Lyle Lovett and Margo Price at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO on 9/4/18

Lyle Lovett and his Large Band

Tuesday night was Lyle Lovett’s 21st time performing at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. In recognition of this monumental achievement, the legendary venue inducted him into their Hall of Fame. They also presented Lovett a custom Vortic watch made in Fort Collins, Colorado. I have seen him 15 out of those 21 times (I did not receive a custom watch). With world-class musicians playing a combination of heart felt country, dirty blues, and swinging jazz, Lyle Lovett and his Large Band will always be my favorite show of the summer.

 

Francine Reed and Lyle Lovett

After an audience member shouted out a request for The Grateful Dead’s A Friend of the Devil, Lovett obliged. Instead of the original light happy version, Lovett’s interpretation is dark and haunting. I first heard him perform the song at Red Rocks on August 9th 1995 the day Jerry Garcia died. A chill ran through me as soon as the first chord was strummed.

Nat King Cole’s jazz standards Gee, Baby Ain’t I Good to You and Straighten Up and Fly Right were sung as duets with his sensational long time vocalist Francine Reed. The two danced together as different members of the band took solos. Lovett’s own classic What Do You Do/Glory of Love delivered clever lines to the delight of the audience – “What do you think you /See I’m not that kind of /Affair is fair/And right is/Right around the corner/Just a block or/So you know come morning/You’ll have to leave/Everything to me.

Lyle Lovett – All photos by
The Rock and Roll Princess

Crowd favorites Cowboy Man, She Makes me Feel Good, and If I Had a Boat were applauded as loudly as the slightly older than me crowd could muster. The way Lovett delivers his witty lyrics draws your attention. I smile ever time he says, “Lord I can’t believe what I see/How could you be alone/When you could sit right here beside me girl/And make yourself at home” from the song I’ve Been to Memphis. The only new song was Twelfth of June. It sounded amazing and makes me hopeful for a new album that Lovett has promised to record soon. Opener Margo Price joined him on stage to perform Walk Through the Bottomland originally recorded with Emmylou Harris on Lovett’s 1989 Pontiac album. He stated he liked watching Price perform and hoped to sing with her again soon. Fingers crossed it will happen again next summer when he comes back to Red Rocks for the 22nd time.

Margo Price

Playing Red Rocks was a bucket list gig for country artist Margo Price. She pulled out all the stops for the occasion. Price got the crowd’s attention immediately when she stepped on stage in a metallic David Bowie inspired jumpsuit by costume designer Elizabeth NeSmith. During Cocaine Cowboys, Price played the drums and sang while the band went into an Allman Brothers like jam. Price played the piano alone to perform American Made – “I wonder if the president gets much sleep at night/And if the folks on welfare are making it all right/I’m dreaming of that highway that stretches out of sight/That’s all American made.” She closed with Hurtin'(On The Bottle) with Willie Nelson’s Whiskey River slipped in the middle. Price held notes just a little longer treasuring the amphitheatre’s impressive national acoustics.

See you at the next show. I’ll be the one dancing to Nat King Cole songs wearing a metallic jumpsuit.

Eric Church with Cam at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO on 8/10/16

Entering into the historic venue of Red Rocks Amphitheatre on a beautiful summer night, I noticed the unofficial uniform of the modern country music fan.  The majority of guys wore short sleeve plaid shirts and a great number of girls dressed in shorts with cowboy boots.  Not just cowboy boots, but a vast array of brands, designs, and colors (my thesis: Women’s Cowboy Boots and their Place in Society will be published soon).   The crowd had a laid back calm about them that you don’t normal find attending other genres of music.  With that easy-going attitude in the air, it was nice not having to fight over seats in the general admission section.

Eric Church

From Granite Falls, North Carolina, Eric Church moved to Nashville, Tennessee after getting a Marketing degree at Appalachian State.  Church started writing hits for other musicians and eventually got to perform his own songs.  He built a loyal following with his extensive touring and heartfelt lyrics.  Eric Church sold out his two shows at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in just minutes.  This was the second night of a mostly stripped down set list.

Eric Church came out wearing sunglasses and a black leather jacket.  Not only did it make him look cool, it blocks the bright lights that dry out his eyes and give him painful headaches.  That explains the sunglasses at night, but I don’t have any answers about the leather jacket in August.  Church started out strong with just an acoustic guitar performing Springsteen.  It’s about how memories of a teenage romance come back to him when he hears a Bruce Springsteen song with clever references to The Boss’ lyrics.  “It’s funny how a melody sounds like a memory.”  It was not played the prior night.   If you only attended the first night, you should be jealous.

Cam and Eric Church wearing their sunglasses at night

Opening act Cam, wearing matching Eric Church like sunglasses, came out to sing back up on Like Jesus Does.  She was awe struck by performing with Church at the legendary venue. Their voices harmonized nicely and bounced off the rocks to the ecstatic crowd.

Church’s band only performed with him for a few songs.  When they did perform, the musicians snuck in from the sides of the stage.  A large group of fans were sitting on the sides almost hiding the band.  Peyton Manning was sitting in those prime seats during the first night.

These Boots

Eric Church and his band had the crowd singing and using props to the alcohol fueled songs Drink in My Hand (the crowd held up their drinks during the chorus) and These Boots (the crowd held up their boots… that’s right, their boots during the chorus).

Being close to Cripple Creek, Colorado inspired Church to cover The Band’s Up On Cripple Creek. The young crowd impressively sang along to every word of the 1969 classic.  If you only attended the first night, you should be jealous because it was the only night he performed it. Another amazing cover was one of my all time favorite songs Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.  With just his guitar, Church sang with such strong emotion you could tell the song was one of his favorites as well.  He didn’t perform Talladega which he did the first night.  If you were there that night, I am jealous.

Cam – All photos by people in better seats than me

Cam was the opening act.  She replaced Maren Morris who opened the show on the first night.   Cam was born Camaron Ochs from the San Francisco Bay Area in California.  The curly blonde haired singer’s grandparents ran a nearby ranch giving her a love of country music.  Like Eric Church she started out as a successful songwriter. Her charisma and talent eventually lead her to record and perform her own songs.

Cam came out wearing a colorful yellow and white ensemble.  She expressed how honored she was to play Red Rocks.  Cam introduced her song Fireball Whiskey by describing a morning after drinking and finding puke on her boots.  She some how made the bodily fluid story charming.

Cam’s song Village described her attempt to help her friend through the pain of her brother’s death.   “Cause your whole heart is a village/Everyone you love has built it/And I’ve been working there myself/And that’s where I’ll be/With a front-row seat/To watch you live your life well.”  This almost made all the plaid shirt and cowboy boot wearing audience tear up.  Giving her instant fans.

Cam ended her set with her Grammy Award nominated Burning House.  It’s just a matter of time before she headlines the venue.

See you at the next show.  I will be the one wearing a plaid shirt with a drink in one hand and a boot in the other.