The thirty best concerts of 2012
15. MUMFORD & SONS @ RED ROCKS | 8/28/12
"Perhaps more impressive than the group's harmonies was the intimacy the group created in such a massive space. Fans standing what seemed a couple miles away in the top rows were just as much a part of this as those in the VIP section. Anyone who's spent time in a ratty college apartment knows the best way to create a vibe like this is with Christmas lights. Mumford & Sons had those, too."
14. TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS @ 1STBANK CENTER | 4/19/12
"Tonight, we thought it would be fun...," Tom Petty said a few songs into two-hour set, "we're going to go pretty deep into some deep tracks for you tonight." Sure enough, Petty & the Heartbreakers ran through a number of hits during the second night of the band's two-night stand, but they delved into a few rarities as well. Petty himself admitted later in the set that while people ask him all the time what his favorite song is that he's written, he answers, "There are far too many for me to pick out one, and they're very often not ones that were really well known."
13. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & E STREET BAND @ PEPSI CENTER | 11/19/12
Bruce Springsteen fused pure rock and roll, Pentecostal fervor and Celtic bravado in the course of three hours. He collected signs from the audience bearing requests for obscure tunes and played at least three; he brought a twelve-year-old onstage to sing the chorus of "Waitin' on a Sunny Day"; he crowd surfed and hammed it up while wearing a coonskin cap. There were too many of these memorable moments to count. The effect was dizzying, inspiring and intoxicating, all at once.
12. LEONARD COHEN @ 1STBANK CENTER | 11/3/12
There were no low points in Leonard Cohen's perfectly paced show at the 1STBANK Center -- impressive, considering it went on for three and a half hours. The high point came when Cohen and his band went into "Hallelujah." The crowd sang along; they had done so during other parts of the performance, but not like this. They were excited, and their response seemed to have a subtly visible impact on the people on stage -- like they knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that they had connected with people this night, and that the music they were performing had been affecting people for years and had become part of their life story.
11. ICELANTIC'S WINTER ON THE ROCKS @ RED ROCKS | 1/27/12
Under a star-speckled sky and with freezing temperatures, Atmosphere delivered a greatest hits compilation at Red Rocks Amphitheatre for the inaugural Icelantic's Winter on the Rocks. Nostalgia aside, when he greeted everyone at the venue and opened into "God Loves Ugly," 10,000 winter-ready people joined in the lyrics and seemed to appreciate the beautiful chance of a lifetime to see raw, independent hip-hop displayed for the first time, during winter, at one of the most famous venues in the world.