In its 35th year, A Taste of Colorado is a free, three-day outdoor festival held annually in Downtown Denver’s Civic Center Park over Labor Day weekend. It originally began in 1895 as the Festival of Mountain and Plain, a celebration of pioneer days. Today it is produced by and benefits Downtown Denver Events, Inc., a non-profit organization of the Downtown Denver Partnership that produces community and cultural events. Typically drawing over 500,000 visitors a year, A Taste of Colorado includes over 50 booths operated by local food establishments. The event also features four music stages, arts and crafts vendors, kids’ activities, and interactive exhibits.
A Taste of Colorado Musical Events
I was familiar with some of Soul Asylum‘s music but had never seen them before and my curiosity level was on high. Soul Asylum took the main stage at 12:30pm with a large enthusiastic crowd on the grass in Civic Center Park. The band opened their set with, “99%” from their 1992 album ‘Grave Dancers Union’. Right from the start, the bands stage presence took over and I knew this was going to be a good show.
Guitarist Ryan Smith displayed his skills as he moved around the stage. David Pirner sang out to the crowd while adding his guitar work. Rolling into their second song, “Bus Named Desire” from their 2006 album ‘The Silver Lining’, Pirner moved over across the stage to join bassist Winston Roye. The two of them jammed out together while on the opposite side of the stage, Smith was adding more moves. Bending low, his fingers worked the strings on his guitar.
Jumping ahead in time to 2017, the band performed “Shut down” from their album, ‘Let Your Dim Light Shine-Live’ which brought cheers from the crowd. The energy flowed back and forth between the band and the crowd. Periodically, David Pirner would take time to have fun with crowd. He was cracking jokes and throwing out one-liners which everyone seemed to enjoy. He also kept the pace of the show moving smoothly, showing his years of experience performing live shows.
Hit Song “Runaway Train” Wows Crowd
A roar from the crowd came when the band started their 1993 released song, “Runaway Train” from the 1992 album ‘Grave Dancers Union’. A song which was highly successful not only in the USA, but around the world! They finished their set with, “Hopped Up Feeling” which everyone enjoyed. This song was played for the first time in concert, just a few weeks ago. I joined in with the crowd for an appreciative applause and as a photographer, it was a fun shoot, displayed in the pictures below.
Soul Asylum are:
David Pirner – Guitar, Vocals
Winston Roye – Bass
Ryan Smith – Guitar
Soul Asylum Setlist:
Eyes of a Child
Closer to the Stars
The Second Dose of Rock Music With Everclear
Shortly after 2:30 in the afternoon, Everclear made their way to the main stage and again, a band I had not seen live before. Opening their set with “Summerland” from their 1995 album ‘Sparkle and Fade’, their energy transcended the stage outward to the crowd. The stage came alive as vocalist/guitarist Art Alexakis breathed life into the microphone as his fingers slid their way onto his guitar.
Guitarist Davy French moved toward the front of the stage. His fingers gliding up and the neck of his guitar as he continued to moved back and forth across the stage. As the band moved into the song, “Heroin Girl”, Alexakis and bassist Freddy Herrera met back to back in front of drummer Brian Nolan with a strong presence that would last throughout the bands set. From song to song, the band continued to move around the stage displaying their craftsmanship together.
As their set started to whine down, they played, “Local God” which was featured on the 1996 movie soundtrack of, ‘William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet’. To the delight of the crowd they finished their energy filled set with their popular song, “Santa Monica” from the 1995 album ‘Sparkle and Fade’. What great fun it was to see and photograph Everclear. I always enjoy nice surprises!
Art Alexakis – Vocals, Guitar
Davey French – Guitar, Vocals
Freddy Herrera – Bass, Vocals
Brian Nolan – Drums
Everything to Everyone
Father of Mine*
The Man Who Broke His Own Heart
I Will Buy You a New Life
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About Soul Asylum:
Soul Asylum is an American alternative rock band formed in 1981 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The discography consists of 11 studio albums, two live albums, five compilation albums, two extended plays (EPs), 22 singles. Best known for the 1993 hit song “Runaway Train”.
Everclear was formed by Art Alexakis in 1991 in Portland, Oregon. Everclear discography consists of nine studio albums, six compilation albums, five extended plays, and twenty-four singles. Although the band hasn’t released a new studio album since 2015’s triumphant ‘Black Is The New Black’, Everclear continues to tour actively. They mix up their setlist for each show. Their fans are never sure what will be played and this adds some excitement when “deep cuts” get played. Not only does it give fans a rare treat, it also injects new life into the band’s live dynamic.