Under a Clear Blue Sky at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Aug. 21, 2007* - U2 Feedback

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Old 08-26-2007, 10:09 PM   #1
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Under a Clear Blue Sky at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Aug. 21, 2007*

By Matthew Anderson

Hello! Hello! We’re in a place called Morrison!

Or, more precisely, Red Rocks, the storied concert venue that has had many an historic event happen upon its main stage.

Tuesday night was no exception.

A sold-out crowd of 8,000 turned out for the Denver Film Society’s final “Film on the Rocks” of the season. For the first time in the event’s eight years, people had to be turned away from an amphitheatre that was bursting at the seams with Bonoholics and movie lovers alike.

As part of the summertime tradition, attendees were treated to a concert and a movie, all in the magnificent outdoors of Red Rocks. While the Cinderella Twin Drive-In, only a few miles down the road is, sadly, counting down to its final frames before being razed in the name of “progress,” “Film on the Rocks” is thriving with its mix of rock ‘n’ roll ‘em.

Of course, it’s always good to have a little help from your friends, like Under a Blood Red Sky, the Denver-based U2 tribute band that headlined the evening’s entertainment. Also on the bill: a real, genuine wedding on the Rocks followed by, appropriately enough, Wedding Crashers.

Indeed, the party spirit was in the house as the white flags gently fluttered in a mild summer breeze.

While the stormy weather that helped U2 gain worldwide recognition with its map-placing tour-de-force 24 years ago failed to make a repeat appearance, it was, instead, Under a Blood Red Sky that took to the stage in the name of love.

Their set began as a recreation of one of Red Rock’s most revered performances, but in a nod to newer and younger fans, the band went on to perform a multi-era set attired in outfits replicating the days of War, The Joshua Tree, Elevation, and even ZOO-TV.

The set list packed in many of the band’s biggest hits, including “Where the Streets Have No Name” and a stellar take on “Vertigo,” but it also featured early gems like “Gloria” and “Two Hearts Beat as One.” The band’s ambitions took a super-sized chomp on the nails of success and, a couple of technical glitches aside, they rose to the occasion with panache.

The Edge’s guitar riffs induce goose bumps around the globe and this band’s Edge (Ted Gravlin, or “Tedge”) deftly recreated those magical notes. Given the spotlight during a sterling guitar solo, Gravlin nailed it while playing “Mothers of the Disappeared.” That music in that venue is enough to awaken the ghosts of concerts past and make them dream out loud all over again.

On drums, Jerry Bousquet rocked the stage to its core while Todd Brown smoothly and casually filled in for the smooth and casual Adam Clayton.

Then there’s Billy Bunting, or “Billy Bono.” The vocal range was there and the physical dexterity was there, but more importantly, the passion was there. Whether he was on the main stage or shouting from the rooftop of a Red Rocks concession stand, Billy Bono earned the crowd’s enthusiasm.

And enthusiastic it was; there’s no denying Denver loves U2 and U2 loves Denver.

Even so, amazingly enough, Tuesday night marked the first time a U2 tribute band ever performed at Red Rocks. But, given the unabashed earnestness of Under a Blood Red Sky and the U2-starved crowd that ate it all up with relish, it won’t be the last time.

In fact, June 5, 2008, the 25th anniversary of the original U2 performance, is already reserved for somebody to take the stage.

Recalling when Bono described U2 as reapplying for the job of the world’s biggest band, Billy Bono asked the crowd if Under a Blood Red Sky got the job. The response was a resounding “yes.”

But even Billy Bono would have to concede that, at least in this one particular case, there’s nothing better than the real thing.

The invitation – and petition – has been put forth. The biggest band in all the land is invited back to a place called Morrison next year.

Bono… Hello? Hello?

Set list:
Out of Control
An Cat Dubh
Two Hearts
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Electric Co.
New Year’s Day
Trash, Trampoline and the Party Girl
11 O’Clock Tick Tock
I Will Follow
Where the Streets Have No Name
Pride (In the Name of Love)
Walk On
- The Edge: Guitar Medley -
Mysterious Ways
Bullet the Blue Sky
With or Without You

For more information about U2 tribute band Under a Blood Red Sky, please visit the band’s website at www.underabloodredskyband.com.

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Old 08-29-2007, 05:22 AM   #2
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I was so sorry to miss the "UABRS" show at Red Rocks last week! Thanks for writing the review, it helped me imagine what I missed out on.... I will definitely catch the "silver anniversary" show....

I mean, does anyone think there's a chance that U2 themselves would come play at Red Rocks to celebrate the 25th anniversary on June 3rd, 2008?

And if they did, how to get tickets!?!

Much love,


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Old 08-29-2007, 05:28 AM   #3
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Whoops, I guess I meant June 5, 2008!
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Old 08-31-2007, 12:08 PM   #4
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Yeah, and I missed it twice!!!! Ugh! Oh well...I am glad it did so good!!
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Old 08-31-2007, 07:19 PM   #5
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Man how good would it be if U2 went back and did Red Rocks, playing only Red Rocks songs, released the DVD.
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Old 09-03-2007, 02:16 PM   #6
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What's fascinating to me is that more people showed up at Red Rocks to see Under a Blood Red Sky perform than did to see the real thing in 1983!
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Old 09-04-2007, 08:11 AM   #7
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I wonder how many of those people were there to see UABRS band though. The only person I personally know who was there is a co-worker who went to see "The Wedding Crashers". She said that while UABRS band played that there was a lot of open space right down in the first few rows, which you can see is true if you examine the picture of the crowd included in the article. And then how many people who were there that night were associated with the actual wedding that was taking place later on?

I bet the next time it will be sold out though even if UABRS band is the only thing going on that night. Especially on the 25th anniversary. Fun. We should plan a party!
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Old 12-14-2007, 01:36 PM   #8
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I live in Minnesota and planning a trip, to take a bunch of friends that have never seen the mountains. I plan on making the June 5th show as part of a 3 day trip, with the next day driving up to Glenwood Springs for the day, and maybe staying at the haunted hotel. I wish it be soon that they announce this as the date of June 5th and I bet tickets will be tough, even for the coverband, as they are pretty good, at least, good enough for me to come 1000 miles. lol
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Old 05-01-2008, 09:43 PM   #9
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Well we were unsuccessful in convincing the powers to be that we should be putting on the 25th Anniversary Celebration at Red Rocks.

Instead, make sure to check us out at The Gothic Theatre on June 5th at 8:00 PM as we re-create the concert in its entirety that launched U2 to international stardom!!!

One Love,
Under A Blood Red Sky

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