An animated, serene warmth swept through the Red Rocks Amphitheatre audience night one for highly-anticipated—and two year delayed—Rising Appalachia, Trevor Hall, Citizen Cope, and Gone Gone Beyond this past Thursday, April 28th. Throughout the night, every artist expressed their deep gratitude, excitement and appreciation of their fans’ patience throughout the delays of the show.
Gone Gone Beyond ignited the Red Rocks performance with “Things are Changing,” before transitioning into “Canyons” and a beautifully, vocally highlighted “Riptide.” Continuing, they played fan-favorites, “By the Sea” and “Little Moon,” from their latest album release titled “2030,” and concluded with their melodic and passionate tunes, “Another Earth” and “Coast.”
Next, world-traveling folk sister-duo, Leah and Chloe Smith of Rising Appalachia, gracefully took the stage. For nearly two decades, Rising Appalachia has merged multiple global music influences with their own southern roots. Their music is lush in form, deep in ardor, and rooted in activism, insinuating a virtuous, reframed view of the world.
Leah and Chloe’s vocals radiated throughout the amphitheater with “Bright Morning Stars,” a song from the Costa Rican Bribri First Nation. They stood directly behind their painted “Resilient” sign positioned on the stage as the amphitheater dropped deafeningly silent. The way they completely captured the audience’s audience was admiral in the purest form.
The duet sing-along transitioned into “Wider Circles” as their band members came onstage, and the sensuous sound of strings surfaced with massive percussion support from Biko Casini (world percussion, n’goni).
The audience erupted in delight at “Swoon” next, with Duncan Wickel (fiddle, cello) perfectly accenting the ladies’ harmonic intersections. Following, Leah commented on the hard trials and tribulations of the last two years—and how powerful “channeling the parts within” is—as they started a beautiful rendition of “Make Magic.”
Next from Rising Appalachia was their dedicated love song, “Harmonize.” The music was dense and so smoothly delivered, that a collective impactful sensation struck every attendee, deep gratitude projecting through their eyes.
“Catalyst” followed, from their latest album release, The Lost Mystique of Being in the Know. Leah briefed the audience of the inspiration and ideation of the album, and brought on a special guest on the banjo, X, whomst the album was created with. The band members, exempt from Leah and Chloe, then exited the stage.
A beautiful, poetic “Resilience” came next from Leah and Chloe, as the lyrics “Make a mighty roar…” erupted from the crowd into the night. The delightfully primitive noises ricocheted throughout the amphitheater, as daytime turned to night with accompanying orange and pink hues.
The duo’s supporting musicians returned to the stage with fierce energy, transitioning the set into a hefty, folk-string jam session, and showcasing each individual band member's talents in concluding the set.
A stillness present throughout the amphitheater that evening was rooted in collective gratitude, respect and admiration of the raw talent coming from the stage, and was later commented on directly from Rising Appalachia:
“Music is a joyful noise. A mighty yawp over the rooftops of the world. It feels so good to be playing for you all again after our collective uncertain hiatus, at Red Rocks to say the least…natural amphitheater of stone and dust in Colorado’s highlands. We could hear a pin drop during soft songs, then hear all the hoots and howls on the rowdy ones. It tickled the skin. This art is not meant for screens and keyboard, but blood and bone, throat and sweat. A living breathing organization that needs humans to gather in joyous form to give and receive sound…”
Citizen Cope appeared next, as Clarence Greenwood took the stage with a light, accompanying drum roll to “Hurricane Waters.” Other fan-favorites were played, including “Sideways” and “Let the Drummer Kick.”
Trevor Hall then took the stage to a highly vibrational crowd applause. His solo acoustics rang throughout the amphitheater, as he opened with “To Zion” transitioned into “Moon & Sun,” and guided the way to “The Mountain” via passionate guitar solos…all before giving his own shout-out to the crowd about his appreciation of finally getting to play for them after a long-awaited two years.
Trevor next played “My Own,” adding his rendition of Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved” at the end. The same sequence followed with “Bowl of Light” morphing into a jammed-out version of Foo Fighters’ “Everlong.”
Trevor’s Road to Red Rocks Tour was accompanied by Gone Gone Beyond, who were brought to the stage right as a light sprinkle of rain hit the amphitheater. Following was the track “Green Mountain State.” Afterward, Trevor brought out guest and co-creator, Marieme, with a monologue about the importance of mental health as they performed their song “Two Oceans” together.
The set continued with an epic and momentous visit from Leah and Chloe for a collective version of Trevor’s fan-favorite, “Lime Tree.”
The conclusion of the set radiatied with passion and appreciation for the reunion of all musical acts in the same place…under the Colorado sky…in harmony.