Paul E. Anna: High Points
Aspen, CO Colorado
This sure is a great town to see music. That’s right, see music.
That’s not to say that we don’t have great places to hear music. Sure, all of our outstanding venues sound good. It’s just that when we go to a live concert one of the key things we want to do is see the performers well, and in virtually all of our musical venues, we can do just that.
With the Aspen Music Festival we have the Music Tent and the incomparable Harris Concert Hall. Both are totally unique places to attend a concert and people come from all over the world to sit and to see and hear some of the great performers in classical music. Beautiful settings, clean sight lines and tremendous acoustics.
Then there are the excellent facilities that Jim Horowitz brings to Aspen and Snowmass for his Jazz Aspen series of concerts. While they are temporary, again, there is nary a bad seat in the house. And all year long we have the Wheeler Opera House for both film and music.
But for my money the best place to see music in this town is Michael Goldbergs’ Belly Up Aspen. A rocking show this week proved once again that Goldberg has done this community a great service by showcasing many of the top acts in the business in a small intimate setting that is as good a place as you’ll find in America to see rock ‘n’ roll.
The weeknight show nearly filled the 450 “seat” venue with a mix of older locals and young aficionados who came out to see/hear Todd Rundgren perform his “Arena” tour. As the name “Arena” implies, the music was designed to be performed in a much larger facility. But the beauty of the Belly Up is that it is able to host all kinds of acts with a sterling sound system and world-class lighting.
Last night a sold-out crowd showed up to rock with guitarist Jonny Lang. Tomorrow night a completely different kind of guitarist, Leo Kottke, will play. Next week there is a mix of the Blues Brothers benefit featuring John Oates, DJ nights, and an AC/DC tribute band. Something for everybody.
In just over three years old, the Belly Up, which replaced the Double Diamond, has become a local institution. What makes the Belly Up so great is that money has been put in all the right places. While bands love coming to play here the guests are taken care of as well. Walk into the bathrooms during the show and you think you’re in a recording studio as a perfect mix is piped in all night. The bars are first class and the temperature is always just right. It is clean and the security is solid without being overbearing.
Live music is one of life’s great pleasures. The opportunity to sit in a comfortable environment and hear the works of performers you have admired or years is priceless. It can alter the way you listen to their work in the future and provide inspirational memories that last a lifetime.
We are blessed with many things in this town but the opportunity to see great music is pretty near the top of the list.
Especially at the Belly Up.
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