Next time Incubus plays Red Rocks, we’re going. That was the pact—to see our favorite band at Colorado’s iconic concert venue—and I’d agreed to it.
I had always enjoyed the band’s music, familiar mostly with their many radio hits, and I got hooked after hearing 2009’s Monuments and Melodies compilation, specifically its B-sides and rarities (including a killer acoustic version of “A Certain Shade of Green”). This was now my favorite band. Subsequent concerts at the Joint confirmed they were also my favorite live band, and so my friends and I made our pact. I began dreaming of hearing the SoCal five-piece’s laid-back melodies (“Are You In?”) and thrashing synergy (“Megalomaniac”) bouncing off Red Rocks’ towering natural formations.
When frontman Brandon Boyd and crew announced they’d be making a stop in Morrison with tour co-headliners Deftones, my pals and I jumped online to secure our seats for the August 24 show. And after a 90-minute plane ride and a serious hike up the venue’s hundreds of stairs (be prepared to take breaks if you’re not in the 26.2 club), we were there. Over the audience hung a giant marijuana cloud, visible in the vibrant light show projected onto the massive slabs of sandstone. I expected nothing less from a concert in Colorado.
The acoustics lived up to the legend. But despite the on-point sound, impeccably rehearsed performances (something that comes from playing 20-plus years together) and mesmerizing visuals, I have to say: Last weekend’s Incubus show right here in Vegas at the Joint melted my face off even more.
Playing two nights at the Joint (I caught Sunday’s), the band got to explore deeper into its discography, going beyond radio smashes and tracks off this year’s Trust Fall (Side A) EP. Every number gelled, as Mike Einziger shredded on guitar, DJ Chris Kilmore tore it up on his turntables and Boyd went uncannily from howling shrieks to flawless falsettos. Both my shows deserved an encore, but the band only returned for more at the Joint (I heard a sound curfew prevented it at Red Rocks), capping the Vegas engagement with an inspired performance of “Warning” off 2001’s critical and commercial success Morning View.
Still, the two shows shared one aspect that turned both into such awesome experiences: the true fandom among everyone there, as Incubus drew audience-wide sing-alongs for nearly every cut performed. To borrow a line from “Are You In?,” it’s “so much better when everyone is in.”