Livin’ the dream

I made it nearly two hours without crying. I was impressed, considering I fully expected to tear up at the mere sight of Josh Groban.

All of my impressive composure was lost in a moment, however, when Groban returned to the stage for his encore Sunday night as it began to rain at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

I knew what was coming, and it was raining at Red Rocks. This was my dream.

Groban sang 2003’s “You Raise Me Up,” probably his most popular song and the one that made me a fan, with the Colorado Symphony and a local chorus in the background.

The moment overwhelmed me. For the rest of my life, every time I hear that song I will think of Groban and the Colorado Symphony in a Red Rocks rain shower. And I will cry.

I now understand the power music can have on a person. For nearly two hours, I was completely transfixed as my favorite musician performed with the lush accompaniment of a symphony in the most breathtaking and acoustically superb venue I’d ever seen.

I hardly breathed. Even Groban said early in the show that it was “every musician’s dream to play” Red Rocks.

Despite living in Colorado for more than 11 years, I had never been there. That changed when the Colorado Symphony announced earlier this year it would perform with Groban July 7 at Red Rocks.

Having listened to each of his albums on repeat since 2003, I knew the combination of Groban’s rich, effortless voice and a full symphony at Red Rocks made this a dream show.

I bought a ticket and booked a hotel room months ago, but got a pleasant surprise when I received a photo pass from the Groban camp nearly two weeks ago.

The pass gave me access to a restricted area for his first three songs and a seat in the 13th row for the rest.


(I didn’t sell my previous ticket in case something happened.)

Red Rocks is an easy venue to find. Everything is well-marked and well-staffed. Apparently, people tailgate before shows. FYI, the Groban/Colorado Symphony crowd preferred wine. I laughed.

I struck up conversations with everyone in the entrance line, including Dana Johnson, another longtime Groban fan also at the show alone. Once inside the venue, she bought me a glass of wine and we talked about the Vail music scene and symphonies. It was lovely.

The Colorado Symphony — a good mix of young and older musicians — showcased its talents with a selection of songs from stage and screen to open the show.

Groban came on about 45 minutes later, starting with a relatively new hit in “Brave.” He was funny and charming and kept up the energy and diversity of song selection for his entire show before ending with the one song he had to sing.

I’m happy to report that I’m done crying — for now — but I haven’t stopped smiling. My music dream has come true.

Now that I’ve seen my dream show, I asked several people in the local music scene what their dream show would be. I restricted them to real bands in real venues. These were their emails.

■ Rock Cesario, owner of Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and Out & About music columnist: “Howlin’ Wolf in the late 1950s or early 1960s in Tennessee or Mississippi. But I would love to have seen him anywhere live!!”

■  Tedi Gillespie, executive director at KAFM 88.1 Community Radio: “U2 with BB King at Boston Gardens in 1987 because you just will never see that again and their energy together was incredible.”

■  David Goe, local musician and Out & About music columnist: “Jimi Hendrix Experience, Marquee Club, London, Jan. 24, 1967. The story goes that buzz around Hendrix was at such a fury in ‘67 that anyone of any significance in London music had to be there. All the Beatles, all the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Pete Townsend, a who’s who of rock and roll royalty. It had to be a special, once-in-a-generation gig for all those legends to show up just to see Hendrix play. The way that those musicians, especially the guitarists, talk about that night makes it seem like that was the show that influenced the next 30 years of guitar-based rock.

■  Rachel Sauer, fellow features writer at The Daily Sentinel: “July 17, 1954, at the Bon Air Club in Memphis, Tenn. — the first public, adult performance of one Mr. Elvis Aaron Presley. That night, along with Bill Black and Scotty Moore, Elvis performed ‘That’s All Right’ and ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky.’ He was 19 years old, maybe just the Prince of Rock ‘n Roll at that point, but he was always something special. Long live the King.”

■  Andy Pittman, owner of Mesa Theater and Lounge: “Led Zeppelin, 1974, at Continental Hyatt House (in Los Angeles).”


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