Greensky Bluegrass with Leftover Salmon, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO- 7/25
A headlining slot at Red Rocks is a benchmark in the career of any artist. Musicians across the globe aspire to play on the stage pressed into existence by tectonic plates 160 million years ago. Through their tireless touring and musical prowess Greensky Bluegrass reached this literal peak on July 25. Not only did they headline but they sold it out on their first attempt. To be fair they had some help from locals Leftover Salmon.
Salmon is this ever-evolving musical phenomenon. This band stays young by adding fresh talent, most recently Erik Deutsch who is sitting in with the band on keys for the summer. He is a classically trained pianist that cut his teeth in Fat Mama with his bandmate Joe Russo. Salmon wasted no time by opening with the zydeco funk grass tune “Dance On Your Head.” Drew Emmitt broke out the electric for a poignant “Two Highways.” Leftover took it back to the days of Mark Vann with a punchy version of “Bosco Stumble” that included a very tasty “L.A. Woman” tease. Vince Herman treated us to their version of Taj Mahal’s “Lovin’ In My Baby’s Eyes.”
The overcast skies they yielded a decent misting before the breeze cleared and a massive rainbow appeared above the stage. Leftover Salmon proceeded with an appropriate rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “The Wind Cries Mary.” Vince’s son Silas then contributed on mandolin for the Drew Emmitt’s “Breakin’ Thru.” Greensky Bluegrass’ Anders Beck and Drew’s son Eli then joined in the fun for the set closing “High Country.”
There’s a look in the eyes of young lovers when they first start dating. That was the look on the face of every single member of Greensky Bluegrass as they took their place onstage. Their infatuated eyes pointed skyward to the throngs of devoted fans.
“I have something I’d like to get off our chest, this is cool as hell… a bit overwhelming in fact… more than a bit overwhelming in fact,” Beck told the crowd.
Emotions were at a peak and there was a feeling in the air that we were all about to be a part of something special. They opened with the darkly expressive “Windshield.” Greensky is intricate, but utterly approachable. Their music warms your heart in ways that are unexpected. In a word their music is transcendent. “Worried About The Weather” was an early delight followed by a spacegrass performance of Pink Floyd’s “Time.” They invited Vince Herman and Drew Emmitt back out for the Salmon tune “Woody Guthrie” followed by an unbelievable version of Jimmy Martin’s “Hit Parade of Love.” They closed the first set with a heavy “Living Over.”
The talented and mustachioed Dave Bruzza kicked off the second set with a shred-tastic “Letter To Seymour” before Paul Hoffman lead the group through a poetic “In Control.” They invited Andy Thorn out for a banjo battle featuring Michael Bont on Reba McEntire’s “Can’t Stop Now.” Greensky was on point throughout both sets. Additional highlights included a jammed out version of Traffic’s “Light Up or Leave Me Alone,” and the reggae vamp tune “Fo Sho Uh Huh.” They closed set two with some intrepid jamming on a “Broke Mountain Breakdown” sandwich with “Forever Young” as the meat. The encore was a straight-forward and heartfelt “Leap Year.” As Greensky left the stage the fans bellowed the refrain from the aforementioned encore. It was another beautiful night at The Edge, one that those in attendance and the members of Greensky won’t soon forget.