The Avett Brothers headlined (and sold out) Red Rocks on Saturday - Reverb

Live review: The Avett Brothers, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre

The energy in the Red Rocks parking lot before the Avett Brothers’ first-ever headlining gig at the amphitheater on Saturday was legit. Bandanas were sported and corn hole was raging. Beers and whiskey flowed, and a sense of community dominated everything. Parties collided and doubled in size, and everyone became fast friends over their “favorite Avetts songs.”

It was somewhere between a Dead tailgate and a Radiohead pre-party, what with all the young fans in the house. And that excitement carried over potently to the amphitheater, where the band played a straightforward but immaculate set to a sold-out house.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper introduced the band to the capacity crowd as “one of the best rock ’n’ roll bands on Earth,” and they returned the favor, starting things off with “Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise.” They later tossed in a localized take on John Denver’s “Back Home Again” – a tribute to the first inductee to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

“Tin Man” was fun, but the band stuck pretty close to the set list from the previous night’s show in Boulder – though Scott Avett did play a rousing, stunning version of his “Murder in the City” at Red Rocks. For the second night in a row, they played “Never Been Alive,” an unreleased song they’ve played for a couple years – perhaps a hint that it will appear on their next Rick Rubin-produced full-length album?

Looking up at the capacity crowd at Red Rocks, it was clear that the Avetts haven’t yet reached their peak. They sold out Red Rocks with more than a month to spare, and it’ll be fascinating to watch them as they take on this next phase in their career. “And it Spread,” indeed.

See our review and photos from the Avetts’ Boulder Theater show from the night before.

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Ricardo Baca is the founder and executive editor of Reverb, the co-founder of The UMS and an award-winning critic and journalist at The Denver Post.

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