Get this – imagine standing on a stage, immersed between / in the mountains, looking up at 9,000 people who paid to come watch YOUR show. Imagine then remembering back to how it all started: street performing in New York City. Busking. Random strangers of the city passing by as if you were nobody. NOW, you are performing for 9,000 people who came to support. To feel the energy. To sing along to every song.
“We made it” is probably the phrase AJR has been saying ever since their song “Weak” flowed through the radio world & sky rocketed as their biggest hit a few years back. But this time, after playing Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO, the words “we made it” probably hit harder than ever. One of the most iconic venues (in my opinion) in the world & AJR sold that bitch out. Hell, it was sold out even before I bought my ticket to go.
I can’t even begin to tell you peepholes (peoples) how INSANE their show was. I’m still in utter and complete AWE of how creative these guys are with every. single. thing that they do. From the production. To the crowd interaction. To the creative thinking that went in to the performance of each song. I wish I could just post a video here of the entire show because honestly, words can’t even being to describe the magnitude / greatness of the show. They had lit up platforms on the stage. A massive screen [what I will refer to as the “big ass screen”] behind them with graphics that were out of this world. A dope ass trumpet player. & let’s not forget their killer dance moves – so nerdy but just AJR vibez for sure.
To start – the lights (obvi) go dark, the crowd goes wiiiiiiild (of course), & all we see is typing on that big ass screen I mentioned above. I don’t remember the exact wording but it went somewhat like: “Hey. Can’t come out yet. Gotta push the show back (awkward pause) fuck it lets start the show” – and the next hour and a half, I blacked out.
JUST KIDDING. Where to start, though. Let’s just rattle off some highlights & hopefully I can convey this to you as great as it was to see live:
First off, on the rocks in the venue, they had “Welcome to the Neotheater” displayed for all to see. I’m not sure if they do this at their other shows in the venues, but it almost felt as if Red Rocks was transformed into the actual Neotheater. I was LIVING for it.
During “The Entertainment’s Here,” Jack was walking on a treadmill (YES, A TREADMILL) on the stage in front of some graphics showing him “walking” through the city. Check the vid below.
They also created a setting during “I’m Not Crazy” that portrayed that of their street performing days in NYC, even having people in their crew walk across the stage and putting “money” in their guitar case. Jack even saying “thank you, man” as if they were still street performing. Made for a funny, lighthearted moment during the set.
There was also a part during the show where Jack & Ryan explained/showed us their creative process when they are making a song (different samples, editing, what sounds they choose & then mixing them up from there). I love when artists do this during a show that explains and gives a background to their thought process during the making of a song. I feel like it’s rare these days to see that & gives the fans a little more insight into them (because the average person has no fckn clue what goes into making a song). I unfortunately didn’t video this part because I was so in the moment.
One of my [second] FAVORITE parts of the show was the segue way leading into their performance of “Come Hang Out.” Jack uses the big ass screen to give the illusion that he is painting. He “paints” two larger versions of himself who he then uses to clap with to create the beat of the song. As I said before, the creativity of their set: MIND BLOWN. If you didn’t watch any of the previous videos, you CANNOT skip this one.
Another part I unfortunately didn’t get a video for was a part in their set where the trumpet player [who killed it, btw] played little snippets of other songs that they didn’t play the fuof during their set [because as Ryan said, they have too many songs these days that they had to pick and choose what to play during the set – sad day because they didn’t do “I’m Not Famous” and I go so hard to that song].
LAST BUT NOT LEAST – the most INCREDIBLE part of the show was the finale. A few songs before their final song, everyone on stage came back out wearing these all black jumpsuits with white lines. I immediately knew – they’re going to blackout the stage and light up themselves. JUST WATCH FOR YOURSELF, PLZ. So magical & the most insane way to end a show.
I first saw these guys play at a venue in Columbus, OH in 2014, at a radio show, to probably less than 100 people. The tiniest of venues. Going from that to seeing them play to 9,000 people at Red Rocks – my heart is just so happy for them. Such genuine, humble dudes, changing the world with their music, one day at a time.
If you get a chance, check them out on the rest of their tour: ajrbrothers.com/tour