Sarah McLachlan at Red Rocks

I got to the drive-up Will Call booths at the Red Rocks amphitheater a
little before 5:00 and they were closed. Happily, there was a walk-up
office where one could stand out of the rain and get tickets. I got my
ticket, and Walden and I cruised on up to the parking lot closest to
the main entrance. The lot was just under a quarter full, and folks
were tailgating, some with 10×10 tents. I mixed a vodka tonic and
walked around a bit to try to commune with folks, but didn’t try that
hard and wasn’t asked to join any parties. Thankfully, there were some
porta-potties, which was good after the beer down in Morrison not to
mention the the tonics. I popped Walden’s top to make me feel more
like I was having a party.

The girls in the back of the pickup next to Walden said that they were
headed up at about 5:20. It was their first time at Red Rocks too, but
it was their first time, so what did they know?

I settled back into Walden to enjoy my drink and hope that the rain
would subside.

Eventually, I got in a line that went up the stairs, and I waited for
a while before a woman affiliated with the venue came over and
suggested that the other lower entrance had a shorter line. I opted to
take her advice and went and got in that line. Did she mean that it
was better if you had a reserved seat, or if you were a general
admission person such as me? A minute or two after the gates were
supposed open, the security folks insisted that everyone back up. Was
this not the best line to be in? Was I going to end up behind the
people that had been behind me in the other line? Finally, folks had
backed up sufficiently and the security people started checking
people’s bags perfunctorily and letting us proceed. A bit further down
someone was taking tickets. After making sure that I knew where the
open seating place was, I ran up the 45 rows to where they started,
moved to the center of the fourth available row, and spread out a
fleece, a raincoat, and a backpack in the three seats where my friends
were to join me. I sent my compatriots a textual message and hoped
that my land grab was within acceptable parameters. I reserved a seat
for myself using my body as a marker.

Red Rocks is a fantastically beautiful venue. The rocks are
magnificent, and, as the name implies, red. There is an outrageous
view of Denver, about thirty miles away. You can also see the sun set
and get an understanding of the region’s weather that radar maps
cannot convey.

In spite of my inability to interact with the tailgaters, it turns out
that a show at Red Rocks, even one that attracts the over-forty crowd,
is rather like a rather large cocktail party. As I was calling out to
one of my friends who wanted to know what kind of beer I desired,
someone a few seats away yelled at me to hush or something, in a
playful manner, to which I responded “Don’t make me come over there!”
After my beer druthers had been communicated, I did go over there,
and the nice couple offered me food. At first the food looked like
small little fried calamari, but as I got closer, it turned out that
it was delicious golden raspberries. This generous and friendly couple
lives in Ft. Collins, and they suggested several must-do things in
their fair city. I recorded these things in my handheld device, but
must not have hit submit or something, because they are gone. We
talked for a surprisingly long while before I was called back to my
seat by the people I’d come to see the show with.

Back at the seat, we struck up a conversation with the family behind
us. Earlier, I’d taken a photo for them and was promised a Christmas
card; I, never missing a chance to market my oh-so-lucrative blog,
called their bluff and gave them a card. Now, the matron was offering
us a meatloaf sandwich. Now, a meatloaf sandwich is definitely
something that can go either way. This was not just any meatloaf. It
was elk, still warm, and delicious. Actually think that by using the
word “meatloaf” you can have no idea how delicious this concoction
was. This guy and a group of his friends have what sounded like an
extensive setup where they butcher and process the wild game that they
hunt. Having made sausage a few times, I would love to see their setup.

The pre-show experience felt like the best kind of cocktail party. The
kind where you don’t know anyone, but feel like everyone there wants
to be your friend. Next time I go, I’ll try to take something as tasty
as a hot wild game meatloaf sandwich, if such a thing can be imagined.
They won’t let you take in that might possibly be alcohol (like your
own water bottle), but you can take in whatever food you like and even
small coolers.

Eventually, the show started. I know that the norm for people who go
to Red Rocks is to post a complete set list (e.g., U2, Phish, or
Soundgarden), but you’ll not get one. (I would very much like to
insert here the set list from the Dead show that I attended in 1982,
complete with provided by James Paul Hunter, but it’s not going to
happen. That artifact was recovered from The Fire, but thankfully I
have neither that journal nor a scanner here in Walden.)

I don’t have my own photos. I didn’t bother to find either of my
snapshot cameras, and they don’t let you take in cameras with
removable lenses. Worse, my cell phone battery died as the show was
about to start. Worse still, I remember taking a picture and posting
it on Facebook or somewhere, and now cannot find it. Lucky for you, I
found JoAnn’s blog post about the concert that has the pictures that I
might have taken. I was two rows behind her and somehow didn’t meet

The music was nice. Ms. McLachlan took an intermission after only
forty five minutes, but we were pleased to be able to take a break to
visit the facilities and replenish our beverages. She came back and
played for what seemed like the right amount of time.

Complaints from the woman in the bar in Morrison aside, I was actually
pretty happy that we were seated as high as we were. If I were a huge
fan, I might have liked to be up in the first ten rows so that I could
see her facial expressions or get a better look at her bare feet, but
the view of the skies above Denver from row 49 was a sight to behold.
At the risk of offending true fans, to me her music provided a lovely
soundtrack to the setting sun, and rain storms across the plains. If I
were a huge fan, the view would have provided a stunning backdrop to a
fantastic show.

Upon trying to get back to Denver, I learned that my parking spot was
not ideal for someone who actually wanted to leave the place,
especially if you wanted to, for example, get the baby sitter home.
(After about ten minutes, my friends set out on foot to their car in
some distant lower lot, and they got home long before we did). For me,
what I’d most like to do would be to just pop the top on Walden, spend
the night, and ride out in the morning, but I’d gotten word from
several sources that ONP was not permitted. Plan B would be to hang
out in the camper for another hour or two and then drive home. The
most expeditious exit strategy, I decided, would be to park down at
the bottom, bike up, and coast back down to the camper to make a quick
get away.

If you have a chance to see a show at Red Rocks that you think you
might possibly enjoy, I cannot recommend strongly enough that you go.

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1 Response to Sarah McLachlan at Red Rocks

  1. Testosterone Therapy says:

    Thanks for sharing your Red Rocks concert experience – it’s a venue I’ve heard great things about but haven’t yet been able to visit. From the sounds of things, I need to make it more of a priority, if only for the views!

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