Most years, I make it up to Red Rocks for just one show. It has to be a real occasion -- something to make it worth the drive, the parking, the overpriced beers and the difficulty of escaping once the show is over. Two years ago, I made the journey for Ozomatli, and I left when the headliner, Los Lonely Boys, launched into its onanistic set. Last year, it was Daft Punk, I think. This year, I thought Leonard Cohen was going to be the one show worth the hassle -- one beautiful, magical, once-in-a-lifetime moment up in the hills to catch a performer I've longed to see for more than twenty years. Turns out I was wrong. Tonight, I'm heading up for the third time this summer, so far.
It's not that I have anything against Red Rocks. In fact, I think we should be extremely proud to have such a stunning and truly awesome venue in our backyard, owned and operated by our own city government. In this, as in so many musical riches, we're very lucky. It's just such an event. I mean, I have to pack up rain gear to avoid getting drenched (as I did in 2000 at the infamous Neil Young show), fill up my flask to avoid spending all my money on bad beer, and deal with surly parking lot attendants in their blinding vests. I have to stretch out of my easy, comfortable world of Denver's readily accessible dives, with their cheap drinks, adequate sound systems and, above all, roofs.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.