About six months ago Matt was scanning the upcoming concerts in Colorado (this is an activity that is mostly banned in our house, because it wouldn't take much for us to ditch IRAs and college savings plans and car payments and spend all our money going to shows) and noticed that The Avett Brothers were headed back to Red Rocks, and did I want to go?
Uhm, let me think about it... YES, OBVIOUSLY. Except for we have these children and Colorado is a whole 'nother state away and we don't know if we can guarantee a babysitter that far out... after much handwringing on my part about whether or not we could pull it off we decided to go ahead and buy some good tickets (The Ebay King knows how to do such things) and hope for the best. It would be a belated anniversary gift, since we spent our anniversary otherwise engaged. The tickets arrived and went up on the mantel in my craft room; I might have counted the days down a few times, and had a small panic when the wind must have blown them off one afternoon and I couldn't find them for a whole ten minutes. As in, who broke in and stole (only) our Avett Brothers tickets? Ahem.
Our History With The Avett Brothers
Matt very snarkily loves to point out that I didn't like the first Avett Brothers song I heard back in 2006, which came on our Paste CD sampler when we lived in Colorado Springs. As much as I wish it wasn't a true story, it is; the song was Talk on Indolence and the first time I heard it I might have put my hands over my ears because of all the yelling. What is this punk bluegrass nonsense, I might have thought to myself?
Crow. Lots and lots of crow. I love this song and all its punk bluegrass nonsense now, and every song that came thereafter when I gave them another chance. I must have been in a really bad mood that day. Or something. Now, we own just about every Avett Brothers album one can buy. I might not have loved them from the very first note like I can claim with other favorites (Ben Folds, I'm talking to you) but I love them with an intensity that makes up for it now. : ) We both do. They are earnest musicians, who love what they do so much that you can't help being earnest about them.
Oh, Red Rocks, how do we love thee? Red Rocks Amphitheater is by far the most fun place to see concerts, anywhere. It is a natural amphitheater that has been a concert venue since the early 1900s; downtown Denver and its accompanying sprawl is visible off in the distance, and you can monitor about seven different weather patterns all at once. We've seen two shows there together before children (Big Head Todd and the Monsters and Blues Traveler) and Matt saw Alice in Chains* there with our concert pal Monte sometime in the last two years. We were actively trying not to fear for our lives during the Big Head Todd show; when you can see every streak of lightning for miles and miles creeping closer and closer it is a little disconcerting. But also a little cool.
I did not take my camera to the show (she says with a bit of a pout) because even though Red Rocks allows cameras, they are a little vague on the kind of camera you bring in; I didn't want to have to climb all the way back down to the parking lot area to return my removable lens camera just in case they were feeling strict. However, there are tons of cool photos of Red Rocks here in case you want to check it out.
My longtime scrapbooking pal Lisa Dickinson also had tickets to the show; that afternoon she emailed to make sure I had her number so I could text her my location and we could finally meet in person (she only lives 80 miles or so away, but we still haven't had the opportunity to meet up for lunch). The show was sold out, which means maybe 10,000 people were there? Guess who I saw in the the line for the restroom before the show, before anyone texted anyone? Lisa. : ) Now we can say we've officially met, if only for a few moments.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals were the opening act; we coincidentally watched some sort of documentary on them last year so it was fun to see them live. They're good—Grace can sing. We were a little startled by the man a few seats away who appeared to be the #1 Grace Potter Super Fan in the Universe; he was also very chatty and in between songs, told Matt good snippets of his life story including the part about how he had never heard of Grace Potter before that night. Huh. Luckily, he also didn't have a reserved ticket so after she was done, he took his Super Fan dancing back to the general admission area. The rain thankfully stopped and we watched the clouds finally roll through (it was off and on kind of like the sky might be during the apocalpyse in and around Denver on Saturday night).
Just before the show began some Red Rocks bigwig inducted John Denver into the Red Rocks Hall of Fame, which was an exceedingly neat thing to be present for—John Denver sold out Red Rocks 19 times in his lifetime, and was a significant influence on both Matt's and my love of music growing up. His daughter was on hand to receive the award. The Avett Brothers were introduced by Governor Hickenlooper, which struck me as very funny, but apparently he is something of a Super Fan himself so was very enthused to introduce them. They came out and played two straight hours; my creepy Smiling Disorder was about as out of control as it's ever been throughout the whole thing.
For my reference, the set list that was posted after the show:
1. Head Full of Doubt / Road Full of Promise
2. Tin Man
3. Go to Sleep
5. January Wedding
7. Paranoia in B-Flat Major
8. It's Good to Be Back Home Again [John Denver cover]
9. The Fall
10. Kick Drum Heart [w/ long breakdown jam at the end]
11. Murder in the City [daughter / son]
12. Never Been Alive
13. And It Spread
14. I Killed Sally's Lover
15. Distraction #74
16. The Prettiest Thing [David Childers cover]
17. In the Curve
18. The Once and Future Carpenter
19. Pretty Girl from Cedar Lane
20. Talk on Indolence [w/ Scott throwing flowers into the crowd during the outro]
21. I and Love and You
22. Will You Return
23. Blue Ridge Mountain Blues
24. Laundry Room
They're really, really good. I'm so glad we were able to pull it off.
*I, too, have seen Alice in Chains in concert with Matt, many many years ago at Blossom. They opened for Van Halen. And, though I've grown to tolerate Alice in Chains, once was enough for me.