Jam bands have a propensity for improvised live performance, often creating highly unique shows. Their commitment to songcraft typically sees them draw from a diverse mix of influences – genres like rock, jazz and bluegrass are blended into recordings and live shows with great skill.
Denver has had a strong connection with the jam band movement ever since The Grateful Dead first played in the city in the 1970s (the Grateful Dead are recognised as the first jam band). Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the city’s most atmospheric music venue, is considered one of the best places in the world to see jam bands.
This summer the Mile High City plays host to some of the best jam bands around, including supergroup Further, which features two members of the ‘Dead in its lineup, the jam-genre-defining Phish and home-grown heroes String Cheese Incident.
Things are shaping up into one long, strange trip. Where it’ll go, no one knows.
Blues Traveler / moe. – Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, July 4
A Fourth of July tradition! Blues Traveler has been playing Independence Day concerts at Red Rocks for more than a decade now, bringing their rootsy, harmonica-fuelled jams to America’s premier outdoor music venue.
Railroad Earth with Galactic & Greensky Bluegrass – Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, July 12
The members of Railroad Earth aren’t losing any sleep about what “kind” of music they play – they just play it. And they play it amazingly well, bringing a bluegrass feel to the jam band style.
Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers – Denver Botanic Gardens, July 18
World-famous pianist/songwriter Bruce Hornsby is still, blissfully, making joyful noise after more than a quarter century in the limelight. A close collaborator with the Grateful Dead in the early 90s, Hornsby’s live sets are unpredictable, exciting and imaginative. Don’t miss him in the beautiful setting of the Denver Botanic Gardens.
The String Cheese Incident – Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, July 26-27
Hailing from Telluride and Crested Butte, The String Cheese Incident represent Colorado’s vibrant jam band scene, blending elements of folk, jazz, rock and bluegrass into a thoroughly enjoyable musical stew. The band took a few years off during the last decade, but it’s no coincidence that in 2010 they chose Red Rocks as the site of their triumphant return.
Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration featuring Warren Haynes and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra – Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, July 30
This ground-breaking orchestral adventure features the late great Jerry Garcia’s storied original compositions as well as classic interpretations of timeless standards that were hallmarks of Garcia and the Grateful Dead’s shows.
Dave Matthews Band – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, August 23-24
Dave is back! The Dave Matthews Band has sold a collective 37 million CDs and DVDs combined and ranked the biggest ticket seller worldwide of the past decade, with more than 18 million tickets sold since its inception. There will be no better place to catch them than Denver this summer during this epic two-night stand.
Phish – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, August 30-September 1
Denver’s got one of the most popular jam bands in the world for three nights this summer. Phish have earned a wildly devoted following over the past 20 years, thanks to the guitar heroics of Trey Anastasio, an always-unpredictable live show and unparalleled instrumental interplay.
Furthur – Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, September 19-22
Following their successful summer tour, former Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh & Bob Weir, with their band Furthur, return to Colorado to begin their much-anticipated Fall Tour 2013. The legendary group will return to the iconic Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO, for four magical nights on September 19, 20, 21 and 22.
Cheap Flights To Denver
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…