In an inspiring display of community, Colorado musicians and Colorado-loving musicians gathered Sunday night at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield to raise money for flood victims who lost more than 11,000 homes in September. While the amount of destruction is staggering, so is the support from the community and local and national musicians. Sunday’s event sold out in less than 90 seconds and raised nearly $500,000 with ticket prices ranging from $65-$125.
Promoters AEG Live and Live Nation teamed up to bring together the evening’s lineup that included Dave Matthews, the Fray, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, members of the Lumineers, DeVotchKa and Nathaniel Rateliff.
But it was the non-Coloradan, Dave Matthews, who’s words summed up the evening best.
“I’m very honored to be with you all, making the noise.” Matthews growled. “When we all get together, we can make a noise. To let people know there is more work to do!”
Managing a show like this had to be a difficult task to take on. And as such, the order of bands and length of each artist’s set had little consistency. Stage set-ups and break-downs were quick with Nathaniel Rateliff followed by DeVotchKa and then the Fray.
Groups like the Fray, the Lumineers and Big Head Todd used the night as an opportunity to push new music.
“Hi. We’re The Fray, and we’re from about 5 minutes away,” said front man Isaac Slade to start a set that included hits “How To Save A Life,” “You Found Me,” and new music that featured the band calling up Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s son Teddy to play piano.
Hickenlooper himself took the stage afterward to offer his thanks to all involved with the benefit and to introduce Dave Matthews.
“I just met Dave Matthews back stage and I told him I wanted to name a mountain after him. He said no. So I told him I would name a tree instead. He said maybe, but only if it was a small tree. But with all these artists, I’m going to have to name an entire forest,” Hickenlooper said.
Matthews’ set included songs “You & Me,” “The Space Between,” “Crazy” and a cover John Denver’s “Take Me To Tomorrow” (1970). Matthews recently recorded the John Denver cover for the compilation tribute album “The Music is You” released this year.
The Lumineers followed up Matthews, bringing some of the most crowd engagement of the night. The audience rose and stayed on their feet their entire set, singing along with songs “Ho Hey” and “Stubborn Love.” The crowd clamored with excitement as the band debuted the new song “Duet” featuring Wesley Schultz and Neyla Pekarek.
Big Head Todd and the Monsters rounded out the evening and were joined by more Colorado musicians, most notably Hazel Miller for the song “It’s Alright.” In a bitter sweet twist to his set, BHT chose not to play many of his hits off his signature album “Sister Sweetly” (1993). Instead he finished the show covering Led Zeppelin’s “When The Levee Breaks,” “Sweet Virginia” by the Rolling Stones, and appropriately, Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way.”
Even with such a stacked lineup of Colorado pop acts, it seemed that one band was missing — Colorado Springs’ OneRepublic. Hickenlooper addressed the band’s absence when he returned to the stage to read a text message.
“I wanted to read this text message from Ryan Tedder.” Hickenlooper said as he explained that the band is on tour in Jakarta, Indonesian and sends their love and wishes that they could have been a part of the evening.
Evan Semón is a Denver freelance writer and photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. See more of his work.
Seth McConnell is a member of YourHub at The Denver Post and a regular contributor to Reverb.