Surf’s Up

Yeah I know we live in Colorado but a group brought the ocean to the mountains and bridged a gap of oh too many years. 16 strong,  we climbed the Red Rocks and danced and sang and just had a ball in this crazy world. A fabulous evening. We went nuts during a three and a half hour marathon known as the Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Tour.

To start with, our mighty group of wannabes was beyond eclectic ranging from a ranch owner with a thousand head of cattle, bond guys of old, a lawyer and a mortician, John Horan. The head body snatcher provided two stretch limos and we left from of all places the mortuary parking lot. Champagne and tail gating as only you read about. Our own brand of Epsom Downs. Wood Allen, where are you?

If you have never been to the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver I probably won’t do it justice. It is carved in the foothills about ten miles west of Denver. As you rise to 6,000 feet the stage has the skyline as its backdrop. The seats are lengths of pine or oak spanning the whole row. Your location is simply marked and you could get a bad case of fanny fatigue if you sat too long. We didn’t worry about that

It was magnificent how the dwindling light played tricks with the sky and your soul. Not a lot of crazy lighting and none of it strobe. You had purple mountain’s majesty meeting with amber waves of grain and they melded effortlessly. Nimbus clouds floating lazily in the setting sun were the only warm up act needed. And then they appeared.

We had gone to a Kingston Trio concert a few years ago at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek and it was embarrassing. They carried canes instead of tunes. Not so tonight. The huge stage sported 14 musicians and five were the Beach Boys. There were drums, sax, piano and of course driving guitars.These guys knew how to do it.

The 9400 attendees were just as much a part of the show as the main attraction. We fumbled through the verses and sang long and loud for the choruses. We were in Row 28 of what is probably 100 staircase steps and it was the greatest people watching experiment you could have as you looked back up the hillside to people just having fun and singing and dancing to the music.Incredibly they did over 40 songs. They claimed 51 and I don’t doubt them. If so they should rename the place…Area 51.Mike Love is the lead singer and Brian Wilson the pianist of great repute. They left nothing in the bus.

Sure it was surfing music to a large degree and who cared. Critics would probably pan the repertoire and good for them. There was an air of melancholy of years gone by. Simpler times. Innocent times. Lost loves? Lost dreams? Not really. Kath was by my side and we just got lost in time and space as she reluctantly danced in the aisles with me. She never looked happier….or prettier.

For over three hours we just had fun and it felt so good. You didn’t worry about Libor or Libya. Grease seemed more appropriate than Greece. Diamonds were in the sky and not the one at JPM. Obama? Romney? Who are they? There were no drunks. There were a handful smoking pot. Just a bunch of old farts enjoying themselves.

There were two things that really struck me. These guys really know how to harmonize. The falsettos weren’t as crisp as you would like but when they hit chords they really knew what they were doing. There was no grandstanding but each one playing his part. Taking his bow. Making sweet music.

The second was the fact that our state has been so devastated by fires. Thanks to some timely heavy rains that has abated somewhat. But we also could realize what a great place this world is. We will find a way to heal and regrow. We might have to sing in a totally different way. But right now we need some singers that know how to recognize each other’s talent and blend effortlessly rather than singing off key at every chance. And of course we need a good lead singer to show us the way. If any of our politicos wants to step up to the mike we all will be in the cheering section urging on at every note with no stones to be thrown.

That’s it for now. Stayed up way too lateI have got to get some sleep. I hope you enjoyed the show.

As always

Ted The Great

Factoids:

The monoliths that form the natural walls of the amphitheater contain fossils that go back 250 million years.

Construction was part of a WPA grant and began in 1936 and took 12 years to complete.

Harry Belafonte, the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, Stones are but a few of the performers who have been there. Almost to a person they say it is one of the greatest venues they have performed in.

The Beach Boys are the longest continuously performing rock group in the country.Two have died over the years. One from a tragic accident and one from cancer.

One thought on “Surf’s Up

  1. I had the Beach Boys play at Fairfield in 1973.
    They were trying to break out of their “oldies” past by working colleges. I sat in a sound check and heard them rehearse for a couple of hours.
    Dennis (who later drowned) was sober at that time and insisted I bring him to the Student Center for dinner. Being on the chow line with him was pretty amusing. He was very relaxed and gracious, while having every coed weak in the knees.

    Later I got to speak with Carl, a sweet man who smoked like a chimney, about their attempt to break loose with “Surf’s Up,” an incredible album.

    You’re lucky to see Brian, who is in better shape. Glen Campbell played bass and took his place in the 60’s.

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