The Fray at Red Rocks Amphitheater: 5/11 and 5/12: Review

There is something about hometown shows that brings out the best in most bands.  None was more evident than the two night performance by Colorado’s own The Fray at Red Rocks this past weekend.  We were able to cover both days of their two night performance which included sets by openers Dia Frampton and Colorado up and comers Churchill.  Our own Maddie Casey was able to attend Friday night while Castro took in the second night, check out their reviews and awesome photos below.

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Lead singer Isacc Slade takes the party to the audience during night 2 of their performance at Red Rocks (photo credit Robert Castro)

The Fray w/ Churchill and Dia Frampton | May 11, 2012

Despite the bitter cold, and freezing rain coming down on Morrison, the energy in the crowd was obvious on Friday night. Playing in Colorado for the first time nearly a year, and the first time since the February release of their new record, Scars & Stories, it was apparent that the band was elated to be back home performing, and the crowd was happy to have them. As the band took stage in the dark, Simon and Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound” echoed through the amphitheater, appropriately welcoming the band back home. Opening their set with “The Fighter”, the moving, second single off their new record, the band came out swinging (no pun intended), and ready to go. The entire first half of their set was single after single: “You Found Me”, “Never Say Never”, “Syndicate”, and more were all played within the first hour of the set. A great mix of songs from all of three albums, there was something for everyone. Although their music is slower, the band’s energy remained remarkably high and consistent beginning to end of the show. Halfway through their set, Isaac appeared on top of the soundboard in the middle of the crowd, and was joined by the rest of the band for a small, intimate, acoustic set of three songs, including a touching, and broken down version of “How to Save A Life”. Cutting the audience nearly in half, this allowed the band to close the gap, and interact with the entire 10,000 person audience, a touching, and truly impressive act to show their dedication to their homegrown fans. While out in the crowd, lead singer Isaac Slade took a moment to thank the audience, saying “we’ve been going at this for 10 years now. Thank you all for helping put us on the map, here’s to 10 more.”

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The Fray belting out hit after hit during their two night stint at Red rocks (photo credit Robert Castro)

The latter half of the set dug a bit deeper, showcasing some of the lesser-known gems off each record. Lead guitarist/backing vocalist Joe King showcased his voice in “Rainy Zurich”, followed by songs like “Enough For Now”, “Here We Are”, “Look After You”, and my personal favorite off their new record, “Munich”. Ending the show with a new take on their first single, “Over My Head (CableCar)” and “Ungodly Hour”, the band kept their momentum up throughout the entire night, despite the unrelenting cold. This band is golden. Friday night’s sold out crowd at Red Rocks was as ready to celebrate as the band was, and it was touching to see that many people there, all ready to help celebrate the grand success of their hometown heroes. 

Maddie

Setlist: Homeward Bound (Simon and Garfunkel) | The Fighter | Syndicate | You Found Me | The Wind | Never Say Never | Rainy Zurich | Here We Are | Happiness | Be Still | How To Save A Life | Maps (Yeah Yeah Yeahs Cover) | Munich | Run For Your Life | Turn Me On | All At Once | Over My Head (Cable Car) | Heartbeat | ENCORE: Look After You | We Build Then We Break | Ungodly Hour

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Isaac Slade singing "The Fighter" off of Scars and Stories their new LP (photo credit Robert Castro)

The Fray w/Churchill and Dia Frampton | May 12, 2012

What was expected to be another cold night at the majestic venue turned into a rainy and chilly evening.  Kicking things off were one of Ultra5280’s favorite local bands, Churchill.  Although they played a short set, it was remarkable to witness this band at a venue such as Red Rocks - it is as if the venue was made for their distinct and joyful sound.  I caught up with Mike Morter and Joe Richmond just after the show and they were humble to the praise, yet you could truly see they were excited about their performance.  Next up was Dia Frampton; for those of you unfamiliar, she was the runner-up to last year’s season of The Voice.  Although grateful for the opportunity to be playing at Red Rocks, it seemed as if her set lacked a bit of energy, possibly due to the torrential downpour that was taking place.  The highlight of her set was her cover of Kanye West’s “Heartless,” which had the crowd singing word for word.

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Dia Frampton warming up the soaked crowd (photo credit Robert Castro)

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Isaac Slade of The Fray (photo credit Robert Castro)

In an almost too-good-to-be-true moment, the rain stopped just as The Fray took the stage for what would be a two hour set and one of the best I have seen them perform.  This was their last stop on their Spring tour, and they will be heading back out this summer with Kelly Clarkson.  As the rain settled, they dove right into set opener “The Fighter” off of their new album Scars and Stories.  They managed to play songs from their entire catalog including “You Found Me”, “Never Say Never”, and other notables.  At one point they decided to take the performance into the audience, setting up a makeshift stage right smack in the middle of the at-capacity crowd.  Lead singer Isaac Slade gave us the story of how the band met and dedicated the show to their mothers in honor of next day’s Mother’s Day holiday.  They played an intimate rendition of “How To Save A Life” as well as a unique cover of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Maps”, creating an instant memory for those within proximity that they will never forget.

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Joe King of The Fray rocking out (photo credit Robert Castro)

The party continued as the band continued to play hit after hit with guitarist Joe King getting into the action singing vocals on “Rainy Zurich”, a song which he wrote while touring in Zurich during The Fray’s European tour.  With guitarist Dave Welsh and drummer Ben Wysocki holding down the rhythm, Slade and King managed to capture the heartfelt lyrics and emotions associated with every one of their songs. One of the many highlights of the night was during their breakout hit “Over My Head (Cable Car)”, in which Slade managed to sprint up the Red Rocks stairs (see video below) and across to the other side and back down, not showing the slightest sign of exhaustion as he went right into lead single off Scars and Stories“Heartbeat”.  A truly magical night despite the frigid temperatures, The Fray continues to grow musically in all aspects, and we are truly proud to have them represent Colorado. Well done boys, well done. Be sure to check out all our pics on Flickr as well as the Photo section on this site.

Castro

Setlist: Homeward Bound (Simon and Garfunkel) | The Fighter | Syndicate | You Found Me | Turn Me On | The Wind | Rainy Zurich | Never Say Never | Here We Are | Happiness | Be Still | How To Save A Life | Maps (Yeah Yeah Yeahs Cover | Munich | Run For Your Life | All At Once | Over My Head (Cable Car) | Heartbeat | ENCORE: Look After You | 1961 | Ungodly Hour