Ten Essential Denver Concerts to End Your Summer Right — 2016 Edition

Misfits' original lineup reunites for the 2016 Denver Riot Fest.
Misfits' original lineup reunites for the 2016 Denver Riot Fest.
Aaron Thackeray

Summer is coming to an end, and that means the beautiful, scorching-hot Colorado weather is going to turn into a beautiful, less-scorching Colorado fall. In just a few weeks, the summer schedule at Red Rocks, Fiddler's Green and Hudson Gardens will be done for the year, and the outdoor festivals will start slowing down. Here are a few shows you need to catch before Halloween becomes the focus.

Dixie Chicks
Dixie Chicks
Courtesy of artist

10. Dixie Chicks
Thursday, September 1, Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre

It’s been thirteen years since the Dixie Chicks were pretty much hung out to dry by an unforgiving country-music establishment after saying at a concert in England that they were against the war in Iraq and were ashamed that then-president Bush was from Texas. The band's popularity dropped like a broken elevator, simply because these extremely talented women expressed their views. Fortunately, they’re made of strong stuff, and not only are they back, they’re thriving again. We hope they never stop talking, or singing and playing.

Bria SkonbergEXPAND
Bria Skonberg

9. Vail Jazz Party
September 1-5, various venues, Vail

A relatively short drive up into the mountains at the start of September could result in a wonderful treat. There’s gold in them there mountains — or at least high-quality brass — in the shape of the Vail Jazz Party. Highlights this year include Canadian singer and trumpeter Bria Skonberg, and thirteen-year-old Indonesian jazz-piano prodigy Joey Alexander.

Fans at Riot Fest 2014. This year's event will be held in August.
Fans at Riot Fest 2014. This year's event will be held in August.
Aaron Thackeray

8. Riot Fest
September 2-4, National Western Complex

The fact that the original Misfits have reunited and will be headlining the final night of Denver Riot Fest this year may be taking all of the headlines, justifiably, but the entire festival promises to be something really special. Jane’s Addiction, Ween, Sleater-Kinney and Nas are the mega-names, while other highlights include Suicidal Tendencies, the Descendents, the Dandy Warhols, Juliette Lewis & the Licks, and Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas. The sun always shines on Riot Fest.

Taylor Dayne
Taylor Dayne
Wikicommons/Luigi Novi

7. A Taste of Colorado
September 2-5, Civic Center Park

While the focus of A Taste of California is the food, the event is also a bit of a nostalgia-fest with the music. Yeah, it all seems a bit “state fair,” but when else would you have an opportunity to hear Taylor Dayne sing “Tell It to My Heart” live? Or anything by Boyz II Men? And that’s before we mention Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Blues Traveler and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Allow yourself a few guilty pleasures, because, honestly, when the snow comes, everybody gets a whole lot more serious.

Wiz Khalifa celebrated 4/20 with Snoop Dogg at Red Rocks in 2014.
Wiz Khalifa celebrated 4/20 with Snoop Dogg at Red Rocks in 2014.
Eric Gruneisen

6. KS 107.5 All-Stars
Sunday, September 4, Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre

This annual super-hot hip-hop event always adds a bit of pizazz to Labor Day weekend, and this year will be no exception. With a bill that features Wiz Khalifa, The Game, Fat Joe, B.O.B. and Kent Jones, you can expect a long evening of tight rhymes. Khalifa put out the excellent Khalifa this year, and we’re about to see a sequel to 2011’s The Rolling Papers, imaginatively titled The Rolling Papers II, so we imagine Wiz may take advantage of the holiday-weekend vibes to try out some new material.

Read on for five more concerts to close out your summer.

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