There’s a lot of civic pride when it comes to Red Rocks and for good reason. It’s one of the great concert venues in the world, a beloved natural open-air amphitheater, the stage and audience areas sheltered between a pair of 300-foot monoliths, Ship Rock and Creation Rock, and another boulder anchored behind the stage bouncing sound forward. Excellent acoustics.
I was once told that one of the reasons more live albums weren’t recorded there was because of the difficulty of getting the trucks, gear, cables, etc., up the road and connected. Technology has simplified the process and a number of records over the last decade have captured performances there.
Red Rocks Live, is a compilation of live Red Rocks tracks that Denver Arts & Venues is releasing today. The 3 vinyl set celebrates the venue’s 75th anniversary (conceived in 2015) and the tracks range from 1978 through 2014.
“Red Rocks is such an iconic venue that every night produces a classic show,” Red Rocks marketing director Brian Kitts says in a statement. “The twenty tracks on Red Rocks Live represent a tiny sample from some really unique concerts. It’s by no means an exhaustive history.”
The recordings are pristine and the tracks segue effortlessly from one song to another for a continuous listening experience. The line up will play like a lot of peoples music collection on shuffle featuring contemporary music makers Imagine Dragons along with Florence and the Machine, indie rockers Death Cab For Cutie and Cake, Lumineers, The Fray, and String Cheese Incident represent the Colorado scene. Plus a couple from the great beyond, Sharon Jones and Leonard Cohen.
Highlights include John Prine’s Angel From Montgomery (when has that song never been a welcome addition to any compilation?), Ship Of Fools, Grateful Dead (Jerry Garcia providing another voice from the sweet hereafter) and Thievery Corporation’s Lebanese Blonde.
It’s not a knock, but an observation, that most of the tracks come from the last decade or so. The oldest being the Dead from ’78 and U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday from their historic appearance in 1983. But that could very well be because of reasons mentioned before, that the recordings just don’t exist. And having been a part of the curation of similar releases, I can tell you even the most benevolent artist can be difficult to work with.
Regardless, Red Rocks Live is a terrific souvenir that unlike that t-shirt you bought, it won’t shrink or fade over time.
Red Rocks Live is available for $55 at the Red Rocks Trading Post and Visitor Center while supplies last. The album can also be ordered online at the venue’s website, and is available in a digital format on iTunes, Amazon and other online outlets.
Red Rocks Live Full Track List
1. Cake – “Love You Madly” (7/28/12)
2. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – “You’ll Be Lonely” (6/13/15)
3. Shakey Graves – “Roll the Bones” (7/13/09)
4. John Prine – “Angel From Montgomery” (7/12/15)
5. The Lumineers – “Cleopatra” (6/8/16)
6. Florence + The Machine – “Dog Days Are Over” (8/3/15)
7. Imagine Dragons – “Radioactive” (5/16/13)
8. Ingrid Michaelson – “Girls Chase Boys” (6/21/15)
9. Death Cab for Cutie – “Grapevine Fires” (7/15/15)
10. The Grateful Dead – “Ship of Fools” (7/8/78)
11. Leonard Cohen – “So Long Marianne” (6/4/09)
12. Peter Gabriel – “Family Snapshot” (9/30/12)
13. U2 – “New Years Day” (6/5/83)
14. Thievery Corporation – “Lebanese Blonde” (6/19/15)
15. Macklemore – “Same Love” (9/29/12)
16. Paramore – “Ain’t It Fun” (8/12/14)
17. Widespread Panic – “Aint Life Grand” (6/24/16)
18. String Cheese Incident – “Black Clouds” (9/6/03)
19. Barenaked Ladies – “The Old Apartment” (6/5/16)
20. The Fray – “How to Save a Life” (5/11/12)