Bands I like have a tendency to do this awesome thing where, when they’re touring, they don’t even come to my country. If they do come to my country, it’s either New York or LA. If they come to my state, it’s on a school night. It’s as if the universe has conspired to keep me from seeing bands I like live.
But on October 7th, the stars aligned. On October 7th, Bastille came to Red Rocks (which is in the state of Colorado, where I live) as part of their Born To Be Wild mini tour. That day was a Friday, which is not a school night, and through some creative texting, I convinced my older brother to take me.
It was kind of the best day of my life.
So, full disclosure: I’d never been to Red Rocks before that night, and there was a lot more walking than anticipated, which I didn’t appreciate that much. “Red Rocks is easy on the eyes, but tough on the thighs,” joked some random guy, who was actually probably there to show people where to go. I laughed, because it was funny, and then I didn’t laugh, because I couldn’t breathe. If you haven’t been to Red Rocks and you’d like to go there for a concert some day, make sure to not skip leg day. It was also super cold, so bring a blanket or two.
But that guy was also right about the “easy on the eyes” part; Red Rocks is beautiful. It’s absolutely gorgeous. My seats weren’t the best - we were pretty far back, as a matter of fact - but the sky was all starry, and the city in the distance was all glowy and city-like. The actual red rocks that made up most of the amphitheatre were pretty neat to look at as well, but it was kind of hard to see them in the dark.
Opening for Bastille was Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness. I hadn’t heard of them before the concert, but they were a solid group; they sounded a bit like Bastille, except with a little Charlie Puth mixed in, which isn’t exactly my thing. But if you think Bastille could use some more of that guy-at-a-keyboard-being-emotional sound, then Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness is the group for you.
Their set was super enjoyable, though. That Andrew McMahon guy knows how to have fun - he had those wacky wavy inflatable tube men on stage with him while he crooned, and they were amusing to look at. Then, he brought out a parachute - as in, one of those rainbow, elementary school gym class parachutes, the ones that made you feel all happy inside while you make waves and play with dodgeballs. His closer was a slower, clearly personal, and ridiculously inspirational song about his battle with cancer; it made me feel like I could soar into the sky and punch a cloud.
The Actual Concert:
Near the beginning of the show, Bastille’s frontman, Dan Smith, apologized in advance for being out of breath, because Bastille’s poor, British lungs couldn’t handle Colorado’s altitude.
The thing is, there was no out-of-breathness whatsoever. Dan Smith’s voice is a gift from the heavens. It is like chocolate and butter and happiness rolled up into the best cake ever. They performed songs from 2016’s (absolute masterpiece that you should not be sleeping on, seriously, but it on iTunes or Spotify or Google Play or whatever it is the kids use these days, this is an album that deserves to be heard) “Wild World,” as well as “Bad Blood,” their 2013 debut, and I can’t listen to either album without thinking of all the little things he changed and rearranged live, and I cry a little bit. This concert ruined two albums for me in the best way possible.
And he was so nice! After just about every song, Smith thanked the audience, which might be standard practice, but I don’t know, I thought it was nice. During “Glory,” the entire audience put the flashlights of their phones on, like lighters, but for millennials, and he spent a solid minute talking about how absolutely beautiful it was. I just felt so appreciated by this 30-year-old British man that I’ve never met. He also tried to get to the back of the amphitheatre at one point, which he did not do successfully, because Red Rocks is huge. And guess what? He apologized! It was kind of adorable.
Also, did I mention that “Wild World” by Bastille is a masterpiece? Because it’s a masterpiece, and it’s the exact album we need in 2016. It’s been a rough, kind of terrible year, and if you turn on the news, it’s really easy to think that the world is ending and that there is no hope for the future. But, as “Wild World” explains through music, the relationships you have with other people are worth staying positive for.
They also covered “The Rhythm Of The Night” by Corona, which was not totally uncalled for, because they covered it on a really weird mixtape they did a few years back. It got the entire place jumping and hyped up, and also slightly confused. But we got even more hyped up for the closing.
The concert ended with a performance of “Pompeii,” which is a song you know if you were alive in 2014. Everyone knew the words, and everyone was singing along to them, and jumping and flailing and generally having a good time. It’s a really, really sad song if you look at the lyrics - it’s literally about two Pompeiian corpses talking to each other after being smothered by volcanic ash - but its cheery beat is infectious, and that Latin chanting in the background is just so, so catchy. If you have the opportunity to hear it live, take it. In fact, if you have the opportunity to see Bastille live at all, go see them!