Saturday, June 16, 2012: the date that marked a musical experience that Colorado STS9 fans have been waiting for since January. Sound Tribe Sector 9’s “The Great Cycle Spectacles” has been a highly discussed, reoccurring live performance since the show’s premiere in January in Denver that became the center of attention for Tribe fans, especially with the re:emergence of several long-awaited “lost” tracks.
Despite various predictions of thunderstorms and rain, nothing stopped the evening from being memorable. Good weather and an epic Saxton Waller light rig, along with a sick opening from Cherub getting the crowd ready for STS9 – surely Red Rocks was in for a treat.
Cherub brought the sun down, surprisingly to many STS9 fans; though in no way was this a bad thing. Demonstrating the musical versatility that Tribe has supported for years, Cherub got a crowd of thousands to dance to music somewhat unlike that of the band’s… and it couldn’t have gone better. Dropping several hits off their albums Doses and Mimosas and MoM and DaD while simultaneously maintaining an unbelievably smooth vibe, the boys demonstrated exactly why they were well-equipped to open for Sector 9.
Although criticized by some fans online, STS9’s 10th Anniversary return to Colorado’s world-renowned Red Rocks Amphitheater was more than a sight to see. The music: spectacular. No, the setlist wasn’t stocked with rarities such as “HB Walks,” “Open E”, “Warrior” or any acoustic songs… but then again, who can say what setlist is stocked? It is all defined by our understanding of what we love the most.
Although blog talk may have brought some heat, Tribe fans should be familiar with these concepts: perception is reality, experience is the key to understanding…and the experience? That’s another story.
The light show was top notch, with a new spaceship addition in front of the band resembling a cockpit with Mr. David Phipps front and center; David Murphy and Hunter Brown at his sides; and Zach Velmer on drums with Jeffree Lerner on percussion holding down the back. In addition to the new stage setup, the entire band was dressed in matching white shirts and black ties, unlike their normal Great Cycle Spectacles black attire: and yeah, they looked fly as fuck. With the performance marking the band’s (potential) last Red Rocks Show of 2012, every detail seemed to be in place for an unprecedented night.
The synergy between the band was unparalleled – whether you like it or not, they were all on a frequency and level of connection that could be seen throughout Morrison. Smiles were on board all around, as they were clearly stoked to be bringing the tribal nature of their band back to the rocks.
The first set included an incredibly original rendition of “ABCees”, as well as an impressive set-break close of “2012.” The music did feature a heavier, more electronic side of the band; however, as a whole every member seemed on point with their various instruments. With a handful of UFO staff members getting down in the crowd, we all agreed that we could totally respect the artistic expression from the band trying out new material and still giving the fans the legendary tracks they were craving. After all, we can see the transitions that STS9 has experienced over the years in other somewhat known bands… such as The Beatles going from Abbey Road to Sgt. Peppers, or Pink Floyd moving on from The Dark Side of the Moon and taking up a new approach with The Wall.
The second set – although much heavier than the first – was epic. I mean, come on… “T.W.E.L.V.E.” The long awaited song finally graced its presence on the Rocks, to the joy and splendor of many of us die-hard fans. With the addition of “Peaceblaster ’08”, “Looking Back On Earth,” and a hip-hop remix that resembled the band’s DJ set-days, we were incredibly stoked on Saturday night’s Spectacle.
At the end of the day, the decision lies in the eyes of the beholder – for those more loyal to the earlier years of STS9, there may have been concern… Nonetheless, as part of a band’s journey, the differences in their performance – rather than be rejected – must be embraced as the natural progression of their tastes and interests, as well as be seen as a new point of analysis and appreciation. STS9 has become one of the most ground-breaking jamtronica acts making a difference and spreading positivity throughout the country. For Saturday night’s vision and performance, Sound Tribe, we salute – and of course, love – you in every way possible… after all, it’s a family affair.
***SO MANY THANKS TO OUR FRIEND CALLIE AT SWAAGER, AS WELL AS THE HOMIES AT WESTWORD DENVER FOR HELPING US OUT IN A TOUGH SITUATION!! LOVE FOR YOUR FRIENDS AND COLLABORATION: THE NAME OF THE GAME!!***