An Access All Areas Special Edition: The story of Atmosphere's first headlining performance at the iconic venue.
In this edition of Access All Areas, we connect with our very own President of Live Events, Jason "J-Bird" Cook, and get the story of Atmosphere's first headlining performance at the majestic Red Rocks Amphitheatre. In his own words, we’ll read about the incredible night that happened fourteen years ago on August 14, 2009. The lineup also featured Aesop Rock, Murs, Eyedea & Abilities, and Attracted To Gods.   

Beginning in 2001, Atmosphere performed at several venues in Colorado -  Aggie Theatre, Boulder Theater, The Fox Theatre, Belly Up in Aspen, Ogden Theatre, Gothic Theatre, Fillmore Auditorium, Invesco Field at Mile High on Warped Tour and then there was Red Rocks. 

Atmosphere was three shows in on the Paint The Nation Tour with Abstract Rude and Blueprint, when they rolled into Morrison, CO after playing Omaha, NE at Slowdown the night before. This was just five months following the release of When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold that debuted at #5 on the Billboard Top 200. It was September 13, 2008 and Atmosphere was playing Red Rocks for the first time on the smaller second stage as part of the two day Monolith Festival. The Atmosphere performance would endure a torrential downpour with heavy winds that blew the records off the turntable onto the stage. I eventually would have to hold one end of a tarp over Ant for the remainder of the show to help stop the rain and winds from hitting the mixer and turntables. This was the night Don Strasburg finally convinced me that Atmosphere should headline Red Rocks for their next play in Colorado in 2009.

Without having AAA or even main stage catering tickets, Don escorted me through my first tour of the famous Red Rocks. I was soaked from the rain and winded from the altitude adjustment, as Don’s sales pitch began while watching the show from the audience perspective, walking through the tunnel from front of house to backstage and finishing in catering. By the last bite of the vegan chocolate cake, we agreed to pick a date in August next year and go for it.  

On August 14, 2009, fourteen years ago, Atmosphere headlined their first Red Rocks show with Aesop Rock, Murs, Eyedea and Abilities and Attracted To Gods. The show was part of the When God Gives You Ugly Tour with Eyedea and Abilities performing songs from the By The Throat album live for the first time and fresh off the announcement of Felt 3: A Tribute To Rosie Perez that would drop two months later. What a historic night of unforgettable performances and freestyles. The night’s performance ended with “Sunshine.”

Thank you Colorado for always showing Atmosphere love since that first sold out show at the Boulder Theater back in February 2001. Thank you Don for believing in Atmosphere and giving us the confidence for that next big Red Rocks step. See you party people for another memorable night on the Rocks in September!


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August 14, 2023