By some stroke of luck, I managed to score a single ticket in the 18th row of the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater. If you ever have the chance the see either Joe Cocker or Tom Petty live, do it. If you ever have the chance to go to a concert at Red Rocks, do it. If you can combine all of these factors… well, now you understand why I couldn’t pass this up.
Joe Cocker was the opening act, an opening act that did a 1:15 set that would have been a perfectly respectable and truly excellent standalone concert. He sounds exactly the same. Exactly. Ok, maybe he always had the gravelly voice of a 65-year-old man, but he was great. I mean, am I the only one who remains amazed that I heard Cocker sing some of the same songs that he sang at Woodstock 40 years ago?
By the time Cocker finished his set, I couldn’t believe that there was still a full concert ahead of me. 45 minutes later, Tom Petty took the stage. Approximately 30 seconds later, the 70-year-old couple in front of me whipped out their bong and brownies. What’s AARP’s position on marijuana? They were having a great time, as were most of the seniors around me. Notably, I didn’t see anyone under the age of 40 lighting up. Hmm. When I mentioned tis to a Denver resident, he just laughed. “We’re not kidding when we say that in Denver, everybody and their grandmother has a bong.”
Petty and the guys were flat-out amazing. Closing out on “American Girl” was excellent.
A closing word of advice to travelers: when parking your black rental car in a dark lot, it’s a really good idea to know exactly where you parked, without relying on landmarks that aren’t visible after dark. I got a lot of extra exercise walking along and trying to get close enough to set off the car alarm. I eventually stumbled across it, hidden between two giant trucks like the tiny little Beetle that it is. Next time, I’m sticking something large and visible on the roof.