James Taylor at Red Rocks Amphitheatre

On July 23rd I had the extreme privilege of attending a James Taylor concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre just outside of Denver, Colorado.  If you’ve never been there, you should make plans to go.  There’s just something magical about listening to music outdoors, especially on a cool Colorado summer evening.

2012 Red Rocks View from the top

James Taylor just happens to be the ONLY musician that I like enough to sign up for his mailing list.  He’s so amazing!  You know, its not that he’s an outstanding vocalist or flashy instrumentalist (although he sure knows how to put a band together), but his songs come straight from the heart and he’s authentic.  Every time I’ve gone to one of his concerts, I feel like I’m sitting in the living room sharing good music with friends.  And since my husband is a musician, I really know what that feels like.  It’s pure joy!

So, several months ago when I got an email saying that he (James, not my husband) was going on tour and would be playing in Denver, I talked my husband into getting tickets for my birthday (which happens to be in July).  Our son lives in Boulder and we knew we’d be going to visit him sometime, so we planned to be there for the concert too…AND since I’m on JT’s mailing list, we were able to get tickets before they went on sale to the public, so we were in row 14!  The photo above is from near the top of the amphitheatre.  That’s a long way up!

This is the walkway that leads to the seating area.  It’s a bit of a hike, but not too bad.

2012 Red Rocks Amphitheatre

The pics below show our location in relation to the top and to the stage.  It was a perfect spot!

2012 Terry & Nancy at JT

2012 Nancy & Terry view to the stage

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take in my camera, but we did have Kevin’s pocket camera to take these pics.  He and his date, Hattie went with us too.

Despite the fact that it looked stormy that night and was a bit blustery, we didn’t have any rain (like they apparently did the following night) and the concert was only affected by wind sometimes blowing through the microphones.  Oh, and one of the roadies had to sit next to the drum set to make sure the cymbals didn’t get blown over. (you’ll see that in the video below)

James and his band performed amazingly well considering the distraction from the wind (and potential storm).  I did notice though that he’s reminding me more and more of my dad.  You see, he’s tall and thin and built like my dad and he’s bald like my dad and this time when JT was “dancing”, with his somewhat awkward moves that make him so endearing, I could totally see my dad.  I LOVED it!  So he’s not only a wonderful performer, but also a fond reminder of my dad, who passed away over 30 years ago.

Just to give you a little taste of what it was like at the concert I recorded one of my favorite songs, “Sun on the Moon” with Kevin’s little camera.  The lighting is way too hot on JT and my hand is a bit shaky, but I love the rhythm, arrangement and the harmonies in this song.   And check out the cheers when JT starts “dancing”.  Gotta love this guy for his down to earth performances. Nothing flashy or overly choreographed here.

The last pic here is the band taking their bows.  It’s hard to tell, but it really is James Taylor and his band.

2012 James Taylor Final Bows

Funny thing too, we found out later that another couple we know from Phoenix was at the same concert.  Only we didn’t find out until after we got home.  It was a spectacular night and makes me smile just thinking about it.  Wish you could have been there with us!

Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado

 

Did you know that the tallest sand dunes in all of North America are in Colorado?  Seems odd, huh?  I would think it would either be along the coast somewhere or maybe in the Arizona deserts, but actually you’ll find them in southern Colorado.  As you may know, one of the items on my Bucket List is to visit every National Park in the U.S.  On Friday we visited Petrified Forest National Park in northeastern Arizona (more on that soon).  Yesterday we visited Great Sand Dunes National Park!

Here’s the view from the visitor center!  Isn’t it gorgeous.  When we were there a monsoon storm was coming in from the east so the dark clouds cast shadows on the mountains and the dunes creating an ever-changing canvas of colors.

Great Sand Dunes National Park Colorado

Summer’s not the best time to visit the park because the temperatures on the dunes can reach the mid-100’s (F).  We were smart enough to stay away from walking on the sand, but since we were in the area, it was still nice to get a preview of the place in case we want to come back and visit again sometime.  If you have a chance to visit the NPS website, you’ll see that there is really quite a bit to do around there besides just running around on the dunes.  Looks like there’s a seasonal river, lake, waterfall, wildlife, beautiful fall and spring color, camping, hiking, etc.  I definitely think it’s worth another trip.

You can explore any part of the 30 square mile dunefield you wish; there are no designated trails in the sand. And there’s even a sand dunes-accessible wheelchair available for free loan at the Visitor Center for those who aren’t quite as mobile.

Here are a few of the photos we took during our short visit.  We saw Pronghorn and Mule Deer as well as the expected chipmunks and squirrels.  Let me know if you’ve been there and what was the most fun for you during your visit.