Band of Horses at Belly Up Aspen: A Sleep Deprived Review
The end of last week my 18 year old daughter texted me an angry face emoji. All summer long she had been looking forward to going to Aspen with her friend to see Band of Horses play and now her friend informed her she had car trouble and couldn’t go. “What am I going to do now, Dad? This summer sucks. Can you go?” Well … I do love Band of Horses and I love Colorado and it’s hard to say no to either of my daughters.
Tuesday morning, bright and early, we hit the road switching off playing music as we traveled. About 9 hours later we arrived at the hotel in Snowmass, did a quick change, and headed into Aspen. If you’ve never been to Aspen think of one of the most beautiful places on earth with the traffic of Chicago at rush hour and stores like Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Languages from all over the globe can be heard spoken on the street. In short, my daughter was in love. “Dad, hurry up and win the lottery so I can move here.”
We were the first in line at 8 pm and settled in for an hour wait for the doors to open. As the line formed we met several other people that had traveled as far as we had, or farther. The couple behind us had come from Lubbock, TX to see the band and we met a few other Nebraskans. The refrain, “the eastern slope shows in Denver and Ft. Collins sold out too fast!” was heard far and wide.
Finally, the doors opened and we entered Belly Up Aspen. It was a great venue! It was just large enough with a capacity of 450 for the sold out show. There were tables, chairs at a railing counter, and a small dance floor with stools around the edge. The venue had a few different levels so seeing the band was easy from anywhere. Of course, my daughter had to stand at the very front by the stage which wasn’t even waist high. I started on one of the stools but soon my daughter convinced me to join her standing. Now, some of you may remember me writing not long ago that I’d never stand at a concert again as I’m just too old. I lied. I stood throughout the concert and I’m glad I did. It was amazing!
We had seen them open for Neil Young and The Promise of the Real, but up close in a small venue was so much better. The band has 5 members including Ben Bridwell on vocals, guitar, pedal steel, and keyboards, Creighton Barrett on drums, Ryan Monroe on keyboards and guitar, Tyler Ramsey on guitar and vocals and Bill Reynolds on bass. We stood directly in front of Bill and he was highly entertaining. The talent of the band was clear to see as Ben started the concert with Monsters then changed from keyboard to guitar losing his cap in the process. The woman beside me began alternating between dancing sensuously and snapping photos of Ben, whom she was obviously infatuated with. At some point in the concert she began fanning herself with her hand and turning to me said, “I’m so hot and bothered!” “Thanks for sharing,” I thought, but couldn’t help but grin.
This was Band of Horses first stop on their tour and they were in fine form playing many songs from their newest album “Why Are You OK” including “Country Teen” and “Casual Party” which are two of my favorites. And of course they played plenty of crowd pleasers including “General Specific”, “Northwest Apartment”, “The Great Salt Lake”, “Is There a Ghost”, “No One’s Gonna Love You”, “Laredo” and finishing up with “Funeral”. After the concert we creaked our tired legs out of the club only to find Bill outside, so my daughter was able to meet him and get her poster signed.
The next morning we dragged ourselves out of bed, stopped in Aspen for a killer breakfast at Aspen Over Easy (including Wild Boar Brats) and headed over the incredibly beautiful Independence Pass, stopping to see the Tundra at 12,000 feet. All the while I kept singing “Plants and Animals” over and over at intervals till my daughter told me to shut up. 9:30 p.m. we arrived home exhausted but extremely happy. I highly recommend a trip like this to anyone.