The Avett Brothers at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 6/30/12 (photos and review) - Reverb

The Avett Brothers at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 6/30/12 (photos and review)

The Avett Brothers had a lot of fun with the sold-out crowd at Red Rocks on Saturday night, their second consecutive show at the foothills amphitheater. If it wasn’t clear from the broad smiles across brothers Scott and Seth Avett’s faces, you could see their tricks in their diverse song choices, the band’s playful line-ups and the order in which they played everything.

For one, the band’s first song on Saturday night, a manic “Talk on Indolence,” was the last song the band played on Friday. The last song on Saturday night, a haunting and lush “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise,” was the band’s first on Friday evening.

A few highlights crisscrossed both nights, and Saturday’s take on “January Wedding” was as buoyant as the crowd’s spirit – and Saturday evening’s “Colorshow” was as dramatic as it was almost-apocalyptic.

But Saturday’s superior setlist made for a more intoxicating live show than Friday. The band’s “Laundry Room” slayed the amphitheater with its meaningful prose and dynamic builds. “Denouncing November Blue” was a call-and-response-styled answer to the previous night’s “November Blue,” and “Denouncing” had Scott and Seth calling back and forth and clearly enjoying themselves. And a weepy “If it’s the Beaches” in the encore was a heartbreaker if there ever was one, a song that is as moving and emotive as anything else in their expansive catalog.

The night was best, though, when even more Avetts joined the band – as in when father Jim and sister Bonnie joined them for a spiritual toward the end of the first set.

Bonnie joined the band again in the encore to sing the female verse in “Swept Away,” and it was clear at that moment that all was right in that little microcosm between those two rocks. The Avett Brothers had sold out Red Rocks, and they were there on a beautiful Colorado night – with their family, friends and fans. And it’s hard to imagine it getting any better than that.

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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.

Jason Bach is a Denver photographer and a new contributor to Reverb.

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