Harmonica convergence: John Popper leads Blues 
    Traveler at Red Rocks Thursday and Friday.
Harmonica convergence: John Popper leads Blues Traveler at Red Rocks Thursday and Friday.

This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, July 3

Who's warming up Red Rocks for the Dead? John Popper and the rest of Blues Traveler, of course, continuing what's become their annual tradition of spending the Fourth under the stars at Colorado's most awesome natural amphitheater. Gates open today and tomorrow at 4 p.m. for shows that begin at 6; openers include Colorado-bred jam-grassers Leftover Salmon tonight and reggae heir Ziggy Marley tomorrow. Tickets, dudes, are $32.50 and then some; get yours by calling 303-830-TIXS or logging on to www.ticketmaster.com.

Friday, July 4

Wet and wild: This year's moisture ensures that Independence Day fireworks are back throughout the state, from drought-ravaged Aurora (where the pyrotechnics will go off after dark in Bicentennial Park) to environmentally correct Boulder (where Folsom Field hosts a big blast complete with a live orchestra) and up in the hills ('works are in the works everywhere, from Estes Park to Telluride). Stars in your eyes are a guaranteed attraction, but what about the rest of the day? The Denver Concert Band performs its patriotic fare (and more) twice today: at noon at Four Mile Historic Park, 715 South Forest Street (303-399-1859), and from 4 to 6 p.m. at the new Carousel Pavilion, 38th Avenue and Tennyson Street, in Highlands Garden Village. At higher Front Range altitudes, the Gold Hill Inn, 401 Main Street, Gold Hill, holds its annual barbecue today from noon to 5 p.m.; there's music, featuring Richard Greene and friends, Gerry C. and the Zydeco Playboys, and Pete Fiori and John Ridnell, along with the crispy chicken and trimmings. (Admission is $12 for the tunes only, $12 for food; children get in for half price. Call 303-443-6461 or log on to www.goldhillinn.com.) West on I-70, an hour from the metro area, Georgetown hosts a daylong affair, with a parade, bucket brigade, live music and more, polished off by fireworks over Guanella Pass; for details, call 303-569-2555, ext. 2, or log on to www.clearcreekcounty.org. And tonight, lights of another kind will glow at Chatfield State Park, where a beautiful fleet of decorated sailboats and yachts will light up the reservoir after dark. But if you're looking for a pure knockout of an Independence Day experience, Six Flags Elitch Gardens has an offer that packs more wow! per minute than just about anything else in town. Spend the day going over, under, sideways, up and down in the amusement park, then board a shuttle for Invesco Field, where your all-inclusive ticket gains you admission to tonight's Colorado Rapids soccer game versus Kansas City, followed by the hands-down most spectacular fireworks show anywhere around. Tickets are $27 (Elitch Gardens season-pass holders can purchase Rapids tickets only, for $13 each); buy them at the park gate or by logging on to www.ticketmaster.com. For additional information about July 4 activities, click on Community Events and Summer! guide listings at www.westword.com.

Saturday, July 5

Ain't no mountain high enough: The blues will climb to new heights today at the inaugural Grand County Blues Festival at SolVista Golf and Ski Ranch near Granby, with a lineup as awesome as the surrounding landscape: Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers, Bernard Allison, Tab Benoit, Reneé Austin and Tempa and the Tantrums will all wail, moan and rave it up throughout the day; for tickets, $45 to $50 (free for children under twelve), call 1-800-977-6198 or log on to www.grandblues.org. Gates open at 10:30 a.m.; for information about SolVista, call 1-866-765-8478 or log on to www.solvista.com.

Does anyone really miss (or wonder about) the '70s? Sure they do, and the new musical revue, 8-Track: The Sounds of the ¹70s, making its regional premiere this weekend at the Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 West Main Street, Littleton, provides the perfect overview. The show serves up an onslaught of tunes by the Carpenters, the Bee Gees, Barry Manilow and a host of other cultural relics that defined an entire leisure-suited era. 8-Track runs Thursdays through Sundays through August 10, opening with tonight's 8 p.m. performance; for showtimes and tickets, $23 to $29, call 303-794-2787 or log on to www.townhallartscenter.com.

Sunday, July 6

Perhaps it's just a little more poignant, falling as it does on the backside of America's Independence Day: Today's World Tibet Day Celebration in Boulder draws attention to a culture in exile, but it does so with an upbeat attitude. Enjoy Tibetan music, dance, art and food, along with cultural displays that include a re-creation of a Tibetan living room, today from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Boulder's Central Park, Broadway and Canyon Boulevard; the event is being held in conjunction with similar festivities around the world in celebration of the Dalai Lama's birthday. Call 303-487-9016.

Monday, July 7

Middle-of-the-road pop romantics will have their night tonight at 7 at Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre, 6350 South Greenwood Plaza Boulevard, Greenwood Village, when boyish crooner John Mayer teams up with Counting Crows for a snuggly al fresco evening of music. For tickets, $35 to $45, call 303-830-TIXS or log on to www.ticketmaster.com.

Tuesday, July 8

An educated look at Colorado's unique high-altitude alpine flora is a main draw, but the Denver Botanic Gardens-sponsored Mount Goliath Wildflower Tours also afford participants a welcome breath of fresh air. That's something that can only be experienced on a pristine mountainside -- in this case, along the M. Walter Pesman Trail, an interpretive site located off the Mount Evans Scenic Byway. Knowledgeable guides lead the tours on a 1.5-mile downhill path from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through August 7; admission is free, but reservations are required. For details, call 720-865-3533.

Wednesday, July 9

Kick out the jams: Free-thinking, finger-slapping Primus bassist Les Claypool ironically plays by the book. But fortunately for his legion of fans, it's a book only Claypool could have written: Claypool's Frog Brigade, a conglomeration of smokin' Bay Area musicians he's played with on and off over the past few years, is the current forum for the South Park theme-song composer's aural adventures. The band, which once re-created Pink Floyd's Animals album in its entirety, has moved on to Purple Onion, a collection of original material (though Floyd tunes still infiltrate the mix on stage); hear them live tonight at 8 at the Universal Lending Pavilion, adjacent to the Pepsi Center. Tickets are $25; call 303-830-TIXS or log on to www.ticketmaster.com.


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