Headlining a show at Red Rocks is an amazing feat for any musical act. Elephant Revival, who hail from just a ways North of the venue, got to taste that sweet flavor on Sunday. The eclectic performance involved a washboard, musical saw, cello, banjo, guitar, fiddle, trumpet and more, in addition to several fire dancers and supporting acts Rising Appalachia and Josh Ritter.
The air had a bit of precipitation in it as the stands filled up in front of the majestic stage. The live painters to the side of the stage were creating their pieces under tarps as to not smear the art. The opening acts warmed up the atmosphere enough to keep the bodies swaying, and the raincoats were seemingly drying off.
Just before 8:30 p.m. a giant elephant danced its way into the attention of the concert goers. A smaller elephant joined the larger and the two engaged in a dance off. After the moves had gotten several hoots from the crowd, the band walked out and confirmed, “We’re Elephant Revival, and we’re from right down the road.”
“Home in Your Heart” and “Remembering A Beginning” started off the evening, two tracks that got the crowd jamming to the sounds beating off the washboard strums coming from Bonnie’s fingers.
“Has anyone seen the Moon yet?” questioned Daniel Rodriguez from the guitar. “We’ll howl anyway.” A statement that brought many howls and cheers from the crowd as the band crooned its way through “Sing to the Mountain” despite the lack of moon at that hour.
The live painters splattered the paint in consistent melodic spurts in accordance to the sound of Bonnie slaying the saw and tracks, such as in “Ring Around the Moon.” Acrobatic dancers from Fractal Tribe flexed across the stage as the music resounded off of the natural amphitheater. When “Hello You Who” from their latest album Petals came on, the fire dancers sprawled out on either side of the band and welcomed in an awe-inspiring full moon. As quickly as one could get over the last spectacular song, Bridget proclaimed, “Well, we’re just going to dive right into our new material.”
“When I Fall,” a heart-heavy yet upbeat track began the next sequence of songs, and after the positive reception the band exclaimed, “Even at the size of a venue it feels like a living room, it feels like home,” — to which thousands of patrons cheered relentlessly for. A more than appropriate “Petals” followed.
The dancers were invited out again and the acrobats took to a giant ring hanging down from the ceiling. The ever-beautiful “Peace Tonight” played out as they spun above the intrigued crowd. “Drop” brought the atmosphere of the performance back down to reality, and the band braced together for a group photo. The graphic over the LED screen read, “Dedicated to those we love who have flown on,” as a tribute to past friends.
The stunning ladies of the group, Bonnie and Bridget (who sometimes perform separately) in their long flowing gowns, sparked an a capella “Raven Song” that left the amphitheater silent under the performance,
The bundles of folks dancing took a swift halt as the band came back in full force to cover, in remarkable fashion, Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” The band announced their playing in the Colorado-based Arise Festival before bringing out the Fractal Tribe and Rising Appalachia once more, and then sporting out most of their crew from the tour for introduction.
The concert showcased more of the talented band than their previous limited time slots could ever exploit. Elephant Revival proved to be a necessity of the Red Rocks Bluegrass community, and will hopefully return dutifully.