Red Rocks Amphitheatre is located in Morrison, Colorado. The open-air venue, which is carved into the rocks some 10 miles outside of Denver, has become one of the most legendary concert locales in the world.
Videos by American Songwriter
Videos by American Songwriter
As such, some of the best bands have performed at the venue. Beloved for its natural wonder and blissful views, there is even a disc-shaped rock placed behind the stage and another angled outwards from the stage, bookending the performance space.
In 1927, the city of Denver purchased the area and in 1936, venue construction began. Red Rocks Amphitheatre opened to the public in 1941 and seats just under 10,000 people. It’s also located about 6,500 feet above sea level. American Songwriter shares seven concert clips from the location–the next best thing to being there in person.
1. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 2017
This performance from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers took place on May 30, 2017, a mere five months before the legendary songwriter passed away. Shot from the front row, fans can see Petty and Co. play hits like “Runnin’ Down a Dream.”
2. Greta Van Fleet, 2019
The psychedelic rockers know how to put on a show. With wild falsetto singing and rock and roll that can punch a hole through the sky, Greta Van Fleet is one of the premiere rock groups today. Sure, they take some flack for recalling the past, but there are few who can wow and sustain the necessary energy like them.
3. O.A.R., 2012
At the turn of the 2000s, jam bands were all the rage. Groups like Dave Matthews Band (more on them later), Dispatch, Phish, and O.A.R. were leading the pack when it came to ticket sales and digital downloads. Here, O.A.R. puts on an epic show with their brand of acoustic reggae from Red Rocks, where they are perfectly at home.
4. U2, 1983
There aren’t many bands that can put on a show like U2 and here, in 1983, the band may have been at the peak of their powers. Youthful, energetic, and with hit songs in spades, the Irish-born group wowed fans. Truly, they’re still talking about this performance some four decades later. Check out live performances of hits like “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “I Will Follow” and “New Year’s Day.”
5. John Fogerty, 2019
The Godfather of Swamp Rock, John Fogerty performed at Red Rocks in 2019 and sang a number of his hits. The former frontman for Creedence Clearwater Revival still got it even decades after his “prime.” Blaring on the harmonica, rollicking on electric guitar, and singing his brand of blues, he killed it. Check out the set, which includes songs like “Susie Q,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain” and “Lookin’ out my Back Door,” below.
6. Dave Matthews Band, 1995
The Dave Matthews Band released a live album from Red Rocks in 1995 and it instantly became a fan favorite, with performances of songs like “Warehouse,” “Two Step” and “Satellite.” Though the album is a classic among DMB fans, it’s available in all of its jam band glory below.
7. Zac Brown Band, 2013
The standout country band has a history of touring relentlessly. They’re some of the hardest-working musicians in the business. Part of earning that reputation meant playing shows everywhere, including playing Red Rocks in 2013. It wasn’t the last time they graced the stage, either. Check out ZBB’s set below.
Photo by Samir Hussein/Getty Images