If you’ve never been, you really can’t imagine how beautiful Colorado is as a whole. My dad moved out there last January, and ever since the first time I visited, I was hooked. I went to visit him on my spring break this year, and my dad suggested I check out Westword, an entertainment and music magazine. That’s where I saw it.
May 31. Feist. Bon Iver. Red Rocks Amphitheater.
I immediately demanded a plane ticket, and bought my tickets as soon as they went on sale. I was ecstatic, but I really had no idea what I was in for.
After months of waiting, I finally flew out to CO a couple of days before the show, anxiously awaiting that Thursday night. My dad had been to Red Rocks before, embellishing – or so I thought at the time – how beautiful the amphitheater is and warning me, “Oh, there are some stairs. Kind of a lot. But not a big deal.”
I mean, I’d been to the mountains. I’d gone to Garden of the Gods. But I was not prepared. At all.
On the drive there, I was in constant danger of running off the road because I was obsessing over how beautiful this place was. I parked my car, trying to seem chill about being there, and snapped pictures of lots of rocks that I thought were especially beautiful.
I was half-following, half-creeping on this couple, trying to make my way to the actual amphitheater because I had no idea where I was going.
Then I saw them. The stairs. “No big deal,” he said.
I seriously wanted to die. I climbed and climbed, trying to pretend as if I wasn’t about to pass out. (Thanks a lot, asthma.)
When I finally reached my seat, I was sure I’d never come back here and risk my life climbing those damn stairs again. But then I looked up and saw for miles.
I was in row 37, so I could see up and over the giant stage. It was unbelievable.
Once I bought a drink, some merch and settled back down, The Staves took the stage, and I was completely blown away. They weren’t listed on the ticket or on the listing I’d seen in Westword, so I had no idea they were playing. The three British singers were so on-point throughout the whole set, even while playing their instruments and singing in three-part harmony. I seriously cannot get enough of their music. Their lyrics are so heart-felt and beautiful that I was in complete awe. Okay, fine, I cried over their lyrics that night. It was all just too perfect.
Then Feist took the stage, and everything got even more perfect. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but it sure as hell wasn’t what I saw. Feist is so energetic and entertaining and so talented. I listen to Feist when it comes on shuffle; I don’t normally seek out their music, but at Red Rocks, Feist commanded my attention, and they got it.
Although Feist was super entertaining, and everyone was dancing, singing and having a great time, there was a surge of energy as soon as they went off stage. I knew what everyone was thinking: Bon Iver is next.
Bon Iver owned Red Rocks that night. With two drummers and an array of instruments uncommon in popular indie music, it was definitely a show that rivals my most treasured concert memories (i.e. Any Eisley show ever and the night Mansions played “Curacao Blue”).
And as cheesy as it may seem, the most epic part of the night was when Bon Iver played – you guessed it – “Skinny Love.” It wasn’t because it’s their hit song. It wasn’t because it’s my favorite. It isn’t even because it’s a wonderful song. It’s because Red Rocks was sold out that night. More than 9,000 people filled the amphitheater, and I honestly don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that everyone sang “Skinny Love.” Together. (And I cried.)
Music is such a personal thing; everyone has that one song (or two. Or three.) that really speaks to the heart. That pulls bits and pieces from every part of you and somehow combines them into something so aurally pleasing, you just want to live in those notes forever. I’m willing to bet that “Skinny Love” is that song for a lot of people that were there that night. “Skinny Love” isn’t that one song for me, but I don’t think there’s anyone out there who can’t connect with it at all. Everyone understands it. And I don’t know if you’ve ever been on the same page, in the same mindset, saying the same words with the same intensity as 9,000 other people, but let me tell you, it’s amazing.
I’m not going to pretend I’m the biggest Bon Iver/Feist/The Staves fan just because of this show, but let me just say this. My job requires that I go to a lot of concerts. They’re always fun, but I don’t always remember the details of all of them. But I can say with confidence that I will remember the way I felt on May 31 for the rest of my life. And that’s more than enough for me.