Formed by geologic changes 300 million years ago and honed into an amphitheater by boys whom the Great Depression forced to become men, Red Rocks has been a storied destination for scientists, music lovers, tourists, performers—even pagans—from time immemorial. Since a city-ordained ban on rock 'n' roll ended in 1976, the acoustically perfect natural wonder has hosted more than 1,000 rock concerts, becoming a must-play arena for bands and a must-see marvel for spectators. What follows is a selection of treasured memories, relics, and recollections from people who have experienced Red Rocks' magnificence firsthand.
Jimi Hendrix 1968
Barry Fey: The first time I saw Red Rocks was when I arrived at the show Sept. 2, 1968. It was Jimi, Soft Machine, Vanilla Fudge, and Heir Apparent. Some of Jimi's equipment didn't arrive, so they had to use some of Fudge's equipment. It wasn't his greatest performance, but it still was a magical show. To me, the highlight was Vanilla Fudge doing "People Get Ready." People lit up matches, which they only do for encores now, and were singing along. It was the first time I'd seen that. I'd arrived there with Jimi, and you just can't imagine the artist looking up at that scene.