Review: The Avett Brothers @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre 7/11/15

13Jul15

red rocks

So we meet again, Avett Brothers.

Much has changed in the seven years since I first saw the band play in a high school auditorium in New York City.  Not only has the band’s popularity grown, but the band itself has also grown in size, by three members, in fact. I guess when you start selling out large amphitheatres you need to add a few musicians to the mix to add some layers to your sound…or to save you from running back to the drums and piano during songs (though I do sort of miss watching that).

On Saturday night, The Avett Brothers played the second of three shows at Red Rocks amphitheatre in Morrison, CO. You would have to try hard to not enjoy a concert at Red Rocks. The sun and sky offer their own pre-show, and the view of the Denver skyline is an added bonus.  We lucked out and had lovely weather.  A rainbow even appeared in case anyone wasn’t convinced they were in for a special night.

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During the night’s opening song, “Satan Pulls the Strings,” one by one, each band member in the spotlight introduced themselves to the crowd through their instrument.  Slowly, the song grew. Drums, violin, cello, upright bass, guitar, banjo.  As the show progressed, the stage seemed to expand and contract based on the number of band members playing a particular song. It was a mix of full-band, foot-tapping numbers, and then slower, more introspective solo/duet performances.

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I appreciated that an Avett Brothers show is still all about the music. While there was definitely lighting for the stage, it was not a full production, and it certainly wasn’t distracting in any way. There was not much in-between song talk with the audience either. I’m not sure if that was done to preserve more time for songs, or because they just weren’t in a chatty mood.

The songs featured on Saturday night were from the albums I and Love and You, A Carolina Jubilee, Four Thieves Gone, Magpie and the Dandelion, The Carpenter, Country Was, The Second Gleam, and Migionette. I wish I could have heard more from Emotionalism, but it seems that was Friday night’s theme. Over the course of the three shows, the band played 78 songs, and not a single song was repeated. So fans with tickets to more than one show really lucked out.  It seems like this was meant to be a three-night “The Avett Brothers Festival at Red Rocks” experience. I really wanted to hear “I and Love and You,” but as suspected, that was their parting song during Sunday night’s encore. My favorite songs of the night were the ones sung just by just the brothers, like “Murder in the City” and “November Blue”.

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The one bit of feedback I have for the band is that I was disappointed that there were no show posters for sale. There were only limited-edition, signed “hand cranked linoleum block and silkscreen prints” created be Scott Avett.  I think it’s great that these prints are offered and it was interesting to see how they were made.  But, at $200-300 per print, it wasn’t really in my concert-going budget. I just wish there had been a less expensive alternative offered to remember the evening. These days I can’t even count on leaving with a ticket stub—just a lackluster 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper.

Throughout the night I couldn’t help but remember the last time I was at Red Rocks. It was nearly six years ago that I attended the Monolith Festival. Guess who else was there??

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Until we meet again…

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