Morrison, Colorado — home of the bucket-list inducing venue, Red Rocks, just outside Denver. This natural amphitheater set the stage for Phoebe Bridgers on a gloomy Tuesday night. I was lucky enough to get to the venue super early, around 4pm, so I could try to scope out the heralded Red Rocks layout. To my surprise, the ticket booth was open and I got in early enough to catch Phoebe and her band fine-tuning their soundcheck. It was magical.
Two massive rock formations on both sides; stadium seating in the center; Bridgers music filling the rest.
I only managed to catch about 10 minutes of her soundcheck, but got excited seeing her climb to the top of the stadium afterward. I climbed halfway up, waiting for her to come back down. I asked her politely if I could take her photo, she obliged and was incredibly nice about it!
When it came show time, Phoebe Bridgers looked energetic onstage and excited while taking it all in. She did not disappoint her fans or anyone in attendance. The stadium was empty around 6:55… almost completely packed by 7:15pm. Fans were decked out in her merch, most notably her signature skeleton digs. It seemed like everyone was adorning some type of PB gear!
A band that Bridgers was in previously opened the show — Sloppy Jane. They were something so different and completely in their own league… almost Oingo Boingo-ish, with a hint of Talking Heads and a dash of Mozart. Their soundcheck had me really wanting to see their full set and left me wondering what Bridgers fans would think about this eclectic mix. They were fully in from the get-go.
Sloppy Jane sparked the fuse and Bridgers was the dynamite.
I’ve been to thousands of shows and I’ve never heard anything like the welcome Bridgers fans gave her as Phoebe entered, silhouetted by some incredible lighting. Her fans were at a fever pitch by the time she made her way to the front and center of everything. Bridgers fans hung on to her every word, her every move and gave everything they had back to the alt rock queen. I was not expecting such a loud and anxious crowd; I was expecting a very calm, romantic evening, with maybe some light clapping and singing along. I was unaware of these fans entirely. They blew me away and you can tell they really had an impact on Bridgers. There wasn’t much talking in between songs, but the fans went insane for every word that spilled out of her mouth. I can only describe it as Beatlemania-esque.
This was my first and definitely not my last show seeing Bridgers and also at Red Rocks. What an incredible combination! The lighting and sound that poured through that canyon and the emotion that erupted for each and every song was something I will never forget. Everyone that I spoke to that worked at Red Rocks was even clamoring over how incredible the night was. Phoebe Bridgers is phenomenal and what I love even more is how incredibly outspoken she is. Punk rock is not just fast music and mosh pits and she proves just that. Whether it be female rights, organized religion or shitty ex-boyfriends, she calls them all out, doing so intelligently and poetically. Hopefully, she is the new big thing and the next artist we can all look up to.
Photography by Billy Beans