While many have come to think of Red Rocks Amphitheatre as the place to see great rock concerts, it hasn’t always been that way. Before the early 60s, the venue mainly saw performances from opera singers, brass bands and orchestras. Fittingly, the first rock concert at the most famous venue in the world was performed by the most famous rock band in the world.
In 1964--at the height of Beatlemania--The Beatles took the hallowed stage at Red Rocks and let rock & roll ring out in the venue’s perfect natural acoustics. Since then, Red Rocks has hosted some of the most epic rock concerts of all time.
Jimi Hendrix played there on Sept. 1, 1968 and U2 delivered what is widely considered the greatest rock performance of all time at Red Rocks on June 5 1983--as chronicled in the concert film “U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky,”--partly because of the Irish band’s insistence to play through one of Red Rocks’ notorious rain storms with the stage lit by firelight.
Every year, history is made at the iconic venue and 2018 will be no different. You don’t want to miss your chance to be a part of that history. Here at AXS, we’ve got you covered on the best rock and alternative shows at Red Rocks in 2018.
The rock at Red Rocks and the venue’s season proper gets started on April 19 with 311 as well as a little hip hop in the mix with Method Man & Redman. After opening for Trey Anastasio in 2017, Vulfpeck--whose catchy funk tune “Back Pocket” was recently featured in an Apple ad--have stepped up for their first headline at Red Rocks on April 27.
Things start to ramp up in May beginning with New York rockers X Ambassadors and the return of Primus, whose shows at Red Rocks last year and in years past have been highlights of the season. May also includes performances from Modest Mouse, The Decemberists and Five Finger Death Punch.
June kicks off with two nights from cult rock band Ween on June 5 & 6. Denver’s own Big Head Todd and the Monsters keep June rocking followed by Australia's own John Butler Trio. Another highlight of the Red Rocks season in years past has been singer-songwriter Ryan Adams, who takes the stage on June 14. Adams plays just days before friend and close namesake, the rocker Bryan Adams (they also have the same birthday). Other notable rock shows in June include Dispatch, Barenaked Ladies and Kaleo.
July sees alt-rock mainstays Blues Traveler once again playing at Red Rocks on the Fourth of July. John Popper and company have had dibs on the coveted July 4th slot at Red Rocks for 25 years. August gets underway with the country-tinged rock of Lucero on Aug. 3 followed by guitar virtuoso Joe Bonamassa. In mid-August Red Rocks will welcome two of modern rock’s brightest, Portugal. The Man and Father John Misty. Last year, FJM delivered a spiritual performance at Red Rocks.
While September and October usher in fall, the Red Rocks season keeps going strong. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit kick off the rock on Sept. 3 followed by Texas guitar-slinger Gary Clark Jr. September continues with the frat-rock of O.A.R., the lounge rock of Mac DeMarco, the roots rock of The Revivalists and punk rock of Rise Against. Check out a complete list of 2018 alternative and rock shows at Red Rocks below.
Rock and Alternative Shows at Red Rocks 2018:
Thur. April 19 - 311 and Method Man & Redman w/Collie Budz, PROF, Long Beach Dub Allstars, Chali 2na (Get Tickets)
Fri. April 27 - Vulfpeck w/Kamasi Washington, KNOWER (Get Tickets)
Thur. May 3 - X Ambassadors w/Misterwives, Allan Rayman (Get Tickets)
Sun. May 6 - Primus & Mastadon w/All Them Witches (Get Tickets)
Sun. May 13 - Modest Mouse (Sold Out)
Tue. May 22 - The Decemberists w/Whitney (Get Tickets)
Tue. May 29 - Five Finger Death Punch w/Of Mice and Men (Get Tickets)
Tue. June - 5 - Ween (Get Tickets)
Wed. June 6 - Ween (Get Tickets)
Sat. June 9 - Big Head Todd and the Monsters w/ Blackberry Smoke, JD mcPherson (Get Tickets)
Sun. June 10 - John Butler Trio w/Tash Sultana, Mama Kin Spender (Get Tickets)
Tue. June 12 - Bryan Adams (Get Tickets)
Thur. June 14 - Ryan Adams w/First Aid Kit (Get Tickets)
Sun. June 17 - Dispatch w/Nahko and Medicine for the People, Raye Zaragoza (Get Tickets)
Tue. June 19 - Barenaked Ladies w/Better Than Ezra, KT Tunstall (Get Tickets)
Wed. June 20 - Kaleo w/Anderson East (Get Tickets)
Wed. July 4 - Blues Traveler w/G. Love & Special Sauce, The Wailers (Get Tickets)
Fri. Aug. 3 - Lucero and Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls (Get Tickets)
Sun. Aug. 5 - Joe Bonamassa (Get Tickets)
Wed. Aug. 8 - Portugal. The Man w/Oh Sees (Get Tickets)
Wed. Aug. 15 - Father John Misty w/TV on the Radio (Get Tickets)
Mon. Sept. 3 - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit w/Aimee Mann, Amanda Shires (Get Tickets)
Wed. Sept. 5 - Gary Clark Jr. (Get Tickets)
Sun. Sept. 9 - O.A.R. w/ Matt Nathanson (Get Tickets)
Sun. Sept. 10 - Mac DeMarco (Get Tickets)
Thur. Sept. 13 - The Revivalists w/Houndmouth, J Roddy Walston and the Business (Get Tickets)
Sat. Sept. 15 - Rise Against w/AFI, Anti-Flag (Get Tickets)
Tue. Oct. 9 - The National w/ Sharon Van Etten (Get Tickets)