Reader: Mission Ballroom Is Cool, but Red Rocks Is Religious

Jeff Tweedy at the Mission Ballroom on November 19.
Jeff Tweedy at the Mission Ballroom on November 19.
Jon Solomon

Wilco played a sold-out show at the Mission Ballroom last month. Taking a break after playing “Box Full of Letters,” from Wilco's debut 1995 album, A.M., Jeff Tweedy said that he preferred the Mission to Red Rocks.

“Red Rocks is pretty and everything, but this...I feel you all,” he told the audience. “I can feel you. I don’t like being outside. We played in a snowstorm there one time. Fuck that shit! No rock band should ever have to play in a snowstorm. And we played in several. It’s true.”

Plenty of music fans agree with his assessment of the Mission. Says Christopher:

I was super-impressed with the sound and scale of Mission Ballroom. Nothing compares to the Red Rocks experience, but props to MB. Wilco rocked it!

Suggests James:

Red Rocks tends to attract non-music fans, which dampens the crowd vibes. Also, the sound is pretty weak at Red Rocks, especially on windy days. Mission has a top-of-the line D&B rig.

Replies Drew: 

So true. Red Rocks has turned into amateur hour.

Counters Rafael: 

Mission Ballroom is cool, but Red Rocks is a religious experience!

 Adds Tessa: 

Seriously!! If I was only in it for the sound quality, I'd listen at home.

But then there's this from Rob: 

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You obviously weren't here when Red Rocks was a true experience. Back when you could actually get in early after sleeping on the road. Back when the people at the show were there for the bands. Back when deer and elk were common on the hills. Back when Boob Rock was a place to pull over after a show to chill...that was Red Rocks. Now it's a joke.

Responds Adam: 

Obligatory "OK boomer." Why pit Red Rocks and Mission against each other? How about they're both awesome, fun venues that offer different experiences for one to enjoy a show?

Concludes Tyson:

The last few times Wilco was at Red Rocks was perfect sound! But I always make sure to get good reserved seats, which makes a huge difference. This city has the best outdoor venue, and although I've only been to Mission once, I'd say it's pretty rad, too. Win win!

While Tweedy said he felt closer to the audience at the Mission, the sound was immensely better as well, with a lot of detail and nuance. Whether it was guitar wiz Nels Cline scraping behind the bridge of a vintage Fender Jazzmaster, multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone playing xylophone, or drummer Glenn Kotche playing any one of his various percussion instruments, it wouldn’t have sounded nearly as well-defined at Red Rocks, reviewer Jon Solomon noted.

The Mission was a fitting space to celebrate a big anniversary. At the November 19 show, before he brought up Red Rocks, Tweedy noted that the band had officially been performing concerts for 25 years...and two days. “Two days!” he said. “So that’s gotta be really exciting for you to be here on such an amazing occasion."

Were you at the Wilco show? What do you think of the Mission Ballroom? Post a comment or email your thoughts to editorial@westword.com.

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