My freshman year of college, I had a friend who was from Colorado. I remember seeing photos on Facebook of a bunch of our floormates who went to visit her – and they were at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. I knew then that I wanted to go there one day.
I finally got my chance when Niall Horan announced that it was a stop on his tour. My roommate scored us really good seats by magic (like, fourteenth row) and we booked plane tickets and a place to stay with some friends.
I stayed in Denver for three days and did some cool stuff, but I’m just going to talk about Red Rocks – because it’s the coolest part of the trip and because it’s the only thing we did that I have really good photos of! The rest of the trip was mostly eating and it looks like I didn’t take too many photos. We stayed in an AirBnb-type place near Coors Field. For food, I can recommend Cherry Cricket, where I had a great burger, and Snooze, which had some of the best breakfast food of my life.
Walking into Red Rocks was a really surreal experience. I’d never been there before but I also felt like I’d been there a thousand times – in the very best way. I know this makes no sense, but you just have to trust me on it. I loved it immediately, and I already knew I was going to be ruined for any concert afterwards.
We got to catch a minute of soundcheck (see photo at top) before we were shooed away by a security guard, and then we went to the on-site restaurant for dinner. There’s not much in the way of food on the way to Red Rocks (which is in Morrison, CO, about a 15 mile drive from Denver) so we ate there. You have to make a reservation ahead of time, I believe. The food was fine but nothing memorable, but it was worth it to get in a bit early.
There’s not much I can say about the concert itself without sounding incredibly sappy and poetic. This was the fourth time I saw Niall this tour, which I know is a little ridiculous, but each and every time I had the happiest night of my life seeing him. This, though, blew all those others out of the water, and I would’ve traded the three of those in a heartbeat to get this night out of the deal. Niall was so thrilled and excited to be performing at Red Rocks, and that’s how I felt about being in the crowd. I took a bunch of photos but nothing that did the venue and the experience justice, so I tried to keep my phone away and soak in the whole thing.
The venue is incredible. Because we were so close to the front, I could turn around and see the expanse of the crowd behind us. I could say it over and over til I turn blue, but the venue lends itself to the experience feeling almost spiritual. You’re outside in the mountains, under the stars, there’s people all around you, the sound is bouncing off the rocks in the best way, and you’re in this really special place. It looks really gorgeous in photos, but pictures just do not do the experience justice.
I could probably talk about this all day but the basic facts are that I had the very best time, Red Rocks ruined me for any other concert venue, and I absolutely cannot wait to get back there one day.