Dada Life Paints the Rocks Red in Colorado
There is an unbelievably unique experience driving towards Red Rocks Amphitheater in the foothills of Morrison, Colorado. The geologically formed rocks, visible at long distances, stick up straight from the earth. This open-air Amphitheater consists of two three hundred-foot monoliths (Ship Rock and Creation Rock) that provide acoustic perfection, fit for any performance. Last week Dada Life said it best themselves on their website “This is Red Rocks in Colorado, it has to be one of the most beautiful venues in the world! Humans of all kinds have been gathering here for hundreds of years, listening to and performing music and rituals. We’ve played here before but never for our own headline show, and this Saturday night we have that privilege. We’ve spent months planning what has become the biggest stage show we’ve ever done.”
Being a part of Dada Life’s dysfunctional banana family for over five years now, I will admit that the excitement for this particular show officially took on a new level after reading that post. Let’s travel back to 2010 when Dada Life first caught my attention with “Cookies With A Smile.” Now statistically the chances of catching at least one live show in six years are in ones favor, but not for this guy. It turns out that managing to be in the same place at the same time as Dada Life would be much more difficult (and increasingly frustrating) each time our paths didn’t cross.
Finally, on Saturday May 21st 2016 the stars would finally align, providing the opportunity to see these two Swedish rule makers. When I arrive in the lower parking lot, a group of concertgoers dressed in banana suits have gathered to dance in the sunshine. As it grows closer to “Go Time” I make a quick visit inside the Trading Post gift shop near the entrance, and have a enjoyable conversation with Cynthia who’s working the register. She provides solid directions on where will call is located, the entrance, and a small amount of the history here at Red Rocks. In order to pick up my ticket and wristband, a small hike on the will call trail would be required. This quick stroll through minor brush and open fields was quite enjoyable, and just another reminder of the beauty of Colorado.
The uphill walk from will call to the main entrance provided a little work out fun. If you’re no cardio master and not used to the elevation change, it can be enough to cause some heavy breathing by the time you reach the top. Holding it down at the top gate was Katherine of Red Rocks security, rocking a Dada Life smile face mask while waiting for the green light to let us all enter.
As the gates open it finally hits me…this was it: six years of missed opportunities and scheduling dilemmas had come to an end. Dada Life was finally happening. I took a moment to really appreciate the gravity of the event and the beauty surrounding the area. The stage itself had a massive inflatable T-rex stage left and a Brontosaurus stage right towering over the booth. Just moments after walking in Aryay began his performance and immediately you felt the bass bouncing between the rocks, providing nothing but good feelings throughout your entire body.
Aryay provided a solid mix that helped set the tone for the evening, while concertgoers hunted out the perfect spot to post up. The unique digital art show in the background prompted a lot of laughs from the crowd and made it easy to strike up conversations with the folks nearby. Ilan Bluestone stepped up to the tables next, picking up right where Aryay left off. He increased the flow with a one hour progressive set of house and melodic trance that fit perfectly into the overall lineup. Next up was Colorado’s own, Paper Diamond. Truthfully more should be said about his performance, but simply put Paper Diamond added gasoline to an already roaring bonfire. At this point, Red Rocks was officially lit.
As I stepped out between artists to grab a drink, I met Tim and his fiancé Tyler. Both are huge fans that wholeheartedly expressed that Dada Life “Would and will be the best energy ever seen in a show, period.” As the sun set below the Rocky Mountains, Jauz took us into the early evening with a monster set. I spent the past week listening to his live sets from previous festivals, including Ultra Music Festival Miami and Electric Daisy Carnival New York. Somehow that was still not enough preparation for all of the hard-hitting bombs dropped on us that night. If you’re like me and couldn’t ever get enough of Jauz, he will be returning to Colorado for the Mad Decent Block Party September 3rd.
Looking up into the night sky was mesmerizing, with hundreds of bright stars above each grabbing for our attention. The light levels had now lowered and were aimed towards the center of the stage. An anonymous deep voice calmly came over the sound system…”We created light, we created sound, we created happiness – this is the foundation of our great nation, tonight we enter a new world, a new era, welcome to Dada Land Before Time. “Feed The Dada” immediately starts off, building up until Olle asks “Are you ready to go fucking bananas? Right here, Right now? A volcanic eruption of screams loud enough to shake the earth, bellowed through the valley. Large inflatable bananas and champagne bottles appeared out of nowhere and were launched into the crowd, bringing the energy levels to an unreal high and continuing to rise. Everyone’s loosing their minds. Massive Dada Life crests are projected onto the three hundred foot walls, all enhanced by the fog machines the are clearly working overtime to pump out plenty of magic.
One of the many bananas makes its way into my possession and our row takes turns dancing with a giant four foot banana until sending it on its way. Glowing inflatable balls light up with a blue hue and dance to the beat of the music, which adds a nice subtle touch. Time seemed to disappear over the course of two hours as Dada Life locked in to Red Rocks for an unforgettable experience. It was an epic showing of love, laughter, energy, happiness, smiles, and some of the largest inflatable bananas anyone has ever seen.
Throughout it all Aryay, Ilan Bluestone, Paper Diamond, and Jauz all read the crowd well and each put on a special performance, raising the bar with each set until Dada Life hurdled it at the end of the night. Everyone who worked together towards putting this show on has certainly earned a well deserved “thank you.” May 21st will be remembered dearly by all those in attendance and was certainly a memorable first experience at Red Rocks. We arrived beautiful and left uglier than ever. Here’s to the next time the stars align…
Dada Life – “To all the Citizens that have supported us along the way – we love you, truly. As our way of saying thank you we want to give something back in true Dada Life fashion and that’s what this weekend is”
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