A visit to a place we WILL play someday, Red Rocks Amphitheater! And a special surprise…

Marianne missed the chance to take us to the Red Rocks amphitheater last year, due to our time constraints. So this year it was the ONLY action item on her agenda. And my oh my, it did NOT disappoint! We had the idea to bring our guitars into the amphitheater and just play a bit. Before we left, we checked to see if anyone would be setting up to play for the night after the 4th. Oh man… it was the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, playing “John Williams’ Suites from Star Wars and Harry Potter”. 

If you have spent any time chatting with my darling husband at all, you may have heard him mention his deep and profound love of the prolific composer, whose works have been the soundtracks to many of our childhoods and beyond. On any playlist that Jared has curated for anything from weddings to after school parties, some John Williams piece can be found, snuck in, buried between the pop and rock favorites, just to add a little culture and nostalgia to any event. 

Anyway, since Jared and I have been together, we have seen several of these concerts advertised in so many venues, from Santa Barbara to Seattle, L.A., Tacoma, and now Colorado…at the Red Rocks. We had never before been able to get tickets to ANY of these other shows. The timing with this was just perfect. I couldn’t believe it! I knew I had to act fast and be sneaky about it. Marianne and I immediately formed a plan to buy tickets and surprise Jared that night. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself…

First, we just wanted to go the the space, maybe play our guitars on the steps, get a few photos, dream some dreams, and then grab lunch. So that’s just what we did. But, before we found the perfect spot to play, I was looking at the seats and I said nonchalantly, “I think it would be best to play right around there…” and I gestured to the upper middle section, “…since that is where we’ll be sitting tonight when we come back for the concert.” And then I waited. He already KNEW what was happening that night since we had to check it out to see if we would be able to get in, but he NEVER thought to see if we’d all like to go, let alone IMAGINE that we would plot to get tickets to surprise him. And was he surprised!!! 

“Wait. What do you mean, tonight?” he said as he looked at me in shock.

“Oh, you know, the CO symphony…and that little John Williams thing.” I half-heartedly replied, dying with glee inside. “We got tickets for it!”

“WHAT?!?!?!?!” he inquired hopefully.

“Yep! I knew you’d never ask to go or try to make it happen on your own, so here you go! A night just for YOU!” 

So with the secret out, and some significantly bigger smiles, we could move forward and have some fun! 

You guys!! We climbed the bleachers, chose aisle #33 (lucky number and all) and walked right into the middle of it. We stood there, with the stage behind us, set up our guitars, amid the tourists, avid exercisers, dog walkers, and the vast, overcast Colorado sky, and we sang our hearts out! We even got some people singing along and clapping. With the help of Marianne and my trusty tripod, we captured the whole experience on video, so we’ll definitely be editing that and getting that up for you to see. At some point! We can now, officially say that we played at Red Rocks Amphitheater, and we “opened” for the Colorado Symphony Orchestra!😂 What an absolute blast. 

Look at this… absolutely NO fun at all. 

Literally high from the altitude, and theoretically high from the adrenaline of big fun and bigger dreams, we packed up and headed back down the mountain. I made Marianne stop to get in a photo with me in this incredible space. Absolute friends for life. 💖

The Concert:

There are things you pass up in life, thinking they’ll come around again, but they never do, and you wish and wonder and regret. Then there are things you pass up and they come back in a better opportunity than you could have possible imagined. This was one of those serendipitous occasions. 

First off, my Jared is a man who constantly, and with a happy heart, puts me and my needs, our son and his needs, and then anyone else’s needs, wants, requests, etc., above his own. He will pass on purchasing items for himself so that I can have something I’d like, or we can do something together that we’ll all enjoy. He never sighs or rolls his eyes if I come home with a bag of frivolous items that bring me joy. He never belittles me for doing things with my friends. He always finds a way to help Rudy get a new game he’s been wanting, or pays for all of Rudy’s friends to go roller skating, never once remarking on how he “could have used that money” for X, Y, or Z item, event or any such thing. So when the opportunity arises for me to be able to do something solely for Jared, just to honor him or bring him joy, you bet I jump on the chance. The problem is, it is VERY hard to surprise him, as we are together all the time, especially on tour, and our funds are carefully watched by him while we’re on the road, so we don’t screw up and get in a stuck situation. So with Marianne Brown as my accomplice, I KNEW we’d make it happen. Much like when we stuffed pillows under our blankets and snuck out of her house when we were thirteen years old, we’re a great team, and we know how to plot for a good time. But neither Marianne or myself, or even Jared for that matter, knew just how much fun we would have.     

This was me DESPERATELY trying to get Jared to take a “normal” picture… he was so giddy and goofy, we had no success!😂

To say we had a great time was an understatement. Jared thought he would enjoy it, but he never expected the spiritual experience he would have. As I watched the tears freely flow down his cheeks, making their way into his beard and mixing with the minor rain droplets from the sky, I KNEW we’d made the right choice and we were in a memory we would never forget. 

There was a twenty-minute delay of the show due to the chance of us all getting hit by lightning. As everyone did as told and retreated to shelters, their cars, the bathrooms, we just skootched closer together under a waterproof blanket and some rain coats, toasted to the foreboding clouds, and gave our best “Lieutenant Dan” cries to the sky, daring Thor to give us his best! None of us were struck by lightning, if you must know (kind of a bummer), and best of all, we got to keep our seats!

The numbers were arranged by showcasing themes from both Star Wars and Harry Potter, specifically for characters that shared qualities, like Gilderoy Lockhart and JarJar Binks. The conductor donned his Jedi robes for the first set, and his Hogwarts robes for the second. Of course, he turned to the Dark Side for the encore, and they crushed the ending with the Imperial March. We laughed and cried and cheered. There were no empty seats in the amphitheater, as families, lovable movie nerds, classical music buffs, and just people who appreciate great music in a stellar venue alike, all sat and enjoyed an evening of compositional magic. We all jumped to our feet to cheer when the last fanfare was hit. 

The rest of the evening, the drive home (Jared here: Don’t worry. We Ubered.) and some slurred, but heartfelt conversation, was a bit hazy, as we were several adult beverages into the evening. But we clung together down the stairs, singing and laughing the whole way, recounting the way the music made us all feel. Even Marianne, who was mostly unfamiliar with either set of films the music was from, thoroughly enjoyed every second of the experience. And that’s truly what it was about. The once-in-a-lifetime experience that we got to be in together.  

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