As we feel the weather changing around us, and we realize that Thanksgiving is in the air, we also must celebrate a few other traditions, like revisiting the Last Waltz, or listening to Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” on Thanksgiving Day. In Colorado, we now have another tradition around this time of year, invented by the minds of J2G Productions. In the spirit of the Last Waltz, we have our own all-star jam called the Dance Party Time Machine. This machine, escorts the audience through a timeless tale of dance music through a sixty year period. The musicians involved are some of the best of Colorado’s in their prime conquerors along with a few special guests, who I’m sure will be residents of Colorado sooner than later.
The performance all-stars include Marc Brownstein, Aron Magner, and Allen Aucoin of the Disco Biscuits, and former STS9 bassist and current Seven Arrows leader, David “Murph” Murphy. Other stars included: Ryan Jalbert, Dave Watts, and Gabe Mervine of the Motet, and various members of Euforquestra, YAMN, Rose Hill Drive, Fox Street, the Ryan Bingham Band, Kinetix, Tiger Party, Mountain Standard Time, Analog Sun, Filthy Children, Dynohunter, Rally ‘Round the Family, Ableminds, and performances by Jonah Wisneski, SUCH, Dechen Hawk, Mathenee Treco, and Aubrie Hamrick.
This is essentially the third year of this tradition, which started in a small bar, and has grown out of Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom, and into the Ogden Theatre. I assume we may be in the Fillmore Auditorium one of these years. The last musical party like this by J2G Productions was the Love Shack on Valentine’s Day last year. I was blown away by the performances at that show, so I had high expectations for this one.
As guests arrived at the Ogden Theatre, they passed by the DeLorean parked outside as a symbol of their journey through time referencing the 80’s classic movie Back to the Future. The show opened up with a contemporary posthumously released song by Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake called “Love Never Felt So Good” featuring SUCH on vocals and Jalbert and Murph playing the strings. After, the time machine sound effects rattled us all into the sweet sounds of the 50’s and 60’s. The new performers came on and Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti,” “Cool Jerk” by The Capitols, and “I Got the Feelin’ by James Brown were played.
Then, the venue shook into another time warp, which led us into the 80’s. All the vocalists sounded strong and inspiring as usual, and “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves, “Walk Like and Egyptian” by the Bangles and “Lucky Star” by Madonna were great examples of this. And after one of my favorites of the night, “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie, we time traveled back a decade to the 70’s.
After “Shame,” and two of my other favorite songs of the night, “Give it to Me Baby,” by Rick James and “Keep it Comin’ Love” by KC & the Sunshine the disco party commenced. When our brief visit to the bell bottom days were over, the first set finished with a song from the 00’s called “Anyway,” I believe by Martina McBride.
Backstage was a really fun time at this show. There were so many great musicians and friends, many of whom only get to see one another a few times a year, so the excitement was palpable. This was the first time performers were flown in for these show. The fellas from the Disco Biscuits definitely added a level of magic to the sets.
Beck’s “Sexx Laws” kicked off the second set representing the 90’s. Then came the hip hop with “Still Not a Player” by Big Pun, and the 90’s disco hit “Canned Heat” by Jamiroquai. Quickly though, we were sent back to the 70’s for “I’ll Take You There,” by the Staple Singers, “Blame it On the Boogie,” by the Jacksons, and probably the most spirited song of the night, “Lady Marmalade” by Labelle.
To the modern era again for the most creative set. It was Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me,” LCD Soundsystem’s “Daft Punk is Playing at My House,” and “Robot Rock” by Daft Punk. The dance party reached its climax here in this set.
The 80’s must have been such a difficult era to choose fun dance songs from, but as we went back to them, we heard Phil Collin’s “Sussudio.” The last three 80’s songs were the heat! They were “Blue Monday,” by New Order, “Hungry Like the Wolf,” by Duran Duran, and “1999” by Prince. The show ended with the final trip to the 70’s with “Flashlight” by Parliament and “A Fifty of Beethoven” by Walter Murphy.
The encore of the Dance Party Time Machine was none other than Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” No one in the crowd left disappointed, and once again, one of the best musical parties of the year ended with a bang! I sincerely hope that there will be another incarnation of this in the spring, but if not, I will definitely be looking forward to the next one around this time next year. We never know what surprises J2G Productions have in store for us next, but every time they have one, it just keeps getting better and better each time.