How do you go to so many shows? I get asked that not infrequently. And in some ways, i get it. Most people have an artist or two that they want to see, they get tickets, and they go. They know what they are going for, they pay for it, and they go for a special night. Sure there are the frustrations of parking, dinner, the neighborhood, lines, and on and on and on… but they deal, because it’s a special night to see THE ARTIST they want to see.
For me it’s different. The one show by the one artist on that one day is not enough. I need more, and have made choices that allow for more.
First, I live close to where all the things happen in downtown Denver. It’s a quick cheap Lyft to and from, so it’s not a journey or effort to get to an event. I totally get that for many people, going out is a logistical mine field. Driving to unfamiliar places, seeing odd shit, dealing with weird people. So much can go wacky and destroy a night. I’m close, so logistically, it’s pretty simple.
Over the last many years, Denver has substantially improved on the number of shows that come through. We used to be the mid-week stop over only for the major tours, but we’ve become a must have for many. Of course for bigger tours, Red Rocks is the crown jewel. And I shit you not, it’s amazing. If your favorite band is playing there, make it a destination trip. For all other size bands, we have an amazing range of venues that can match any band’s audience. Many city’s venues go from 250 for locals and then you have to jump to 5000 or more with nothing in between. We have great scaling range. Whatever you draw, there’s a venue to fit.
So back to me (this is my site, right?) Second, I don’t do many other things. People ask “Did you see the new BLAH BLAH episode?” No. I did not. I don’t see most shows until the middle of winter when there are no bands touring through Denver because the passes through the mountains are closed. I work in the day, and I go see bands or hang out at a bar talking about seeing bands. Several of my favorite venues – Lost Lake, Bluebird, Goosetown, Lion’s Lair – are all a handful of blocks from my house. There is always someone playing.
Third, I’m not picky. I want to be present for every band. I don’t just want to see the biggest band that i remember from my teen years, I want to seen them all. New artists, any genre, any style (with the exception of country music, but that’s a different post), there is so much incredible music happening, LIVE, in the venue down the street from me (and you) and i want to hear it all. I want to be present for the artist in person, to see, hear, and feel what they have created. I want to hear what I haven’t heard. A new take on life. Expand my perspective and let me hear your story. Mainstream radio won’t let you share it. Spotify won’t help me find it. Sure I love the things I love, but let’s wander into a joint and check out who’s up tonight. It’s always an adventure, and they are serving drinks, so it can’t be too bad. And if it is bad, a few more drinks will help. I am incredibly appreciative of my bartenders. I struggle with math at times, but I love you all.
Forth, the vibe in a room of people digging an artist is amazing. Big, small, 5 people or 75,000 people, when it clicks, it’s phenomenal. I’ve seen many shows where I’m not into the band, but being in a crowd of people who are, every one of them connected and feeling every note and word is intoxicating. I want that every day, all day. It’s addictive. When it’s a band that I am into, OMG! I can’t even describe it. I believe that humans survived and overcame incredible obstacles on their evolutionary journey because of our ability to connect and feel together. Are there often dickheads and douchebags at shows, yes. They are everywhere, so I deal with it and move on. In fact, the dark times of COVID seems to have destroyed many people’s ability to interact within a group of other humans. Stop being fuck heads and get with the program. You are in a massive group. You will be bumped, you will have people in front of you, you will not be able to use your fucking hula hoop in the front row. The artist is not playing just for you. And you will never watch that video. If you hold up an iPad i will dream of knocking it out of your hands but I won’t. Karma will get you, you view blocking digitwat.
Fifth, my wife, my partner for life, the angel of my dreams, the one I pine over when she is out of sight, the most tolerant person in the world for all of my stupid antics, the yin to my yang, the one who drives me to be much better than I ever expected to be, SHE loves all of this as much if not more than I do. As an amazing concert photographer (greeblehaus.com), she gets front row to it all. She has a way of capturing moments of a show, special instants of life that radiate that one moment. Ah, I’m a fan of her work. This is what we do, who we are, where we will be in another 50 years. One day, we will retire somewhere and be the day shift bartenders, serving up drinks for the local grandfolks. And as the sun sets, the blue hairs go home, and the younglings come out, we’ll be sitting off to the side of the stage, still feeling every beat, every note, every wail, as yet another generation of artists steps up to tell their tale. We look forward to seeing you there, for a night, or for the journey. Come and join the carnival.