The Scene: Just when you think 4/20 in Colorado can’t get any more celebrated, marijuana itself goes and gets itself legalized. On 4/20/2013, Denver’s Civic Center Park got a little wild (ie. gang-related shots fired), and then The Fillmore Auditorium got a little wilder (ie. The Motet’s 4/20 party). This year, with good ole’ Mary Jane now “legal,” Denver-ites had a lot of options. Daze On The Green and the Cannabis Cup were just a couple of those options for those choosing to celebrate the holiday. We chose the double feature outside Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom. Located on Welton between 26th and 27th Streets, about three full blocks had been closed off to traffic for Leftover Salmon’s “still smoking’ in the streets” 4/20 block party. Despite some organization snafus, the on-street venue included food trucks, merchandise booths, and much cold, tasty beer from Breckenridge Brewery. The sun was high and the day was hot – the closest we’ve gotten to summer all year.
The music took off at 3 under a bright, mile-high sky, setting a calmer mood for the long day ahead, and the holiday that has so often gotten out of hand. The atmosphere of the event couldn’t have been more constructive and surprisingly, peaceful. Speakers were set up strategically so that no matter your place in the crowd, the sound was reaching every last attendee. What can often be a stressful, heavily policed “holiday” was shaping out to be a gathering of only the happiest vibes.
Leftover Salmon: Vince, Drew, Andy, Greg and Alwyn took the stage just minutes before 4:20 pm, preparing for the annual smoke-out. Lighters were flicked on, ready to light as the time came nearer. On the minute, Leftover Salmon broke out in song, commemorating yet another holiday in the name of the herb.
We got served two long sets of Salmon on Sunday with the boys playing fan favorites like “Breakin’ Thru” and “River’s Risin'” that kept the energy going throughout the afternoon and into the evening. One main theme that seemed to have overtaken the stage was a sort of island fever theme. Wearing leis and playing bongos, the band transformed the concrete street into an island paradise. What better place to be taken to on 4/20 than the beach within Vince Herman’s imagination?
About an hour into the afternoon’s festivities, Karl Denson emerged to add to the vibrant and feverish sounds of the day by jamming’ on the sax. When set break hit Caribou Mountain Collective played a set on the back patio of Cervantes’ Other Side. Performing original tunes and throwing in the Dead’s “Deep Elem Blues,” CMC finishes their set-break show with a full, smiling audience and a merrily crowded patio.
Leftover Salmon’s second set brought more Salmon classics, along with a lengthy holiday-inspired medley. Doing Bob Marley justice, the boys ran through “Stir It Up,” “One Love,” “Legalize It” and more during a Reggaegrass Marley medley! Just as the sun began to set, and our beloved city cooled down, we were treated to “Up On The Hill [Where They Do The Boogie].” It seemed that this year, on 4/20/2014, the day wasn’t about the legalization of a substance, but rather a celebration of the freedom and love we enjoy as such a strong and tight-knit community in this place we call home. Whether it was the Denver sunshine, the Rocky Mountain backdrop, the beautiful music, the beer and the Mary Jane, or a combination of them all, that camaraderie and companionship felt among Colorado locals was something to be honored.
Set I: 420 Polka, Down in the Hollow, Boo Boo > Gimmie da’ting (with Karl Denson), Easy to Slip (with Karl Denson), Breakin’ Through (with Karl Denson), High Country, Bird Call (with Karl Denson)
Set II: Zombie Jamboree, Atlanta, All Nite Ride, Shanty (with Anders Beck), Aquatic Hitchhiker (with Anders Beck), Rag Mama Rag (with Anders Beck and Allie Kral), Willin’ (with Anders Beck and Allie Kral), Viper (with Anders Beck, Allie Kral and Silas Herman), River’s Risin’ > Marley Medley, Everybody Must Get Stoned (with Silas Herman and Paul Hoffman), Pasta on the Mountain (with Anders Beck, Silas Herman, and Paul Hoffman, and Bonnie Paine), Boogie (with Anders Beck, Allie Kral, Silas Herman, Paul Hoffman, and Bonnie Paine)
Encore: Henry (with Bonnie Paine and Silas Herman), Reach (with Bonnie Paine, Daniel Rodriguez, Silas Herman, Anders Beck, and Paul Hoffman and Allie Kral)
*Whole show with Bill Payne of Little Feat on Keys & Organ
Stage Presence: A
Set/Light Show: B+