Set against the backdrop of the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater as a surreal burning red moon ascended through the twilight, the still calm evening shattered to Lettuce’s Adam Deitch’s bass drum pounding through your chest. Erick Coomes, thumbed out the bass masterfully as the remaining band members build upon the harmony allowing for each musician to show off their respective specialties.
The brass section was exceptional. It is not very often a horn player becomes a rock star of a song. However, Eric Bloom did not fail to impress. His ability to flow through the most difficult high ranges of his instrument with the speed and fluidity that appeared seamless drew the admiration of the entire audience. Additionally, the percussion section was so capable and talented it was easy to see they spent their entire lives keeping time in and out of various beats. Yet, as they powered through their impressive fills, their facial expression implied that it was all business and they’ve done it thousands of times before.
One of the more memorable songs was after the first break when all the band members were wearing dark robes and playing one of the coolest downtempo tunes of the evening. The energy built to an epic segue into Wu-Tang’s Ghostface Killah. His distinctive raspy voice was a welcome throwback. However, the altitude may have affected his performance as his energy regressed rapidly to the cliché solicitation, “let me hear you say ‘oooh ahh!’”
The performance also featured other A-list of musicians and vocalists that wowed within the context of their own genre. Notably, Marcus King channeled the spirits of Jimmy Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, slaughtering the crowd with impossible guitar riffs and vocals crashing through the amphitheater and ultimately making for a special event that was truly worth the experience.
Review by Morgan Hagerman. Photos by Arthur VanRooy.