It’s always odd to write a column that recaps a year when that year has yet to end, but this issue is our last one of 2005 and so we must, despite what the calendar says at the time of this writing.
Once again, The Marquee has assembled a list of industry insiders to pick their Shows of the Year for this annual end-of-the-year feature.
The rules are the same as in years past. The show had to have taken place during 2005 (or on the 2004-2005 New Year) and it is required that the show be one which occurred on the Front Range — no votes for Bonnaroo, Vegoose or anything out of our territory allowed.
This year is one of the most diverse listings we’ve seen and it’s no wonder. We are blessed with one of the best music scenes around. According to our counts from our calendar section, there were over 10,000 musical performances between Colorado Springs and Fort Collins this year. That’s an average of almost 30 shows a day! Where else does that happen? I bet even New York City would be impressed by those numbers.
More than just the numbers, the diversity is the truly amazing aspect. From small barrooms and coffee shops to our illustrious Red Rocks Amphitheatre, musicians ranging from solo artists to huge ensembles can be found every night.
Here’s what we and some of our friends thought were the highlights of 2005:
Brian F. Johnson
Wilco — Red Rocks Amphitheatre — June 17, 2005
The masters of melancholy rock and roll have been dubbed by the international press as “the world’s most exciting live rock band.” It’s no wonder then that the best band, in the best venue, was such an epic night. It seemed an odd combination to have The Roots opening for Wilco, but the party vibe from the opening set carried over flawlessly into Wilco’s time on the stage. They hit the ground running and had the crowd eating out of their hands. With songs from their entire catalog, Wilco did what it does best — building to climaxes and giving fans multiple orgasmic releases time and time again. It was truly one of the finest nights I’ve ever spent at Red Rocks.
Daniel J. Cohen
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band — Fox Theatre — March 8, 2005
Want some free advice? Never leave a show early. If I had hastily bolted from the Fox in March, I would have missed Kenny Wayne Shepherd resurrect the original masters of “Voodoo Chile,” Jimi and Stevie Ray. KWS and his band were decent, but not life-altering. I was glad I checked out a set and had thoughts about an early exit. Luckily, my musical conscience prevailed. As the encore of “Voodoo Chile” revved up, the band members started walking off the stage one by one – leaving a classic power trio of drummer, bassist and Kenny Wayne with his Strat. I was blown away by that guitar for the next 20 minutes. I never saw Jimi or Stevie Ray in person, but now I can claim I saw Kenny Wayne live.
James Blunt — Formerly the Player’s Club — Aug. 11, 2005
One of the most amazing voices out there – had the place in complete and mesmerized silence. Anyone who bumps Coldplay off the European charts at #1 during the time of this performance, gets my nod. Seeing him at the Player’s Club building was a surreal experience. A magical performance totally under the radar.
South Park Music Festival
Brian Jonestown Massacre —Larimer Lounge — July 20, 2005
Anton Newcombe is not a movie — he’s the real deal, the last of the great rock and rollers. Between baiting the audience and executing perfectly chaotic versions of their staple songs, it was everything the audience could have asked for. Despite their new following on the heels of their recent movie stardom, BJM continues to prove that they’re still absolutely crucial. Believe the hype.
Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s — South Park Music Festival — Sept. 8-10, 2005
My pick for this year’s best show traveled from the Midwest to the South Park Music Festival in Fairplay. Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s played all three days of the Festival with performances ranging from a solo acoustic set by the band’s leader, Richard Edwards, with subtle and perfect duet harmonies sung with keyboardist Emily Watkins, to a full-fledged attack by this eclectic and really groovy nine piece ultra-modern folk-rock outfit. I hear rumors they have inked a deal and it’s no surprise, they really are a great band. Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes should take himself a bit less seriously with these guys living in his backyard.
Seether/Dark New Day — Ogden Theater — Sept. 13, 2005
I would have to say that the soldout crowd and the amazing “vibe” and energy that the show produced was off the hook. Dark New Day really got the crowd ready for Seether and the sound was great. Seether’s set involved the “new” hits along with an awesome blend of songs off their first album. The bands were also very relaxed and cool, Dark New Day came into the crowd after their set and hung out with everyone for the Seether set.
And then when Seether finished up, they came out to sign autographs and see their fans. To me, putting your fans first so you can continue to have that base and create new fans, truly shows musicians working for the respect and support of their fans.
Bill Bass Concerts, Inc.
My Morning Jacket — Fox Theatre — Oct. 31, 2005
My pick for Show of the Year would have to be My Morning Jacket at the Fox on Halloween. From the minute they came out dressed as The Ghostbusters, to the rocking encore and everything in between, the show was one of the most intense, visually and sonically pleasing shows I have ever seen. It rivaled the Wilco and White Stripes Red Rocks shows in pure intensity, but something about the intimate confines of the Fox gave it the victory by a nose.
Coupe Studios Music Inc.
Rose Hill Drive — Fillmore Auditorium — Feb. 12, 2005
The 2005 Show of the Year for me has to be Rose Hill Drive and Gov’t Mule at The Fillmore in February. Rose Hill crushed in front of a house full of Mule fans and left with a whole mess of new fans. Seeing Daniel Sproul tearing up Gov’t Mule’s encore with Warren Haynes was awesome.
Director of Marketing
House of Blues Concerts
DEVO — Coors Amphitheatre — Aug. 23, 2005
Making their first Colorado appearance since the early ’80s, DEVO made their return a night to remember. Tight as hell, the boys in yellow jumpsuits and red energy domes delivered the goods. Their set spanned an under-appreciated career of “before their time” pop gems. A lot of the concert goers entered the venue not sure what to expect. The look on peoples faces as they left was priceless — pure satisfaction.
I was 11 when I bought my first Devo record. 23 years later I finally got a chance to see the band live. It was worth the wait.
Budweiser True Music
Anheuser-Busch of Denver
Staind — Fox Theatre — Aug. 23, 2005
Budweiser’s “One Night Stand” with Staind was a night of great music, great times and great beer, all for free. Budweiser hooked it up for 750 lucky fans who got an up-close-and-personal show in the venue’s intimate confines.