By Mark Smiley
The Colorado Music Hall of Fame’s induction concert entitled Rocky Mountain Way was held on Sunday, August 13, 2017 at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater. The star-studded event included performances by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (2015 inductee), Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Joe Walsh and Barnstorm, John Oats, The Lumineers, and Garth Brooks.
The 2017 class included Caribou Ranch, a recording studio built by producer James William Guercio in 1972 in a converted barn on ranch property near Nederland, Colorado. Many artists recorded albums at the ranch including Joe Walsh and Barnstorm, Amy Grant, The Beach Boys, Elton John, and Chicago, who recorded five of their studio albums at Caribou Ranch.
The first portion of the tribute show focused on songs recorded at Caribou Ranch. After a video explaining the history of Caribou Ranch, artists filed out one by one to perform one song each. John Oats of Hall & Oats fame, was a surprise guest and performed Elton John’s “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me.
The next inductee was Joe Walsh and Barnstorm who briefly accepted the award and then played in front of the sold-out audience for 25 minutes. Joe Walsh and Barnstorm had not performed together in over four decades. They finished with what Joe Walsh called the “anthem of Colorado”, Rocky Mountain Way.
The evening was capped off with a tribute to the final inductee, Dan Fogelberg. Fogelberg would have been 66 years old at the time of the concert as it was fittingly his birthday. More artists returned to the stage to sing some of Fogelberg’s hits including a duet version of Longer with Vince Gill and Amy Grant. Remaining members of Fool’s Gold, Fogelberg’s former backing band, also performed.
Dan Fogelberg’s widow Jean came out to accept the award and introduced Garth Brooks who many in the audience came to see. Brooks is one artist who will be on the tribute CD to Dan Fogelberg set to be released this Thanksgiving.
Brooks, who last performed in Denver in 2015, performed an upbeat version of Fogelberg’s 1979 hit Phoenix. Brooks closed the show with artists from throughout the night singing lead on Fogelberg’s 1974 song There’s a Place in the World for a Gambler. Some concert goers were disappointed that Brooks only performed two songs but many were satisfied with the collection of musicians and vocalists who performed for over three hours.
The Colorado Music Hall of Fame is located at the trading post of Red Rocks Ampitheater. For more information, visit www.cmhof.org.