What was probably our last concert at Red Rocks before the move was a great concert by the John Butler Trio and Michael Franti & Spearhead. The JB Trio is an Australian band I had never really liked. Their 2007 US debut, Grand National, has the kind of simple lyrics and chord structure that make them sound like either early Rusted Root, or any other ‘indie’ band in the world. But, they were a real surprise live as the concert showcased their immense musical talent, which their album does not. At one point John Butler did a ten-minute instrumental piece with just his guitar. On this song, Ocean, Butler uses a combination of finger picking, percussive techniques like tapping and palm muting, and open tuning to evoke a whole orchestra out of this simple acoustic guitar. This video gives an approximation of what he did at the concert, only at Red Rocks he used much more percussion. Notice his fingernails on his right hand are shaped for maximum finger-picking effect. In any case, John Butler Trio put on a great show.
But the real event of the night was Michael Franti & Spearhead, who never disappoint. This is the second time Elissa and I have seen them at Red Rocks. Before the concert, Elissa and I decided not to bring the camera. This was a colossal mistake as halfway through the set the band left the stage and popped up in the middle of the amphitheatre about six feet from us to play five songs… Grrr. While I love their live show, Michael Franti & Spearhead irritate me with their relativist politics. The show started with a ten-minute montage of what an idiot George W. is (no problem there), and then moved into how we were all beautiful butterflies. Typical refrains rife for bumper stickers are “You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can’t bomb it into peace” (what?) and ” To be rhymin’ without a real reason, is to claim but not to practice a religion” and my favorite ” If I could be you, you could be me, I could be you, you could be me, I could walk a mile in your shoes….. And you could walk a mile in my bare feet.” See, cause he doesn’t wear shoes—he’s enlightened. Luckily, in real life, Franti is much more a political actor with a deliberate agenda than his “let’s all be friends” lyrics suggest.
What we did manage to get pictures of was us eating veggie burgers from the new Boulder, CO joint “V.G. Burger”.
I did not handle the VG Burger well. I got sweaty and bloated and had a stomach ache the rest of the night (a night that ended at 3am). I think my body was rejecting health food the way others reject a pig heart.
Elissa, as always, makes eating reconstituted soy look enjoyable. She even garnered the attention of the passerby. But, she is clearly not really eating this burger. She doesn’t take such Sam-sized bites.
I am not a hater of all veggie burgers, but this place makes a particularly lame one. It was dry and tasted like a store-bought, reheated boca burger. I’m not even going to go into the rice-milk, non-dairy chocolate shake. Plus the place was run by total hippies. I’m not a fan of hippies. I asked them what the V.G. in “V.G. Burger” stood for and the young woman said, “It stands for vegetarian or vegan or whatever you want it to stand for.” I just nodded and let her get back to her bubbles and praying for mankind.