By Shawn Chitnis

DENVER (CBS4) – Concerts will make a comeback to Red Rocks later this month with a fraction of the audience as some indoor venues have already hosted live bands with a limited capacity. The return of shows with venues packed full of people still could be a year away. Musician Stephen Brackett of the Denver-based rap rock group Flobots says the industry needs more time before large crowds can fill arenas and stadiums like before the pandemic.

(credit: CBS)

“When we are able to do shows together again then that will actually be a sign that we really have truly come out of this,” he told CBS4 in an interview last month. “A bunch of people in a room singing at the top of their lungs is the exact opposite of quarantine.”

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Brackett believes that the traditional concert experience we remember from 2019 and early 2020 will signify the end of the pandemic and an event everyone can look forward to next year as we make progress in the response to COVID-19. Until then, he says any kind of live performance is worth taking in with current restrictions.

He found himself reminiscing about what it was like to take the stage with no concern about crowd size.

“I am feeling nostalgic for just any kind of show. I watch movies now, and I see people at performances and I’m like, ‘Oh goodness, oh remember how good that was, we didn’t know what we had,'” he said in a video conference call. “I can look fondly on the most mediocre show that I went to two years ago, and I would pay $1,000 to do that right now.”

He hopes those memories motivate the public to keep doing the work necessary to contain the virus. Brackett says all musicians know what it is like to feed off the people you perform for, they are craving it as they wait for bookings to return.

Even as Red Rocks reopens with 25% capacity, he still thinks about shows he did at that venue as a hometown artist in the past.

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(credit: CBS)

“Red Rocks to a full house is just, transcendental, and it also means a lot when you’re a Colorado band,” he said.

Even though he has performed with the Flobots at large venues like sports arenas, he still prefers smaller theaters that are still working on plans to re-open and build up audiences to full capacity.

“The Gothic, The Ogden, just the right size, just the right amount of energy, it really feels like you’re playing with a family,” he said.

The uncertainty around major acts touring across the country in stadiums makes him want to focus on what’s possible in the near future. While he expects those shows could return in 2022, he encourages the public to look for performances in places you would only get in a pandemic. He says local artists will stay close to home and musicians will play in spots normally too small for them to meet audience requirements.

It will be a rare chance to see them in a more intimate setting.

“It’s going to be a flavor that we missed but we are going to miss it even more so now that we have it,” he said “We are going to appreciate concerts and music even more in their capacity to bring us together.”

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The Flobots like many artists have used their time in quarantine to work on new music, which they have started releasing in samples online including on their YouTube channel.

Shawn Chitnis