Friday 07/06/2012 Red Rocks Amphitheater, Morrison, CO
Night two! Scattered rain in the parking lot before the show and rainy forecasts left an ominous vibe accompanying the gathering black clouds as we assembled to get inside of Red Rocks Amphitheater. A strong Birdland opener was full of an energy that I felt had been missing for most of the show the night before. Without stop the boys sandwiched a whooping Wheel Hoss into the middle of Birdland. Clouds were gathering as the song Rain steamed full speed ahead. Once the jam had concluded and Kyle began to repeat “Rain come!” the rain came, as if from nowhere, into a torrential downpour that had every inch of my body completely soaked within two minutes.
These magicians had brought the much needed rains to Colorado, who had been suffering the worst wildfires in her history. As the rain came harder and faster, lightning began to flash above the stage, and once that happened I knew we didn’t have long until a rain delay would be called. Sure enough, once the song had concluded Keith informed us that for our safety we were asked to seek shelter in our cars or wherever we could do so. I opted to head up the stairs to get dry inside the restaurant area/banquet room along with many other fans. Originally they had said the delay was 45 minutes, and the assumption was that they had been watching the radar and had a pretty accurate read on how long the lightning would last. However, Mother Nature often doesn’t do what you expect her to, and the downpour accompanied by flashes of lightning continued on far past the anticipated 45 minutes.
Inside, the museum, gift shop and restaurant were packed to the “gills” by soaked fans who were fogging up the windows and flopping around like fish in their wet clothes. To move around was to be as a salmon swimming upstream, as the place was packed like sardines. So many fish references, but I truly felt like an aquatic creature in an underground reef as the venue outside was getting dumped upon. The energy of the crowd was growing more and more anxious as an hour had passed, then ninety minutes, then the approach of two hours. Would they come back on? Should we leave now? To me it was a no-brainer to stay put until we were sure this show was a “wash”, as the possibility of more music kept me afloat. Sanity and patience were wearing thin among the creatures inside the walls however, but finally, just before it felt all hell would break loose came the announcement that the show would miraculously go on, and we were released into the wet night once again.
Set two began with a weather song, Restless Wind, as the restlessness of the crowd was released into the swirling wind. The lyrics of this song dug as deep as the roots that had been established in my heart by this band and community so long ago. Next came the liquid notes of Kang’s tune Water, one of my favorite songs, which washed over the waterlogged patrons. Many predictions of what this set would offer while waiting out the rain included Water, an obvious call for such a wet evening. Search exploded upon the scene from the depths of Nershi’s psyche, with introspective lyrics and a myriad of melodic flavors, finally taking hold after the teases of it the previous evening. Turn This Around came next, a song that doesn’t get played too often anymore, and was a special treat to me, having wanted to hear the song live since I had last heard it pre-hiatus in 2007.
At this point I also took note that this set had so far been a Nershi song, then a Kang song, and then Nershi, then Kang, and it turned out that this set would indeed be dominated by these two amazing songwriters. The song’s jam slowed down until Pink Floyd’s Breathe, sung superbly by Michael Travis, captured and enveloped the venue in its glorious lyrics and melody so perfectly written by Roger Waters. The song came to an end, and an absolutely perfect transition right back into Turn This Around boggled my brain. This band had clearly been practicing, as demonstrated in the clean transitions such as this one. Kyle’s song The Way That it Goes was to follow, and then Billy’s new song So Far From Home brought a powerfully crunchy rock and roll enthusiasm, to end the way that it started, with everybody in the band clapping at the same beat but at different intervals. It Is What It Is came soaring in like a breeze, followed by an epic jam that seemed to last forever, with Keith’s bass rattling our very souls. There was no stopping this train, as it rolled without stop into the trance instrumental Bumpin’ Reel, and right into Black Clouds. The jam in Black clouds swept me away to new musical islands of thought, with Nershi noodling away at full speed as the song came to its jam-packed attack of an ending. That was the end of the set, and what a set indeed!
As the band took the stage for the encore, Kyle introduced their newest compilation Can’t Wait Another Day, which he penned while awaiting the birth of his child. Little Hands took me away to another time and place, with the delicious lyrics we have come to know and love, accompanied by Michael Kang on fiddle and the clean springy guitar chops of Bill Nershi. The spiritual jam at the end of the song transitioned into I Know You Rider, complete with the “cool Colorado rain” lyrics that sent shivers down my spine. The boys had brought the desperately needed rain to their home state, and boy did it feel good to get wet! The band put down their instruments and left the stage, as hugs were exchanged and whoops of jubilation erupted about the crowd. The house lights were not coming on, however, and soon the cries of excitement grew louder and louder. A second encore? Indeed. Once again the barefoot boys took the stage to drop one of the most energetic Quinn the Eskimo’s I have ever been a part of. As the crowd filed out I found myself skipping down the stairs, floating on a stream of love and beauty that had been created by this amazing band, and reciprocated by all the still-sopping wet fans who had earned an incredible show through their patience and faith that the show would go on, Rain or Shine.
Photos by Emily Takacs