This week the stage at the Boulder Theater was eclipsed by the looming shadow of a performer with a gigantic reputation, one who has been in the spotlight for over three decades. Dressed in his signature black jeans and black tee, Henry Rollins took center stage, adopted a rocker-like stance, and firmly wielded his weapon of choice: the microphone. Initially it was difficult hard to behold this lone veteran of guitar rock without a metal band backing him up. But, of course, Rollins is equally as experienced in moving fans with humor and insight as he is with inciting riotous mosh pits with his bruising vocal chops.
He showcased his social interests with commentary on American mores, highlighting his desire to see Americans stop destroying themselves on a fat-rich diet of television and apathy. Still, he’ll “fight for your freedom” to atrophy on a intellectually sedentary lifestyle, if that’s your preference. Rollins, one accustomed to using the stage as a megaphone for his political rally cries, caricaturized the Republican front-runners to sidesplitting effect.
This self-described “fading 80’s era alternative icon” explored the vulnerable side of life as well. Henry related a few delicate letters from fans and his thoughtful responses. His humble wisdom snuck through the back door of these tales as he captivated us with his no-nonsense humor.
A seasoned traveler, Rollins spoke of life on the road as hard rock front man, humanitarian, and cultural enthusiast. Anecdotes poured from him at punk rock speed. Stories of this legendary artist were as varied as his body of work: delivering soap and soccer balls to Haitian tent cities, the differences between broken-down band vans and bathtub-equipped tour busses, eating roasted Indian rats, and wrestling alligators while taping his soon-to-be-aired series on NatGeo Channel.
The two plus hours that he gave us felt like no time at all. It passed in ease and comfort as if you weren’t listening to a performer, but your wise and witty grandfather. That is, if your grandfather was a former long-haired head-banger with more tattoos than rock albums (at least 17 on both counts). Adding to his résumé with this current act, The Long March Tour, Rollins gives us reason to hope he keeps on rocking our worlds for another 30 years.