It is really incogitable, but a delight for me to follow the growth of these two credible musicians appropriately called Big Gigantic. It seems like yesterday that I was eating at a restaurant in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia with Dominic Lalli, while he was in The Motet, and my good friend and their road manager at the time Ben Scrimalli.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
After a long wait amidst the cancelled shows last summer and the departure of original bass player David “Murph” Murphy, STS9 came back to Red Rocks Amphitheater with retribution. For our patience and gratitude throughout the year, the band rewarded us with 7 hours, and 58 tracks of the most diverse music a fan could ask for. STS9 played 3 sets each night with a short set from the Lazy Americanz (presented by The J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League) as they performed their legendary “in the round” set.
After I witness a transformative set of music, this is what inevitably occurs when the dust settles. After a band plays high energy, pedal-to-the-metal music for a cool 100-minutes, it’s difficult to ascertain which pieces stood out as the highlights among many other highlights – the crème de la crème. That’s why I try to balance dancing and having fun with taking notes in the middle of a song or right after it ends. It’s the only way I can filter the musical narrative and determine the truly supernal from the “merely” superb.
All brought a powerful message of love, togetherness, and caring for humanity and our planet: a concert that made your soul shine! The good vibrations were carried on the gorgeous Red Rocks sunset on a clear warm summer evening.
Last year during Widespread Panic’s annual June pilgrimage to Red Rocks, I bore witness to a natural phenomenon so sublime, it will be emblazoned in my memory until my dying breath. An awe-inspiring lightning shower accompanied nearly the entirety of Saturday’s second set.
We have all been to shows in which our objectivity towards the music is undermined by a more powerful force. Something happens apart from the stage that distorts, and often intensifies, the true sonic nature of each set. These are the shows that lay futility at the feet of those who try to listen to a recording later on to recapture the magic. This happened to me for the first time in October ‘99 when I saw Phish at Illinois State. I was smitten with a girl who would, very soon after, become my first love.
So, Widespread Panic played a show at Red Rocks on Saturday night. Honestly, for those of you who have seen them in that setting before, that’s about as good of a review as you need. All it would take is one glance at the set list, particularly from the second set on, to know that it was a spectacular evening.
Last year My Morning Jacket played a single night at Red Rocks Amphitheater, but as they are becoming more and more of a household name, one night wasn’t enough for this year. The Louisville, Kentucky boys came in strong for the opening night on Friday with a 29-song set. It’s been over a year since the release of their sixth album, Circuital, and as of lately they have shed the “Victory Dance”/Title track opener in favor of a more random choice of opening songs.