The Avett Brothers at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 6/29/12 (photos and review)

The Avett Brothers kicked off their two-night stand at Red Rocks on Friday night with a dramatic, dynamic show set against a cool Colorado night in the foothills.

The set was frontloaded with some emotional heavyweights early in the evening – starting off with “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” eventually leading into “Murder in the City” and “Paranoia in B flat Major.” The band’s new single, the Seth Avett-fronted “Live and Die,” found an audience with its simple melody, but older fans latched onto “At the Beach.”


The setlist had a few forgettable inclusions. “Gimme a Kiss” is a silly endeavor, a simple song the North Carolina band moved beyond long ago. And while I’m thankful “Kick Drum Heart” brought the band a larger (and deserved) audience, the pop song – with its infectious bounce – never appealed to me.

That said, it was still a lovely show, with a stunning “Salina,” a moving “10,000 Words,” an impeccable “November Blue” and a truly beautiful “January Wedding,” which was, next to “I and Love and You,” the biggest singalong of the night.

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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.

Seth McConnell is a member of YourHub at The Denver Post and a new contributor to Reverb.