So as I previously posted when I was laid off from my previous job, my manager gave me a “parting gift” a chance to go to any concert in the contiguous United States. We took our trip this past Monday and it was awesome!
Instead of going to see a particular band we wanted to go to a venue, specifically the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. So if you look up information online you can get a pretty good idea of what it’s like, natural rock formations all around, stars overhead, fresh air. And it’s all that amazing stuff and more… Not all of it good… First of all they don’t tell you that you have to hike up a freaking mountain to get to the entrance of the venue!
So after hiking up hill for about 30 minutes you finally get to the entrance which another steep freaking sidewalk…
Ugh… walking… but at least we got to scope out some hella cute deer grazing in the “I’m a special person” parking lot.
Alright enough bitching… We finally get in and get to our seats and I can’t help but keep looking at all the amazing scenery, I mean I’ve been to a lot of concerts, and none of them have looked anything like this. Of course I didn’t get any good pictures of the rocks during the day… Sigh…
Anyway first up for music was some DJ kid, he had a few good songs, but was mostly ambiance music and not really my style, and waaaay too loud for an opening act. Anyway… this is him (legit don’t even know his name. Sorry, dude!)
Shortly after he left the stage came Soundgarden.
Confession time, I’m a fair-weather fan of Soundgarden. They were in concert what I expected, I rocked out to the singles, was pretty bored for the rest of the set. Chris Cornell announced that the day before the show he turned 50, and there’s no denying that he’s still a rock star despite his age. All in all I’m glad I got to see Soundgarden, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see them again.
So as nighttime fell the rocks were lit-up, just adding to the spectacular views around the venue. Here’s a hella blurry shot of the rocks to our left.
So, next up was the main event, Nine Inch Nails. I’ve seen them twice before and so I knew what to expect, a elaborate set with tons of lights and LEDs and moving pieces to accompany the music performed by musicians that possess skills that I wish I could have.
Okay… so if you’ve ever been to a rock concert you know the bands usually like to have a big flashy entrance where the lights are killed then BAM! they appear on stage and start to melt faces with everything they have.
With that in mind you can imagine everyone’s surprise when this was how NIN started.
One light, one sound board and one Trent Reznor (ignore the guy on keyboards, he came later) who just casually walked out on stage. He walks up to the sound board and starts playing the intro to “Copy of a”. Okay, so if you don’t know anything about Nine Inch Nails you should know that Trent writes and records all of the music himself and just recruits musicians to play live shows with him. So it’s not unreasonable for him to be able to start a show all by himself.
One at a time other instruments were brought out and musicians came to accompany them.
Then the light show came, first with just hand held lights to cast shadows on the back screen, then movable panels to hold and move the shadows on the stage.
Then there were LED screens with real-time face and body mapping to render the artists to much larger than life proportions. Here’s a little taste.
Alright, now I need to take a moment to point out one of the most awesome performers I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness. You may think herp derp Trent Reznor, NO I SAY! NOT TRENT! The drummer!
His name is Ilan Rubin, he’s played with NIN for a few years and is also associated with Lostprophets, Angels & Airwaves, and Paramore. “Why, Jason, do you think he’s so great?” you may ask… well let me show you EXHIBIT A!
Not only was he rocking the drums, but he can jump on the keyboard or guitar as well, or bass guitar, or synthesizer, or cello, or sing.. OR THE FREAKING UKULELE!!
Alright, I know what you’re thinking (you’re so predictable), “Jason, why you so dumb? Many musicians play multiple instruments!” Yes, I know, I know! But do they play multiple during the SAME SONG?! I THINK NOT! The song I’m talking about is The Downward Spiral. If you listen to it you’ll notice some pretty intense drumming. However after a while it goes into a break where it’s just vocals and piano. It’s at this point in the song that Ilan hops up from his drum kit and heads over to a keyboard. After that part is done he hurries back to his drum kit and signals with 2 stick clicks that he’s ready and he starts right back up with the drums.
Just awesome to watch…
But I’m out of pictures so I’ll leave it with this, the best pic I got the whole trip, the rock formations on either side of the venue and the sea of people behind us.
The trip also included accommodations, which they suggested a plentiful amount of 2 star chain hotels. Being the picky little bitch I am I needed better. I did some research and found a nice little place, called Highland Haven Creekside Inn, in a town called Evergreen. It was a little tricky to find, but totally worth it. About 45 minutes of winding mountain side roads to Red Rocks and in walking distance of a handful of restaurants. Plus they had lemonade and fresh baked cookies for check-in! Here’s the view out the back of our room.
So cozy! The price of a basic room was within acceptable limits for the package so it was completely on the house. Not only that, but we somehow got a free upgrade to a junior suite!
The only thing that wasn’t included in the package was a rental car, which we just took care of through Budget and got an upgrade there as well to a crossover. Now all I want to do is buy one for myself, pretty nice little ride!
All in all it was a great trip and I’m so grateful to Gerry for giving us this opportunity! I hope that where ever he is that he’s landed on his feet after the great layoff of 2013. I hope that someday we meet again.
In other other news, Gerry is working at the same place I am, he’s on a different teem, but we run into each other fairly often. AND NOW HE’S THE NEW GUY, MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!