Words by: Brian Heisler | Images by: David Boothroy
Big Head Todd & The Monsters :: 06.07.08 :: Red Rocks Amphitheatre :: Morrison, CO
From the start it was sure to be a special night for Big Head Todd & the Monsters' annual hometown gig at Red Rocks. Public notices for filming were scattered throughout the venue, as were cameras, hiding in the trees and towering over the crowd, geared to document the long evening. As the sun went down on a brisk Colorado evening, the band took the stage, with a clean-shaven, shorthaired Todd Park Mohr at the helm.
The set started with blues, strengthened by the great, full-sounding, local accompaniment of the "Big Head Horns" to "I'll Play The Blues For You" and "Gary Indiana Blues." Continuing the theme, "Blue Sky" got the crowd moving. Swaying bodies and smiling faces were abundant, sure to be captured by the swarm of cameras weaving in and out of the stage, behind the band and in the crowd. And it wouldn't have the hometown feel if BHTM didn't have 50 people dancing along the side of the stage and lounging in couches.
"We got a lot of show happening tonight," Mohr prepped the crowd as Jeremy Lawton slid into "Dinner With Ivan" on the lap steel guitar. Mohr really wasn't exaggerating either. "Bittersweet" came early on, much to the delight of the crowd. Then things dimmed just enough to turn on the video screen, and images of Mohr and his gold, hollow body Fender Stratocaster shined across the audience. The crowd sang along and voices echoed on the rocks surrounding us. Screams followed more favorites early in the performance, leading with "Broken Hearted Savior." As the band hit the chorus, Mohr backed away from the microphone and pointed to the audience, who sang, "broken hearted savior" right on cue.
"Everything is going my way tonight," Mohr smiled. Someone brought out Mohr's harmonica and the band busted into "Vincent of Jersey." The special treats kept coming as Hazel Miller joined the band with deep, soulful vocals on "Angela Dangerlove." "Please Don't Tell Her," "Conquistador" and an audience-engaging version of "Boom Boom" closed the first set of a rare two-set show.
|Todd Mohr :: 06.07 :: Red Rocks|
Raindrops began to fall, but the Red Rocks audience was spared as the dark clouds eventually passed over the hills. Mohr reemerged alone to begin the second set acoustically with "City On Fire," followed by "Monument In Green" with added pedal steel from Lawton. Clearly much planning went into this concert. "This is a silly song, we haven't played it for years," Mohr seemed to reminisce, referencing an old venue in Denver before playing "A Rose for Wanda." As the night drew on, the cool Colorado air set in, dropping to a chilly 45 degrees. Technically, it wasn't summer just quite yet, but any time Big Head Todd & the Monsters takes over Morrison, CO it's impossible not to think of summer. Despite the chill, the crowd trudged forward with the band in rocking fashion through a seemingly endless setlist. "It's Alright" brought back a belting Hazel Miller and "Resignation Superman" zipped off into the skies, quenching many fans screaming in requests for their favorite BHTM hit. "We're gonna leave you with a punk song," Mohr yelled before finishing the second set with a loud, harsh "Beautiful Rain."
Returning for one last moment with their fans, the Monsters posed for a few pictures at the legendary amphitheatre and explained the night could be relived on a future DVD and CD. With the horns and Hazel Miller both back onstage, the band began a four-song encore with the classic "Beautiful World." After enduring nearly four hours of cold mountain air, Mohr yelled, one last time, "Alright, you ready?!" Stomping his black leather boots, Mohr led the crowd as Lawton opened up on lap steel again. A Mohr solo appropriately segued into Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way." It was a perfect way to end the marathon 35-song night that had documented their journey in their homeland of Colorado. A bright evening, a cold night, a red rock landscape and a four-hour hymn as the soundtrack and Todd Park Mohr's smile captured it all.
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