Concert Reviews

John Hickenlooper's Surreal Inauguration Concert Wasn't About Politics

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Among this year's donors to Colorado Up were thirteen "gold"-level sponsors (a threshold marked by contributions over $25,000), including a couple of health-care companies, four oil-and-gas companies and Vail Resorts. There are 44 companies that gave over $10,000 and another eleven that gave at least $2,500. Colorado Up spokesman Ben Davis says the organization attracts donors primarily for non-political reasons. "They're trying to be good corporate citizens," he says. Still, he notes that for many of the companies, "there's no question that supporting the current governor is on the agenda." Either way, though, Davis argues that credit for the star power of the show at the Ogden belongs not with his organization or its piggy bank but with Hickenlooper himself. "I think the funding was not even remotely the reason for the concert," he says. "The governor has built strong relationships with the artists that support Colorado around the world, and that relationship goes both directions."

How exactly Hickenlooper's role as a Colorado music fan relates to his role as governor is tricky. He has made it a point in previous interviews to emphasize that he doesn't want to impose his own hobbies on policies that affect a diverse state of more than five million people. So his support of the music scene here is mostly confined to the byproducts of his own enthusiasm: plenty of people (and businesses) will follow a governor's lead in one way or another.

It was clear last week at the Ogden that Hickenlooper wasn't thinking about work. He'd already given his speeches, and he was ready to simply enjoy the show. • BACKBEAT'S GREATEST HITS •
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Kiernan Maletsky is a former Westword intern.
Contact: Kiernan Maletsky

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