Concert Reviews

Sara Bareilles Drops Five F-Bombs on Suburban Denver Park: Ten Eyewitness Accounts

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4. Two couples from Parker, Beth and Brian Rorick and Al and Carrie Whitehouse, got to the Chatfield Botanic Gardens an hour and a half after Hannah Bradford and her mother. They were looking less to see a formative hero in person than they were looking for a good excuse to use a recently purchased, very high-quality wooden picnic table, designed for the use of people sitting around it on blankets.

They tested the limits of Chatfield's blasé food policy, bringing, among other things, a basket of fried chicken from King Soopers. Their only regret? That they couldn't bring a nice wine to pair with their feast. They thought about stealing a bottle from the shockingly well appointed VIP lounge, but settled for buying aluminum bottles of Coors Light -- "a local microbrew," noted Al, grinning.

A brief concern spread through the party when the security guard with the yardstick wandered by. Was their table too tall? "I can lower it," said Al, pointing at the adjustment holes in the table's legs. A fine piece of picnic furniture, indeed.

5. Sara Bareilles herself introduced opener Emily King, lauding her songwriting abilities. After the set, King stood by the merch tents, talking to the organizers of the concert and mingling with fans. One such fan, wearing an "I <3 Sara Bareilles" T-shirt, breathlessly related to King an anecdote I only caught snippets of: "Your song" and "boyfriend" and "love" and "first." She told King that she'd been right up front, singing along to every word. "I don't know if you saw me," she said nervously.

"I did!" replied King.

6. When you decide to get married at the (again, beautiful) Chatfield Botanic Gardens, a line in your contract with the venue notifies you that it may host up to five concerts per year, and that if your wedding falls in the summer season, you may be sharing the grounds with over 5,000 concert-goers as well as the concert itself.

There was a wedding the night Sara Bareilles played the Botanic Gardens; there was also a wedding the night before, during Barenaked Ladies. The wedding venue is separated from the concert amphitheater by a stand of trees, a creek and a small hill -- a couple hundred yards at most.

Frankie, a Gardens employee, stood guard at the road leading from the concert parking lot to the wedding barn with its bistro lights. He was there the night before, too. I stood with him at the edge of the road, well out of sight of the proceedings of either event but still within clear earshot of both. One of the bride's sisters was delivering a tearful toast. Sara Bareilles and her seven-piece band were sending Adult Contemporary chart killers across the prairie. I asked Frankie (not his actual name, in case this could somehow get him in trouble) how many times a member of the wedding party had commented on the crystal-clear concert going on right behind them. He said none. He said, in fact, that he'd casually asked the people at the Barenaked Ladies wedding if they'd been affected and that "98 percent" reported that they weren't.

That's a lie. An incredibly well-meaning lie, but definitely a lie. Sara Bareilles cracked a joke or tossed off the word "shit" or something. As the crowd over the hill roared, the bride's sister told the groom he'd better never, ever dream of hurting his new wife.

"I got married right over the road, by the reservoir," Frankie said to me. He told me about his ceremony: He and his wife and the officiant ascended in a hot-air balloon while the guests sat watching. It sounded beautiful. "It rained all afternoon," said Frankie," and no one left. We've been married fourteen years, and every day still feels like an adventure."

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Kiernan Maletsky is Westword's music editor. His writing has appeared in alt-weeklies around the country as well as Miley Cyrus's mom's Twitter feed.
Contact: Kiernan Maletsky