When Red Rocks hosts five days of concerts with Nathaniel Rateliff — on September 15, 16, 18, 19 and 21 — a maximum of 175 attendees will be allowed into the nearly 10,000-seat venue. While this is far from the overflow crowd that Denver has grown to expect for Rateliff, it will be the first time the Missouri-born, Denver-based singer-songwriter has played in front of actual humans since the spring.
“We want to get out there and play,” says Rateliff in a statement. “We feel so fortunate that Red Rocks is our hometown venue and look forward to having people at normal capacities in the future. But until that time, it will feel great to make the best of the current situation; we want to get back to that live energy. These shows will be special for us, and hopefully the fans, as we will have our full production, custom light show and projections that were featured on the original tour that was unfortunately cancelled.”
Rateliff was nine days into his And It's Still Alright tour on March 12, when COVID-19 forced him to cancel the band's schedule. In the months that followed, he's played a number of live-stream concerts, including a recent one from Red Rocks, for Visible; he's written a song for Willie Nelson's birthday; he's worked with the State of Colorado to promote mask-wearing amid the pandemic; and he's launched a boycott of Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre over a Greenwood Village resolution that would protect police from individual responsibility in excessive-force cases. Bandmate Joseph Pope even painted a mural touting the virtues of social distancing.
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The upcoming shows will be among the few, along with some Colorado Symphony performances, that will take place at Red Rocks during the rest of 2020; in the weeks to come, Denver Arts & Venues, the city agency that manages the facility, plans to shut down its venues and furlough its staff.
Rateliff will perform solo and with a ten-piece folk band that includes a string quartet. The eccentric and ever-compelling Kevin Morby will open the concerts.
There will be a lottery for tickets, which are general admission, with a few higher-priced tickets guaranteeing entry. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Wednesday, September 9, at AXS. All proceeds will go to the Marigold Project, Rateliff's foundation promoting economic, racial and social justice.