The thirty best concerts of 2012

20. DIVINE FITS @ BLUEBIRD THEATER |12/14/12
Picking a high point of a show as thoroughly enjoyable as this one would be tough, but when Alex Fischel started playing the synth intro to "You Got Lucky" by Tom Petty -- which could have gone either way, kitschy or funny -- and Dan Boeckner started singing (turns out he's one of the few people who do Petty believably and with conviction) and then Britt Daniel and Sam Brown joined in, these guys turned a mere cover into a song that they could've written, playing it as though they owned it. Boeckner even rattled out the guitar echoes at the end of the song. For a band that made a virtue out of layered and dynamic simplicity the whole show, the attention to detail on this song, which it didn't even write, was quite impressive.

19. DEATH GRIPS @ LARIMER LOUNGE | 11/23/12
Most bands that get hyped rarely live up to it. Death Grips was better than any hype could convey. Zach Hill and MC Ride put the amount of energy into this less than hour-long performance equaling what you'd have to sustain for a five hour show of almost anyone else's music. Hill and Ride were streaming with sweat and as they thrashed about, those of us near the front were speckled with sweat.

18. ROB ZOMBIE & MARILYN MANSON @ 1STBANK CENTER |10/2/12
Throughout the show, Marilyn Manson maintained a great balance between sardonic jocularity and the intensity of the consummate showman he is. Almost every song, there was an inspired costume change or a slight change in the set with subtle use of effects and props on stage throughout the show and those brought on for specific songs. At one point, Manson had on an outfit like he was a bishop decked out in red, including the mitre. Throughout his portion of the show, Rob Zombie pumped up the crowd and cajoled when it seemed people were acting like they were at home watching TV. But instead of just harping on that like a lot of performers seemed to, he just encouraged involvement and earned it with the sheer enthusiasm and energy he brought to this show. Maybe it was that Manson had had such a great set that he felt he needed to make his own just slightly more exciting, but one got the impression that Zombie just does this all the time regardless of with whom he's touring.

17. DEAD CAN DANCE @ TEMPLE BUELL | 8/19/12
"There was nothing gimmicky about any aspect of the show. It was like seeing something dignified and respectful without being stuffy, and the audience truly returned the favor. While the music had clearly struck a chord with many people and the crowd's enthusiasm was palpable, even the more exuberant members of the audience waited for song breaks to shout out things at the stage."

16. TREY ANASTASIO @ BOETTCHER CONCERT HALL | 2.28.12
The soft, beautiful and, at times, elegant side of Phish's musical catalogue shone last night as frontman and songwriter Trey Anastasio took the stage at the Boettcher Concert Hall backed by the 65-piece Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Outside, fans dressed in suits, ties and flat-brimmed baseball caps mingled with friends over cocktails and joints until the ushers rang their bells signaling the fifteen-minute warning. Slowly the crowd climbed the various staircases to their seats in the beautiful auditorium. As you'd expect from a symphony hall, every noise is detectable. After Anastasio took the stage to ear-piercing whoops from the crowd, it got so quiet that you could hear chairs creaking on stage and Anastasio stepping on one of four pedals he had in his array -- itself a major departure for a man who layers loud effects over his playing during Phish's electric concerts.



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12 comments
Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

My list wasn't even close . I'm not familiar w/ better than 1/2 the artists you mentioned . But if it's in WW,  it must be correct .....

boyhollow1
boyhollow1

Not sure how New Order didn't make this list.  But Leonard Cohen was indeed amazing.

Eamonn Wilcox
Eamonn Wilcox

Death Grips at Larimer was probably the best night of my life

Rob Author
Rob Author

No. Die Antwoord didn't even make the list but Skrillex did? Lol.

Brian F. Johnson
Brian F. Johnson

Not listing the second night of Jacket at Red Rocks = Epic fail!

Maxwell Turtle Pants
Maxwell Turtle Pants

Beats Antique had a killer show at the Rocks that was TRUMPED by their halloween bash giving props to Pretty Lights, Bassnectar and Dom before rolling into an absurd Catskills and instrumental Bohemian Rhapsody. Railroad and Umphrey's murdered red rocks on august sixteenth and although umphrey's set seemed a little cleaned up as opposed to their usual jam...a kashmir encore with both bands made it a night to never forget. Oh and easily some of the most feel good vibes and excellent experience on the Rocka for Lotus' debut as headliner. Emancipator opened and made the crowd a loving sea of friends before a gigantic lotus flower was erected on stage to harness the EOTO magic before letting the semi hometown band come on and perform the best show of the last three years that ended in the only fashion possible, a Nomad shoutout to those that waited for this moment between the rocks, Spiritualize encore into Colorado. Hearts melted, friends were forever made, and love for the performers was sealed. Xavier Rudd at Ogden was thrilling to all in his mesmorized crowd while Die Antwoord showcased why they deserved a repeat at the ogden four months later. BUT for new music, that romantic moment that WE ALL LOVE when something happens and everyone's attention in the room captured and you witness a band become a little bigger than reality from the independent dungeon they have been hiding in came one fateful night at Larimer Lounge when Purity Ring booked a show and sold it out only to book another and sell that out as well. The Lumineers broke out in a big way but these Canadian kids made one hell of a splash in five points. Props on Jack White at No 1 as he was the king of Red Rocks this summer.

Jeremy Richards
Jeremy Richards

Nah you left out Bassnectar and Pretty Lights at the Rocks, I don't know how you could have put Skrillex before that.. WEAK

frank.a.munafo
frank.a.munafo

I don't even know how you picked 30. I went to exactly 4 shows this year, Ryan Adams, Refused, Petty and Deftones. This was a bad year for concerts in Denver and arguably the worst Red Rocks line up in years...

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

Two thumbs up on the Leonard Cohen concert. I also loved when he did Tower of Song on what sounded like a Casio keyboard; it added a touch of humor to the show and brought him closer to the audience.

I'd also cast my vote for the Frank Turner show with Larry and his Flask at the Summit in September. Insane energy level from Frank and his band. 

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