There was a moment in the middle of American Life when I stopped dancing, because the view behind the stage caught my eye. Earlier I was told about this sight, but the sound and atmosphere of the venue had kept me from noticing anything but the stage. I was standing and stomping in a cloud of marijuana smoke, getting both my drink and dance on. (Note: I am still sore.)
The venue was Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The show was Primus and Gogol Bordello. The view was a panorama of every light in Denver, stretching between my peripherals, as a backdrop the stage. I tapped my friend in the chest with the back of my hand. I panned my hand over the horizon. He smirked and nodded. “I told you,” he said.
That’s about as much as I can say of that. When people say “you really have to go,” they mean it: you really have to go. I could stretch to express the moments, and the experience, and I could probably draw a fairly good portrait of what it felt like – the air was incredibly cool, for one, but not so cold that I was uncomfortable, and there was plenty of room to dance. The sound was perfect (it is, after all, a naturally occurring amphitheatre). The lights behind the stage were as interesting as city lights can be – only slightly patterned within the randomness. The venue made it more than lights. It was like looking at something. Though, I am hard-pressed to say what.
You just really have to go.
I went into the show thinking I wouldn’t have enjoyed Primus because their later albums weren’t up to snuff. Plus, I had seen Gogol and knew of their stage antics and thought it would be hard to top. I was wrong, Gogol was trumped. Both were spectacular – don’t get me wrong – but, Gogol seemed a touch more subdued than on past dates, and their set included few songs I already knew (they are currently on tour with their newest album, and such is the need to showcase new work). Imagine how lame I felt only knowing the lyrics to Start Wearing Purple and Immigrant Punk.
Primus simply killed it. Playing songs from Sailing the Seas of Cheese, Frizzle Fry, and Pork Soda, they perhaps created for me a nostalgic evening. I loved those albums when I first started playing bass. What I knew of Primus’ live show was their live EP Suck on This. The change between that album and now is incredible. Most notably that change could be seen in their encore of Tommy the Cat. No comparison: from the solo, to the tightness. They are now a much more mature band, still playing really silly songs. Claypool remains the same: a man just as suited for playing bass and singing as he is for carnival barking. Awesome show.