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 2006 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 2006 (or on the 2005-2006 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 2006:
Brian F. Johnson — Editor-in-Chief — The Marquee
The Giraffes — June 23 — Larimer Lounge
If I had a couple thousand words I probably still wouldn’t be able to do this show justice. Better get started.
It was sheer mayhem from the second The Giraffes took the stage. Within minutes, the band and its gear was soaked with beer, spit and sweat. In a few more seconds the crowd was retaliated upon. And so it went for the night. Crowd throws beer, band catches it and spits it back, all the while performing one of the most incendiary sets of fantastically frantic rock and roll. Let’s get this straight. This was all in good fun. This wasn’t a display of angst, it was a cathartic purging of the soul. Everyone was enjoying it and there was no ego anywhere in the crowd or in front of the lights. Had there been it could have gotten as ugly as an acid trip in a third-world jail cell very quickly. I have never left a concert drenched in drink, with friends covered in puke from a random drunk and not been pissed off. This was the opposite. We wish we could have gotten more. The most rock and roll show of the year for sure.
Paul Epstein — Owner — Twist and Shout
Jeff Beck — Sept. 21 — Colorado Convention Center
With an ace band including the inhuman drumming of Zappa alumni Vinnie Colaiuta, and the sexy singing of Beth Hart, Beck delved deep into his catalog, pulling out nuggets from Truth, Blow By Blow, Wired and some inspired covers like “Over the Rainbow” and “A Day In The Life.”
Far from a tired oldies exercise, Beck proved his continued relevance and cemented his reputation as one of the all-time greats.
Peter Ore — Talent Buyer — Live Nation
Wolfmother — May 22 — Bluebird Theatre
Sometimes the perfect mix of weed, Amstel Light and shots of Jameson’s can create this beautiful bubble where, if you are lucky enough to get to that magical state of mind, you can enjoy a show as if God himself were playing on stage. That is what it felt like watching Wolfmother destroy the Bluebird Theatre with pure rock and roll fury. It was like watching a comet roar through your living room, knowing you’ll never have a chance to see that comet burn so bright in such a small place ever again.
Matt LaBarge — Owner — Hi-Dive
Liars — June 13 — Hi-Dive
Two drummers. One seven foot mad genius. Caveman art rock that melted the collective face off the crowd. It was like Radiohead on acid – on acid. I love this job!
Jay Bianchi — Owner — Cervantes Masterpiece
Banyan — Feb 3 — Cervantes’ Masterpiece
Say what you want about Steve Kimock, but there is one thing that is undeniable: this guy can play the shit out of a guitar. There is a reason every member of the Grateful Dead has worked with him, including Jerry Garcia. This guy is really that good. Now when you put him with one of the most innovative drummers in the world, Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction, you get two players that push each other to the outer limits of sound. This show was a psychedelic mix of punk and hippie jam that was sure to leave even the most critical person a diehard fan. Steve stepped up and ripped it while Stephen Perkins provided a fierce tribal beat and Willie Waldman delivered a smooth skanking undercurrent of sound with his trumpet. Rob Wasserman created a huge bass beat that kept everything together. This concert was one of the first of this configuration and since then Perkins and Kimock have collaborated several more times, most notably at the Jammy Awards.
Don Strasburg — VP and Talent Buyer — AEG Live
Trey Anastasio — Oct. 23 – 24 — Fox Theatre
Man Trey tore it up! I felt that with Jeff Sipe on drums, Trey was able to mine his music in a manner more similar to Phish than I have seen from his solo work. With the smaller band and entourage he came to the Fox to have fun. It was a blast. Everyone was so comfortable, so many good old friends in the house.
It was a fun and memorable two nights.
Carrie Lombardi — Owner/Publicist — Madison House Publicity
Tom Petty — July 2 — Pepsi Center
Tom Petty’s performance at the Pepsi Center (with Pearl Jam) was a truly memorable one. I went there without any expectations, but I left a believer. With what seemed like little effort, Petty convinced me he is not only a talented musician (which is often enough for me), but that he is among a small group on this planet who are true rock stars. I mean, EVERY song was a hit, and EVERY person in the crowd knew EVERY word. And he pulled this off without becoming a novelty act. He was artistic, entertaining, and intriguing. He was the real deal, and totally relevant.