July 4th weekend started out smooth with the warm beautiful weather and fireworks every night. But the only thing that can beat out drinking beer and throwing cow meat on the barbecue until you hit obesity is not only a concert at the one and only Red Rocks amphitheater, but a throwback lineup consisting of Uncle Kracker, Smash Mouth and Sugar Ray with Blues Traveler! Talk about a random mix. First we have Uncle kicking off the show after the weather poured like a bitch, concerning the crowd with possible show delay or even cancelation, but it cleared right up after a monster of a storm passed by. Uncle Kracker played his best hits such as “Good to be me” “Heaven” and “In a little while” and covers such as Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” and David Allan Coe’s “When the sun goes down”. The Uncle performed very sensationally and started the show off just right with the sunshine hitting perfectly on the Red Rocks stage, and with no back drops, all you had to see were the Rocks in the background throughout the whole show and that is a site you rarely get to see anymore.
Next up was Smash Mouth performing every single one of their hits and really getting the mood just right with their signature blend of grungy vocals and what seems like a mix of baseball park and circus synth. The whole idea that Smash Mouth being on the bill was mind blowing and baffling, because I cannot think of the last time they did a tour or anything as big as their cover of The Monkees “I’m a believer” that was featured on Shrek (which required a few shots from the crowd before playing) or their cameo appearance at the end of Rat Race. It seemed like they fell off the face of the earth since that movie came out and suddenly they hit the road again. They played like All-stars for sure!
The moment that this guy was personally waiting for was Sugar Ray, and they hit the stage with Mark McGrath as energetic and enthused as anyone could have imagined and greets with “Hi Red Rocks. I’ve been waiting 30 years to say that!” It turns out that Sugar Ray had never played Red Rocks in the 30 years they have been a band. Seriously?! What the hell have they been doing throughout the 90’s that they have never played this venue? Better late than never. Sugar Ray opened with “Summer-time” introducing Rodney Sheppard and session members Dean Butterworth of Good Charlotte on drums and Kristian Attard of Jason Mraz on bass guitar. They then jumped into all of their good hits such as “Someday” while Mark rocked on his kickass signature green shamrock Gibson Les Paul. They also played other hits such as “Every Morning” “When it’s over” and closing their set with “Fly”. In this reviewer’s opinion, Sugar Ray completely stole the show and that’s before Blues Traveler jumped on stage for two hours.
Speaking of which, Traveler didn’t take the stage until about 9:15 p.m., at which point frontman John Popper shouted “Happy Fourth of July” before launching into his rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” and going on into their two-hour set. Right out of that, guitarist Chan Kinchla took the band into “Mulling It Over,” on which both he and Popper performed extended solos. The band was eventually joined by Boulder-based duo 3OH!3 for a couple of new songs that they recorded with each other for a forthcoming album.