If there’s one music venue you have to see before you die it’s the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO. There are no words, photographs or recordings to capture its unforgettable vibe and breathtaking view; you have to go out there and see it yourself. When Opeth and Gojira initially announced performing at this iconic location, there were no other options but doing whatever it took to attend. On May 11th, 2017 fans from across the country travelled out to Denver, Colorado just for the show. A couple decided to spend their honeymoon at this event as well just to see the special guest The Devin Townsend Project as they wore matching Ziltoid white T-shirts.
Opening the night was The Devin Townsend Project who were there to promote 2016’s Transcendence. Townsend was either euphoric to be there or felt an amplitude high as he shared a few jokes to the crowd, stating smoking weed could be considered a pre-existing condition and made a few Willie Nelson mentions. The sound quality was pristine, thanks to the mountain surroundings while Townsend continued to entertain with his hooks, grooves and endless facial expressions during songs “Rejoice,” “Stormbending,” “Failure,” “Supercrush!,” and “Kingdom.” At one point, he looked around at the view and had no other words but to call the location one “epic place.”
The mighty Gojira were up next, and they put on one hell of a show which included lots of pyro, a huge LED monitor, and frontman Joe Duplantier encouraged everyone to live in the present moment and appreciate being near the rocks. He convinced many to step away from their phones, and other devices as the band promoted 2016’s Magma. The set included songs “Only Pain,” “The Heaviest Matter of the Universe,” “Silvera,” “Stranded,” “Flying Whales,” “The Cell,” “Backbone,” “L’Enfant Sauvage,” “Toxic Garbage Island,” “The Shooting Star,” and “Pray.”
Opeth closed the perfect evening as frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt jokingly promised the crowd the next time they return they will play Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” in a barn somewhere in Boulder Colorado. While a few fans screamed out, “Free Bird!,” others admitted they would go see something like that. As the set progressed, Åkerfeldt shared his view on the famous Red Rocks, as he climbed the excessive amount of stairs claiming he’s in better shape than the rest of the acts. Despite the night’s drop of temperature, many stayed, and Åkerfeldt embraced it as he thanked all for it despite it being windy, cold and “fucking beautiful.” The set comprised of songs from their 2016 album Sorceress and mixed a few heavier classics. The performance included songs “Sorceress,” “Ghost of Perdition,” “Demon of the Fall,” “The Wilde Flowers,” “In My Time of Need,” “The Devil’s Orchard,” “Cusp of Eternity,” “Heir Apparent,” “Era,” and of course, “Deliverance.”
The night felt more like a once-in-a-lifetime event than a regular show, making the trip well worth it. Each act was taken back by the view, the sound and at times, the wind. Fans from all over the country joined at the venue and a few most likely scattered to the Black Sky Brewery for some beer, pizza, and metal to continue in celebrating the occasion. Hopefully, all three acts will return to Red Rocks.