Thank You for Bringing Us Home07/10/2021 12:00PM ● By Rachel Miller
Story and Photography by Rachel Miller
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO – “We got a party going on, many spirits strong...oh, just like, just like home,” sings John Bell, lead singer of Widespread Panic, with over 6,000 voices echoing along at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Widespread Panic, which has been playing at Red Rocks since 1991, returned for its customary three-night run in the mile-high mountains above Denver and clocked the band’s 63rd sold-out show at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado, the last weekend in June.
Located roughly 140 miles from Steamboat Springs, Red Rocks Amphitheater is a top destination for Colorado residents and of course, music lovers. Visiting the world-renowned amphitheater has been on the top of my bucket list since moving to Steamboat in October 2019, but the past year brought a huge halt to the music industry, with thousands of concerts cancelled and live music pretty much nonexistent. It would only be fitting for the band’s first live shows back since the pandemic to be the first time I visit Red Rocks Amphitheater.
“Just wait until you see it yourself,” was the most common thing told to me when talking with friends who have experienced Red Rocks for themselves. Oh, we’re they so right. I think my jaw hit the ground when I took my first step down into the theatre. Beautiful, defined red stone surrounds the stage. The music hadn’t even started yet, and I already declared it the coolest music venue I’ve ever been to.
We were blessed with a brief passing of sunshine before the show, but as soon as Widespread Panic walked out to start the show, in rolled the storm. The music started, John Bell’s voice echoed through walls, and I suddenly understood why musical legends rave about this place. The acoustics, the naturally stunning amphitheater, and a crowd – full of multi-colored ponchos – dancing through the rain, I think it’s safe to say Red Rocks upheld its reputation for being one of America’s best amphitheaters.
Many have forgotten what that feeling is like, dancing in the crowd at a sold-out show, singing your heart out with strangers, and giving high fives after a raging set – it truly is quite beautiful the power live music holds. But then, when you turn around and look up at the faces in the crowd, smiles seen all around, and an energy moving throughout, you realize that live music has finally returned and given us all hope once again. It’s a night I’ll remember forever and a concert I’ll never forget.“Thank you for nursing us back to health, you weekend Red Rocksians,” cries out Bell. As the lights fade out, the music falls silent, and the crowd cheers wildly, I guess the saying is true: Never miss a Sunday show.