The amphitheater sits at the base of the Dillon Reservoir surrounded by mountains and massive evergreens. The low hanging clouds change to vibrant colors as the sun slowly sinks behind the peaks. Shakey Graves told the audience he was in awe of the setting. During the show, the crowd became in awe of him.
Born Alejandro Rose-Garcia, the performer started as in actor in the Friday Night Lights television series and The Spy Kids movies. He has been using the alias Shakey Graves ever since his friends jokingly gave themselves Native American guide names at a music festival in 2007. He gained notoriety as a one-man band with his unusual suitcase drum kit.
Watching the young crowd fill the venue, I noticed there were a shocking amount of concert goers wearing black or tan oversized hats (a few wore pink ones). Taking the stage, Shakey Graves sported a white cowboy hat (he’s from Texas after all) and a sweatshirt. Graves announced a few solo numbers will be performed before bringing out the band (the peculiar hat situation was never addressed). The songs showcased his impressive guitar picking with his signature suitcase drum echoing through the amphitheater.
Graves removed his sweatshirt to reveal his undershirt (a little something for the ladies). That’s when the band joined him onstage wearing sequined black blazers. A band member brought Graves a matching sparkly jacket that he wore for the rest of the night. That’s when the band played his big hit Dearly Departed. In place of his duet partner on the recording (Colorado’s own Esmé Patterson), Graves had the audience sing the first verse (not my favorite move because the musician always sounds better than the drunk hipster next to me). Graves took over the vocals and the lights reflected off the band’s jackets to create a glorious visual. Introducing Dining Alone, Graves said the meaning of the song has changed from loneliness to last year’s lockdown life. “Same old shoes on the same old feet/Same colored tie, every day of the week/Shampoo, conditioner, rinse and repeat/Drip dry, do it again.”
In tribute to Graves’ favorite singer, one of the closing songs was David Bowie’s Starman (sung with a perfect British accent). Over the course of the night, the one-man band transformed into an incredible frontman. The crowd walked away blown away still wearing fashionable hats.
Just like much of the audience, the opener Tré Burt came out wearing an oversized tan hat. He informed the crowd that the altitude is no joke. That’s when the singer-song writer cheered the audience with his own supply of canned oxygen. Burt explained the breathing issue is because he’s from Sacramento, California which is 34 feet above sea level compared to Dillion, Colorado which is 9,111 feet above sea level. Before making a living as a musician, Burt worked maintenance at an airport and a condominium complex. Burt revealed to the audience that during the slow times on those jobs he wrote songs. That’s how he introduced What Good – “Time like a howlin’ jet plane takin’ off for good/I’m but a passenger I never said I understood/What good does the flyin’ do, what good?” His voice can be compared to a young Bob Dylan with the dark lyrical images of Townes Van Zandt. Burt was signed to John Prine’s Oh, Boy Records label when Director of Operations Jody Whelan discovered his self-released album on-line. His next album You, Yeah, You will be out on August 27th.
See you at the next show. I’ll be wearing a sequin jacket with an oversized hat.