This Independence Day, Blues Traveler returned to Red Rocks Amphitheater with special guests Rusted Root, Spin Doctors and The Samples. Longtime fans of the historic outdoor venue, Blues Traveler have hosted an annual 4th of July celebration at Red Rocks since 1992, and this year they celebrated in style, with an expansive 20+ song set.
The evening did, however, start with an unexpected hiccup. Minutes before he was scheduled to take the stage, Rusted Root frontman Michael Glabicki was hospitalized for acute altitude sickness, giving way to an impromptu set by Rusted Root percussionist/vocalist Liz Berlin, Chris Barron of Spin Doctors and John Popper of Blues Traveler.
When the full Blues Traveler lineup took the stage, they opened with “Sweet Talking Hippie,” off of their 1990 self-titled debut. The band continued with an extended “Dropping Some NYC” jam, segueing into “Blow Up The Moon,” before returning back to the original track. Subsequently, John Popper serenaded the audience with his take on “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Later, Spin Doctors’ Eric Shenkman sat in with the band for a bluesy guitar solo and then joined in on the Blues Traveler hit, “Carolina Blues.”
Acoustic violinist Bobby Yang also joined in on the fun, sitting in for “100 Years” and “Mulling It Over.” Yang first played with Popper in 2009, and has periodically sat in Blues Traveler ever since.
The evening drew to a close with a stretched out “But Anyway” jam, that meandered through rocking keytar and drum solos, and then ended with “Hook.” For their encore, Blues Traveler invited The Voice semi-finalist Braiden Sunshine to sing on “The Mountains Win Again,” before they launched into an epic superjam of Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved” featuring Sunshine, Yang and Chris Barron of Spin Doctors.
Days later, Blues Traveler journeyed to Westchester County, New York to co-headline the Pleasantville Music Festival with Living Colour and Suzanne Vega. Highlights included a mid-set “Runaround” that led into a cover of Radiohead’s “Creep,” and a late-set “Carolina Blues” featuring Vernon Reid from Living Colour on guitar.
Blues Traveler’s summer tour will extend through September. See a full list of tour dates here.