It has been a great summer so far (even if we are technically only four days in hey who is counting); on Friday night we decided to head up to Boulder to catch Andrew Bird & The Hands of Glory at the Chautauqua Auditorium. In the 11 years that I have lived in Colorado I have been to dozens and dozens of concerts–but never one at the Chautauqua. I hadn’t even heard of it until a concert for Andrew Bird popped up as a Songkick alert in my e-mail (AKA best invention ever) back in March.
And hey, holy smokes! It is awesome.
And it is also pretty quintessential Colorado. Colorado has some amazing concert venues (Red Rocks, Paramount Theatre downtown, the Ogden, the Bluebird, the Gothic, the Fillmore, the weird biker bar I saw Hot Rod Circuit perform in in Colorado Springs, another weird bar in Denver that I saw OK Go in about 9 years ago and forgot my ID so I literally couldn’t cross a painted line past the bar while my husband-then-fiance pranced happily around the whole venue free as a smug bird, etc etc etc.) but I have to say that I think the Chautauqua beats them all.
It was the perfect setting for Andrew Bird, anyway–the Chautauqua Auditorium is a 116 year old barn-like structure that sits at the base of the Flat Irons in Boulder. It’s open air and quite large–yet oddly cozy. Was it the strings of lights strewn about the stage? The way Bird plays his music? The lack of air conditioning? Being able to see the sky through the windows and the walls? It’s hard to pinpoint what made it feel so intimate, but I really enjoyed it. I had been waiting about 10 years to catch a concert of his, and he did not disappoint.
I actually think this concert might be my most favorite concert out of all the concerts I have seen. It is easily in my top five. I cried like a dork through the whole thing. I was happy-crying (whistling!), sad-crying (launching into “Three White Horses” with no warning!), happy-crying again (a rendition of “Colorado Girl” by Townes Van Zandt!), and holy shit more sad-crying (still recovering from Three White Horses five songs later because I apparently have a really hard time dealing with death, don’t mind me!).
It was unlike anything I had ever experienced in a concert, honestly. Andrew Bird’s music can be an acquired taste and I am not a fan of everything he does (nor am I a fan of every album he has put out), but it is an entirely different experience to hear it and see it recreated live. It was neat to see him bounce from violin to guitar to Glockenspiel all while whistling, singing, spinning his Janus Horn, and looping. Such immense talent, and such a reminder of why I love live music so much. It made a music geek like me really, really, really happy.
It was also a reminder as to why I like living in Colorado so much. They bulldozed the lone music venue in Sioux Falls when I was 18 to erect a concrete parking lot, a parking lot that mostly stands empty even to this day. That’s not going to happen here in Colorado, but I still feel fortunate that I can see so many great shows so close to home. Live music warms the cockles of my slightly-cynical heart. It makes me feel truly alive, as ridiculously cliched as that sounds–and I don’t ever want to take that for granted. We have a great music scene. I am so happy I get to help support it. Thanks, Colorado.
(My husband just wants everyone to know that blah-blah-feelings-blah I’m awfully brave to declare Andrew Bird as my favorite when we still have Lauryn Hill at The Ogden this July.) (Uh…huh.)
Anyway! I hope you guys are having a fun & happy summer so far. Here’s a pretty pleated top from H&M, two different ways:
Bracelet: Forever 21, old (similar here for $5) (similar here + take 30% off with code “SUMMERLOVE”)