My first experience with the CityLights Pavilion last night was a favorable one. True story: I notice the stunning close-up view of the Denver skyline (about a mile from the venue) when I turn around and look out from the stage area. I turn to my friend Andrea and say, “Wow! Look at the view of the city lights- . . . aaaand that must be why they call it CityLights Pavilion.” Not the sharpest pencil in the box sometimes.
It was apparently a sold-out show, based largely on the frat-boy and 12-year-old ticket-buying bloc. There were some pretty people there. The Fray is just alright for me. I would like to support them because this was a homecoming concert of sorts for them – several members are from Denver – but they don’t DO IT for me. I guess they are pretty melodic and rocking, though, and the Coldplay comparison is definitely unavoidable.
My enjoyment of the show was only slightly marred (actually, perhaps enhanced) by the blonde thirty-something lady in front of us who was apparently auditioning for the Whitesnake! Live! Raw! Loud! concert video (or maybe the music video for a new remix of “Total Eclipse of the Heart”). She pulled out all the stripper dance moves as the concert unfolded. She gyrated. There were pelvic thrusts and slow winds down to the ground and back up (where’s a damn pole when you need it). There was the “hand-to-the-forehead” move (like, “I can’t believe you just stuck a dollar in my g-string!”), the various wrist flippery (it’s all in the wrist). It was a show unto itself. Kind of out of place at what was, essentially, a rock show but at least she seemed to be enjoying herself. And all of us around her enjoyed it too. Some people were even taking pictures.
Stripper dance lesson aside, the highlight of the show for me, by far, was Brandi Carlile, who was the opening act. I came to the show to see her and I was not disappointed. Seeing her in a larger venue rocked. This gal is going places – all she has to do is pick up her guitar and open her mouth and the crowd just stops and listens to the passion and strength in her voice. Brandi played with her full band again this time, including a cellist (which I loved). She rocked through several of the best songs on her album (“What Can I Say,” “Throw It All Away”), some original songs which are not on the album (“My Story”), and a few superb covers (“Creep” and “Folsom Prison Blues,” as well as her show-stopper finale of “Hallelujah”).
I wanted to see more of her. She is playing in Boulder tonight, a headlining show at the Fox, but I can’t make it. I hope perhaps you can if you live in the area. I know I talk about her a lot, but she is worth every word that I write in publicity. Buy her album, and check out some of my previous posts about her (here, here, here and here) to download or stream some live performances.
Creep (Radiohead cover) – Brandi Carlile
(from last night’s show, poor sound quality, but just for the curious)
Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash cover) – Brandi Carlile
(from last night’s show as well)
Throw It All Away – Brandi Carlile
(an excellent live version of this song, from 12/7/05 in Chicago)
Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen via Jeff Buckley cover) – Brandi Carlile
(also from 12/7/05 Chicago)