Playing Red Rocks is a rite of passage for many musicians, and the unique beauty of the venue often prompts particularly inspired performances. Numerous artists have chosen to commemorate their time at one of the country's most iconic venues by filming the sets and using footage of the surrounding Colorado scenery for their music videos. Jurassic 5, for example, after reuniting for "The Way We Do It," released a video for the track with scenes from the group at Winter on the Rocks. As My Morning Jacket explained to Diffuser.fm in 2015, "The spirit and electricity we felt playing at Red Rocks was one of the most magical experiences we’ve ever had.... Now we’re so excited to be able to share that special night with everyone through this video" for "Compound Fracture."
Here are twelve notable music videos, in alphabetical order, filmed at Red Rocks.
Big Head Todd and the Monsters
As special as a Red Rocks show is for out-of-towners, it's even sweeter for bands grown in the Centennial State. Big Head Todd and the Monsters captured the homecoming spirit of its annual show at the venue in this 2008 video for a live performance of "Bittersweet."
B.O.B., "Don't Let Me Fall"
The video for this 2010 single from the hip-hop artist and hook man features footage of B.O.B. in an empty, afternoon-lit Red Rocks, seemingly pumping himself up for the big gig. B.O.B. plays the Moxi Theater in Greeley on June 28.
Dave Matthews Band, "Recently"
At the beginning of this 2008 video, Dave Matthews thanks the crowd, saying, "It really is the most beautiful place to spend the weekend." Amen, Dave.
Gary Allan, "Watching Airplanes"
"Watching Airplanes" was a sky-high hit for country-music vet Gary Allan in 2007, and the official music video documents his show at Red Rocks. The video includes fans singing along, as well as Allan and a love interest looking pensive amid the boulders.
Jason Mraz, "93 Million Miles"
This video begins in outer space before zooming through the atmosphere all the way down to Red Rocks Amphitheatre, where the extraterrestrials find Jason Mraz picking an acoustic in the Colorado dusk. To its credit, the video centers on the loving vibes of fans showing up for a concert and stars swirling overhead. Less compelling footage includes Mraz skateboarding backstage and riding a Vespa.
Mumford and Sons, "I Will Wait"
British neo-folkies Mumford and Sons released a performance video of "I Will Wait" as the first single from their second album, Babel, in 2012. Red Rocks was an apt setting for the band — both for the way its famous acoustics complement the group's a cappella harmonies and as a signal that the up-and-comers had officially made it.
My Morning Jacket, "Compound Fracture"
Louisville rock outfit My Morning Jacket used footage from a Red Rocks show for its video of "Compound Fracture," from the 2015 album The Waterfall — but overlaid the usual crowd and instrument shots with psychedelic colors and effects. In the end, this might be the most accurate reflection of what it's like to go to a show at Red Rocks.
OneRepublic, "I Lived"
OneRepublic is arguably the biggest Colorado-born band in the mainstream, and the group pays tribute to both its fans and roots in this clip. The video for the sixth single off Native focuses on Colorado fan Bryan Warnecke and his achievements while living with cystic fibrosis. It wraps up with lead singer Ryan Tedder driving Warnecke to the band's show at Red Rocks, where they definitely rock out.
Ryan Adams, "Do You Still Love Me?"
The video for Ryan Adams's first single from his latest album, Prisoner, opens with the denim-clad songwriter rolling on his back on stage in an empty Red Rocks. The raggedy-haired country rocker delivers a soulful performance, every cymbal crash accompanied by Red Rocks' dramatically lit setting.
Stevie Nicks, "Edge of Seventeen"
Red Rocks crowds are often more excited than usual, but have you ever heard a venue more electric than this one? This clip, from Stevie Nicks's 1987 Live at Red Rocks documentary, features the gloriously excruciating buildup of "Edge of Seventeen" before Nicks shows up in a white fringed cape and a perm that looms like the monumental sandstone.
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Train ft. Ashley Monroe, "Bruises"
In this video, Train lead singer Patrick Monahan wanders around the Red Rocks grounds, singing in correspondence with Ashley Monroe, who's folding laundry at home. The band seems to use Red Rocks as shorthand for the peak of musical success, contrasted with Monroe's vocal character, who's portrayed as still working the Nashville clubs.
U2, "Sunday Bloody Sunday"
This is the ur-Red Rocks music video: the iconic performance recorded for U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky. Despite alarming weather that led to cancellations by the openers and no-shows from half the crowd, the 1983 show went on with torches blazing atop the rocks, changing U2's career trajectory, turning the act into what every musician filming at the venue hopes to achieve.