Why does the music sound so good at Colorado’s Red Rocks amphitheater?

Red Rocks hasn’t always had it easy. Sixty years ago in 1964, The Beatles arrived for what would be Red Rocks’ first major popular music concert—famed as being one of a select few US Beatles dates that failed to sell out. Then there was Jethro Tull’s 1971 concert, which sparked riots and a subsequent ban on rock music at Red Rocks through to 1976. Not to forget U2’s renowned 1983 show featured in the Sunday Bloody Sunday video, almost canceled due a torrential rainstorm—despite the band investing USD$250,000 in live DVD production costs.

I was 11 when I first saw that Sunday Bloody Sunday video on MTV. I remember it vividly: The rocks, the fire, and—famously—the blood-red mist. In 2004, it was listed in Rolling Stone’s 50 Moments that Changed the History of Rock and Roll list for its dramatic footage, and the springboard it gave U2 for future success.

I was brought up on an unfulfilling musical diet of Elvis Presley and Donny Osmond, so seeing live music thrashed out beneath rust-red rock formations—Lyon’s Red Random Flagstone, to be precise—was high up on my list, along with hearing those boisterous riffs and thunderous drums of Nirvana for the first time.

Since then, I knew I had to get to Red Rocks.

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