Friday, June 1, 2012

Every band that plays at Red Rocks--in addition to mentioning that famous U2 show there--says something about how lucky they are, how humbled they are, to play in the most beautiful venue in the world. Most times, they follow that comment with, I bet you guys get that all the time. And we do. And some people get sick of hearing it. But I will never, ever stop being grateful that I get to spend my summers on these rocks, under the stars, listening to incredible music.

Second Red Rocks show of the season was Bon Iver, and they blew The Shins out of the water.

This time, we were second row center, but only because the beer guy was taking up front row center space. I forgave him because he drew peace signs on all the quarters he handed back as change.

I got to see Wayne and Mike again and I finally met Carlton. Best security staff ever.


Bon Iver at Red Rocks was one of the best shows I've ever seen. I saw them play at the Fox in Boulder a few years ago during their Blood Bank EP tour. I was in the front row, directly facing Justin Vernon and my arms rested on the stage, my tears dripping onto the stage carpet while he sang "Blood Bank" and "Skinny Love." I didn't think it was possible to experience a more beautiful, more perfect Bon Iver show.
[That's the "Skinny Love" guitar.]

But obsessive concert goer that I am, I figured it was worth a shot and I bought a scalp ticket on craigslist for last night's show. I sat with my new friends, the same people I had an amazing night with at The Shins.

Those people alone made The Shins an unforgettable show in a way that James Mercer himself didn't. And they made Bon Iver all the more wonderful.

Bon Iver accompanies a lot of weird memories for me. They came into my life in 2008 and their music is the soundtrack to one of the best and one of the worst experiences I've ever had. "Skinny Love" was song #3 on my summer mix that August when everything turned into living electricity after so many years of static. And "Blood Bank" was the song that was playing in January when something heartbreakingly awful happened to people I love more than life. So when they played both of those songs in a row last night followed by "re: Stacks," which is the sound of my best friend moving away, I broke down in tears. But they were tears of gratitude more than anything. Gratitude for having overcome those terrible months, for pushing through the electricity into something permanent, for the new friends that danced and exploded with me, and for the 9000+ people that sang into the sky between two giant red rocks that Justin Vernon called space ships. I felt as if my outsides could not actually contain my insides any longer and that I would burst into a cloud of guts or glitter or those little strips of ticker tape they throw from windows during parades.

When they played "Holocene," I remembered the late night yoga class I took this past winter in Salt Lake City, watching the snow fall out the window on 9th street while upside down in down dog.

Before "The Wolves" encore, Justin said that if we all sang loud enough, the space ship rocks would take off. Right before he started playing, he said, "see you on the other side." And I swear to god, Rod Rocks floated into space and we sang...

what might have been lost
what might have been lost
what might have been lost
what might have been lost
what might have been lost

No comments: