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Two Nights On The Rocks

Two Nights On The Rocks


Our family of four has always been into music. When our daughters were young, Jim played in numerous local bands. On Friday and Saturday nights, he would come home late, smelling of stale cigarettes and beer, after a full night of music. The pedal steel and the guitar cases would be propped against the wall, and when our daughters came down for breakfast, they would see them and ask about his night. Both of us played guitar and sang and we passed that love on to them. Our record collection that morphed into cassettes and CDs was large and varied. From classical to folk to rock to jazz, passing by bluegrass, French chanson and black gospel, our daughters listened to a bit of it all. And we are all blessed with a musical ear.


No surprise then when our oldest joined her life to a young man who studied sound and light and followed music around. Our son-out-law soon became our son-in-law and we followed his travels with various bands, once welcoming them to our house for showers! When we all decided to get together as a family, Jim wanted to know if Jason might be at Red Rocks with his band so he could watch backstage how the sound system is put together, and see the backbones of a large stage event.

If you have never heard of Red Rocks, let me describe it to you. About a half hour west of Denver, Colorado, at over 6,000 feet, sits an amazing natural formation made of red sandstone rocks. The rocks were formed about 290 million years ago and were later pushed upward into very striking formations. The Red Rocks Amphitheater is nestled in among these enormous slabs of rock.


Our family get together purposefully coincided with Jason’s gig at Red Rocks. Thanks to his connections and his hard work, we were able to visit this amazing place. And we received the royal treatment. As we climbed the mountain to the venue, our first stop was to pick up the tickets. With special “Artist” badges and all access tickets, we slowly made our way through all the blocked entries. Emily just showed the tickets and said, “We are the Shenk family”, and security guards moved aside. We parked near the entrance and then were given a ride up the final steep hill to the backstage door. Jason met us and Emily showed us around. We stood just backstage, watching the crowd and the lights, and moving to the rhythm of the music. Jason was in his element, focused, making sure everything was ready to go. He had time for a few quick hugs and chatter. When his band came on, his work continued. The rest of us watched and  listened from the side stage then took the tunnel to the front house soundstage, where we could see the show from the audience’s perspective. With the pulsing music and throbbing lights, the audience became a human wave. The energy flew off of the stage into the audience and went back down again. We all soaked in the sound in that amazing setting, as a full moon slowly rose over the red rocks.


The next night, we made the pilgrimage again, this time as audience members. Seated near the top, we took in the view of the land, the gigantic rocks, and the overall sound and lights of the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Getting the backstage view and then the audience view gave us the full experience at Red Rocks. We will long remember the hours spent together in that place, and we came away with a full appreciation of how much work it takes to put on a seamless show for an admiring audience. If I close my eyes, I can still feel the beat and the lights and the way music bring us together and takes us to another place, away from the worries of the world.

Thanks to Jason for making it all happen!

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