling out fast with many artists quickly booking second nights. Here are some of highlights:

  • Vampire Weekend - May 20 - SOLD OUT
  • Postal Service - May 30
  • Edward Sharpe and Alabama Shakes - June 2 - SOLD OUT
  • Devotchka with the Colorado Symphony - June 14
  • Fun. - August 21 & 22
  • The National (with Local Natives) - September 17

Even if music isn't your thing, Red Rocks Park has a great trail system or you can join the other potentially insane fitness folks who punish themselves by cross-training up the rows. The Film on the Rocks selections haven't been announced yet but are another summer favorite. The park has also introduced a Yoga on the Rocks program too.

If you're looking to try to get that concert experience in the comfort of your own home, Red Rocks is a popular venue for live recordings and the library has many in their collection.

Also check out photos from Red Rocks Park in Western History's Digital Collections. Or read local historian Thomas Noel's book, Sacred Stones: Colorado's Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater.

I'm sure many folks have their favorite Red Rocks show. Mine is the aforementioned Radiohead gig with Arcade Fire/LCD Soundsystem in second place. What's your favorite Red Rocks memory? If you could choose anyone to see at Red Rocks who would it be?

Comments

My first concert ever was Judy Collins at Red Rocks, summer of 1974-ish. I was 5 or 6, and I have to admit I ended up getting sick on my mom's lap :-/

Depeche Mode, ca. 1985 crowd standing for "People are People"

The long guitar bridge of Michael Martin Murphy's "Wildfire" as the full moon rises over distant Denver skyline on a clear summer night.

Steve Martin with an arrow through his head, ca. 1978!

Too hard to say. Last year I enjoyed Wilco and the Avett Brothers there.

Seeing Björk in 2007 at Red Rocks is as close as I'll ever get to heaven on Earth.

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