In my recent article about Red Rocks Amphitheater, a spectacular outdoor venue just outside of Denver, Colorado, I wrote that it is celebrating it’s 75th birthday. I covered the general history of this magnificent place to see a concert, and left the concerts themselves for the future. So I found it interesting when John Wenzel from The Denver Post put together a list of The 10 most memorable concerts in Red Rocks history

While that is certainly a subjective and personal subject, I found his reasoning solid and thoughtful. My problem is separating personal experience with the historical prominence of shows there. I loved Stevie Ray Vaughn jamming on the stage while the moon rose full and round over the plains and reflecting in Soda Lakes in the background. See, that’s personal moments tainting my enjoyment and value of the shows.

There was Queensrÿche performing for a large audience of extras for the filming of the opening sequence of the movie The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane. I was recruited to entertain the crowd while they were between scene filming sequences. I hung with Vince Neil and his wife, the members of Queensrÿche, met Wayne Newton and his pilot / bodyguard below the stage. Director Renny Harlin gave me $1,500 and a Queensrÿche autographed Gibson SG guitar along with a request for me to comeback again the next night to help out. Gee, ok. The Rÿche rocked that night, as a reward for the extras who hung in there for the filming.

Joe Walsh and The James Gang playing for my first concert with my son and the woman who would become my wife. There were so many great shows there for me. I didn’t arrive in Denver until 1978 and had limited experience of what had happened there earlier, so I appreciate John putting a bit of historical perspective on his list, that covered a 75 year span.

He created “a curated list culled from decades of Denver Post coverage” listing:

10. Mary Garden, May 10, 1911 Opera singer

9. Blues Traveler, July 4, 1993 kicked of their long-running Fourth of July residency.

8. Radiohead, Aug. 26, 2003

7. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Sept. 1, 1968 the only modern Red Rocks concert no known recordings or photographs.

6. The Beatles, Aug. 26, 1964 which wasn’t even sold out.

5. Daft Punk, July 31, 2007

4. The Grateful Dead, July 8, 1978 which some see as the birth of the modern jam-band movement.

3. Jethro Tull, June 10, 1971 had police breaking out the tear gas to control about 1,000 gatecrashers and inspired a 5 year ban on rock concerts there.

2. John Denver, June 27, 1974 who televised a number of his 1970s and ’80s concerts to a global audience.

1. U2, June 5, 1983 the performance for a half-full audience with miserable weather that became the best-selling concert video “Under a Blood Red Sky.”


A fair and comprehensive list of memorable concerts at Red Rocks. But I’ll bet you have your own for some very special reasons. I know I do.

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