Review: 2019-06-21 - Red Rocks - Morrison, CO
mccuem last edited by Johnny Love
Rocks Baby, Red Rocks!
Little over a year has passed since Spafford played their first show at Red Rocks and I was eagerly awaiting their triumphant return. Leading up to the show there were a few questions on my mind like, What are they going to play? Will the headliners crowd be into them? And will they get more time to play like they did last year? Oh, you don’t remember that? Yeah, the Biscuits tweeted that Spafford would get extra stage time allowing them to get a little lengthier Jam in. You can read all about that performance here. Alas, we would not be getting any extra Spafford this time around.
And to the question of what they would play, I was wondering if they would just jam out with some staples, maybe do a Weasel into America and play it safe? Or could they throw out some monster jams and knock the socks off Red Rocks in an hour? Granted an hour slot doesn’t really lend itself to extended jams, but hey who knows… they are opening for Umphreys so their fan base has to be somewhat familiar with Spafford given the number of shows that Spafford has opened for them over the years.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Unlike last year when we had pristine weather, sunny skies and a cool breeze, when we pulled up to the Upper South Lot we were greeted with grey skies and light rain and a chilly breeze, but we were going to make the most of it. We even got as far as setting up lawn chairs before we were chased into our ponchos and ultimately our vehicles, but not for long.
Photo credit Jon Rose, stolen off of Spafford prints on Facebook
Soon we were headed up the hill to score those sweet, sweet Jon Rose posters! I stole the above image from the Spafford Print group of the Summer Vacation poster, alas no show specific poster like we got last year but at least we got our date on the poster! Grab yourself one of these this summer on tour! “To Be The Only One” is killer in person!
Now that posters and spots had been secured, I returned back to the question of what we were going to hear. I had a few nerds standing close by and we chatted about possible songs and wow was I wrong. I was expecting a high energy set of tried and true material with some back and forth segues of the tried and true variety.
Who would have thought that they would bust out not ONE but TWO new songs and drop a straight fire Jam then bring up a Special guest? And they had to fit this all in in under an hour. Strap yourself in, this is going to get intense. My guess of old staples was also wrong. 4/6 songs played debuted this year and one of the older songs just got immortalized on a studio album with an added twist. Can you guess where I’m going with this one yet?
The boys walk out and take their positions, left to right you have Red on keys, Jordon on Bass, Brian on, well, the Raven, and rounded out with Nick on drums.
Some last minute tuning, shouts of pure anticipation and then they drop into….what’s this? Wait are they messing with me? Nope this is new. Has to be a debut. Be Strange is the title and has a strong reggae vibe, to get the feet moving. One of the more lyrically heavy songs in recent memory with enough room for Brian to take the Raven on a little exploration before the closing verse. Great song to get the night rolling and as I write this, I am over looking at the lyrics on Spaffnerds. Thinking about this show a few days removed one of the lyrics stands out to me and how Spafford chose to attack this show full force and not knock out a few tried and true tunes “No time for normal, and it’s not today.” Go back and re-listen to this set and compare it to any opener you’ve ever seen. These Guys kill it.
Next up the boys surely will drop into a tried and true old school tune. Nope, 2 notes into this and @mdjabber leans over and answers my question. Dirtbath. Such a sick Jam, and here I thought I wouldn’t get a Jam. Making its debut in February this year it has been one of the most anticipated songs that people are talking about that they want to see on Summer Vacation. This 20 minute Opus grabs you by the soul and take you for a ride. If you’ve read stuff I have written in the past you’ll remember that I know nothing about music theory. This song, at least for me, invites you to sway dance and just lose control.
Alright 2 songs penned in 2019 so far.
Comfortable was up next, another member of the class of 2019. Catchy tune that lets Red swoon us through out the entire song. Catchy upbeat and a perfect little breather from the heat that was Dirtbath. Since I’m addressing nerds here I don’t think I need to mention it but next listen through go pull up the lyrics and read along. Chuck has a way with words and I really dig how the boys interpreted these.
Brian takes a quick second to let us all know that they are having a blast and lets us know that they would like to welcome Jason Singer (and his Saxophone) to the stage. Ok, now even I know that Electric Taco Stand is coming next (debut 2011, so a member of the old guard). Remember earlier when I was foreshadowing this review and mentioned that they had recently immortalized an older tune on For Amusement Only? Well, unlike on FAO's cut of Ain't That Wrong when there is just a little sax, Jason gets down throughout the song. ETS has been my primary song to introduce people to Spafford. ETS with some brass is absolutely next level. *s the times go by!!!!!!!!!! It doesn’t even seem like Jason is holding anything back, he is jumping right in and leading Jams.
Brian then lets us know that since we already got one new debut, we might as well have another and they jump into Pretty Mama with Jordan on vocals. Pretty Mama has a great rock feel to it and some of the opening notes have a distinct vibe of another band that will be on the stage later that night. But just a few and once the band hits its stride I almost forget that thought and jam on out. I can’t wait to hear how this one grows as they play it at shows without time restrictions.
Looking at my watch I know that we were going only get one more song. ALL IN for the win! I take a brief look around me and see everyone absolutely losing their shit! As I look up the rocks I see that it is nearly full, save for a few rows at the very top. I love how this song builds and then drops into that awesome bass line with drums right in the middle. Speaking of drums, I’m not sure if it was just where I was sitting, but I think they owed Nick money the way he was beating them towards the end of the song.
Then just like that it was over, Brian thanked us and Umphreys and took a quick curtain call before disappearing back into the Rocks. I must say that I was absolutely blown away at this performance. Instead of playing it safe they dropped 2 debuts on us, rocked out a solid 20 minute jam and even brought out a guest artist. I don’t think that you could have packed anything else into that hour.
Hope to see you all soon!
I tried to capture the spirit of the thing. -Dickie Dunn
I tried to get a good nerd Pic and some more show shots but honestly I was stuck in the moment and it was really cold and rainy. So if I saw you and didn't immortalize you in this review I am sorry I'll make it up to you next time around.
Well, that's just like, your opinion, man.
Great review, homie. I think your take on the Be Strange intro is spot on
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