Late Winter and early Spring are a sign of more than great snowfall and winter action. This time of year signals the beginning of Red Rocks Amphitheater’s summer concert lineup. Already, we have seen announcements from the likes of Muse, Chromeo, Tom Petty, Odesza and many others, but there’s a lot more to come. Furthermore, being a mere two and a half months away from the complete lineup dropping, we have gathered some bold predictions for whom we believe will be throwing down this summer.
First Time Hopes
The xx are coming off the heels of their new album I See You, which sees them greatly expanding their sound and going on a massive headlining world tour which stops in the U.S. multiple times, but completely skips over Denver. The trio has never played Red Rocks, and their last stop was more than four years ago at the Fillmore Auditorium. Since then, they have made the leap to headlining and sub headlining major festivals and amphitheaters around the world, and in the process become a household name. The group has already released preliminary dates, but they have a large gap following Bonnaroo that would be ideal for a stop in the Mile High City.
Even though there’s been no trace of new material from the skyrocketing songstress, recent tour dates suggest she might be up to something. Like the xx, Lorde has never performed at Red Rocks, but considering her dark and introspective aesthetics, a Red Rocks stop would be a royal treat.
Gambino debuted his surprise album “Awaken, My Love” at Joshua Tree National Park in September, during a three day camping event called “Pharos.” The psychedelic show, a departure from his usual hip-hop sound flourished in the desert, and was reminiscent of Sufjan Steven’s most recent Red Rocks show this past summer. One would be led to believe, based on the performance that outdoor venues would be preferred to showcase the album, and what better place than Red Rocks.
Having confirmed tour plans in the U.S. to occur during August and October after a five-year hiatus, the Fleet Foxes seem like an obvious choice for the latter half of Red Rocks season. The band last released their critically acclaimed Helplessness Blues in 2011 and parted with former drummer- turned bonifed star Father John Misty in their absence, but with a new album in the works, hope begins anew for a full fledge tour. Hearing songs like “Blue Ridge Mountains” and “Mykonos” surrounded by those iconic red monoliths remains a dream unrealized, but hopefully not for long.
Griz and Red Rocks go together like peanut butter and jelly. The Denver-based DJ and producer has announced headlining spots at Red Rocks in both 2015 and 2016, and seeing the general trend of other EDM figureheads like Gramatik, Dada Life, and Zeds Dead becoming staples at Red Rocks, Griz doesn’t seem to be one to buck the trend.
Sometimes it seems like Pretty Lights has been playing Red Rocks since the dawn of time. With a couple dates already announced for 2017, there seems to be no reason he shouldn’t sell out another two night stint and perform for his home state.
Red Rocks always has a knack for having legacy acts headline the amphitheater, and this year is no exception. With Santana, John Prine, and Tom Petty already announced, there’s reason to believe there’s still more up the sleeve. For the sake of speculation, Van Morrison could be that surprise. The 71 year-old, who last played Red Rocks in 2005, is still chugging away in the music scene, having just released a new album last year called Keep Me Singing, and he shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.
Van Morrisson isn’t the only legacy act making the rounds this year. Patti Smith is touring on behalf of the 40th anniversary of Horses, her beloved and very influential debut album which was released in 1975. But this is not simply a symbolic tour, Smith is expected to perform the album in it’s entirety. While dates are few and far between, the opportunity to play Red Rocks is there, but time will tell if it’ll be an opportunity taken.
Shots In the Dark
While Frank would also be a first timer, his tight-lipped approach has led one to doubt whether he’ll announce a full tour or whether the few dates he has will just be one-off’s in their various locations. But one can only hope that he’ll bring his critically acclaimed Blonde to Red Rocks.
If one electronic group makes the trek to Red Rocks, it should be Justice. The legendary French DJs have released a new album, and they are popping up in various places across the world, primarily festivals, but seeing that cross light up the Colorado skies would be second to none.
A Tribe Called Quest
Having released We Got It from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service, following the premature death of Phife Dawg and becoming their first album in nearly 20 years, seeing A Tribe Called Quest before they permanently disband would be a nice send off to one of hip-hop’s most influential groups. While the possibility of a full tour is still on the horizon, the existence of a singular date as part of Panorama Music Festival in New York, is all the hope one needs.
Cage the Elephant
Father John Misty
The Flaming Lips
Nine Inch Nails
Foster the People