Of all the places my wife has dragged me on vacation, Denver is now among my favorites.
If I’m good at one thing around the office, it has to be scheduling my vacations right before holidays and other miscellaneous days off. It seems, without fail, that my vacations always end up in a “2 on, 2 off, 1 on, 8 off, 2 on, 2 off” type schedules. So, to honor the “MondayFriday-ness” of today’s one-day work week, let’s get caught up.
First and foremost, if you’re a music fan, or if you’re not a music fan but have a little bit of room in your soul for an “OMG! Breathtaking!” moment or two, you have to see a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater outside Denver. Years ago, my wife said that was one place she always wanted to see a show and was slowly starting to move her plans from seeing “a band she liked”, to “a band she could tolerate”, to “a band she had heard of.”
Then something happened this spring.
Not only was her absolute, top-of-the-list favorite, David Gray, going to play at Red Rocks, but he was splitting the bill with Ray Lamontagne, a solid member of the top five “others” on the list. In fact, the only thing that kept her from likely labeling them one-two is Lamontagne’s less-than-stellar history in live performances. Two out of the three times she’s seen him live, he seemed like he’d rather be elsewhere.
Not last week.
An amazing venue, amazing weather and an outstanding show by two great talents. I’ll go see a David Gray show every time, but it was great to see Ray rock it out and restore my faith in his live abilities.
As for the trip to Denver, I don’t know what it is about my wife and I, but we always seem to come back from a trip with a “no way, really?” type moment (or three). For example, our trip to Japan in June featured an appearance on the Jumbotron at a Yakult Swallows baseball game and a 6 a.m. World Cup soccer celebration in the streets of Tokyo.
In Denver, it might have gotten even a little more out there.
First off, we hit a Colorado Rockies game at Coors Field. Beautiful ballpark, with (once the sun went behind the roof) great weather and an exciting game. It would have been enough of an obscurity to see a game that featured three triples, a 2-for-3 performance at the plate by the starting pitcher and Manny Ramirez getting booed, taking a strike and being ejected in about a 30-second window, but toss in a foul ball snagged by yours truly and it was quite a trip just seven hours into the day.
Two days later, we hustled a tour of the Colorado Statehouse into our departure plans. My father-in-law had heard some stories and thought it seemed interesting. Always a bit of a history buff, I learned that the dome is plated in 250 ounces of gold leaf, they used every last ounce on earth of a native stone (a type of red granite, I think?) to fancy up the interior hallways and then there were the west steps.
In 1909, local college students measured the height above sea level and engraved the “one mile high” mark on a granite step on the west side of the statehouse. Sixty years later, they realized they measured it wrong, and placed a plaque two steps higher. Thirty or so years later, Congress decided to “officially” designate sea level and the mark was wrong again. So a final (?) plaque was placed several feet lower on the stairs.
So as excited as you could be to see historical markers, we were geeked. Until we came across the abortion rally blocking two of the three monuments. And it wasn’t just a “hey, hey, ho, ho” type picketing, it was a full-on podium and presentation. With a 2:45 flight and an undetermined drive to the airport, we stretched it out about as long as we could, then as the organizers of the rally finally broke things down (20 minutes after we needed to leave) and we got our picture, in between a throng of locals who didn’t even realize the plaques existed.
So to wrap it up, Denver was awesome. A clean, developing city with generally nice folks (though a few too many exercise nuts for me!) and I’d gladly go back again, especially if I was promised such an awesome concert (and 4th row seats, too!)