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Devin Townsend Project/Gojira/Opeth

Date: 5/11/17
Venue: Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO
Report By: Jack Mangan


A Canadian, a Frenchman, and a Swede walk into a concert hall. . . Stop me if you've heard this one.
A dream concert bill of Devin Townsend Project, Gojira, and headlining Opeth has owned stages all across North America during the Spring of 2017 as a small-scale Clash of the Titans/Monsters of Rock event. These three represent the state of the art for heavy music in the second new milennium decade. While none of them will likely ever be household names (maybe Gojira), the future advancement and evolution of the artform will burgeon from the minds on that stage. I had the privilege of catching this show at the storied Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO.

Devin Townsend is of equal stature to the other two acts, and should have been the third star in this tour's tri-headlining constellation, but instead, he's relegated to opening act, or "your aspertif," as Devin himself greeted the crowd during their first song. DTP are still out in support of 2016's "Transcendence" album, so there were a number of songs from that record, plus a few oldies. As an opening act with significantly less time than they'd enjoyed during their 2016 co-headlining tour with Between the Buried and Me, they unfortunately still didn't manage to work in any of the classics from the Ki or Deconstruction albums. It's a dilemma for DTP fans, and probably Devin too, because every song in his setlist is great, and sounded great - - most notably the brilliant live staple, "Kingdom." Townsend is the mad genius, the clown prince, the Deadpool, the Amadeus of the Metal world, and his irreverent brilliance shines through in every note and every crazy facial expression. Few can match his stage presence or live proficiency.

DTP Setlist:

March Of The Poozers

Gojira more than hold-their-own, however, in the unenviable task of following up after DTP. Their blast-beat heavy attack nearly shook the massive Red Rocks from their foundations. Their pyro and screen effects only enhanced the experience of raw power from their music. Joseph Duplantier's mighty growl-singing sounds album-perfect live, and drummer-brother, Mario Duplantier's double-bass underscores their songs with the power of a Gatling gun. "Pray" should be played at every Gojira show.

Gojira Setlist:

Only Pain
The Heaviest Matter of the Universe
Flying Whales
The Cell
L'Enfant Sauvage
The Shooting Star
Toxic Garbage Island

The mighty Opeth held the clean-up spot, with songs that ranged between the mellow new stuff and some of the heaviest of their past (It was great to hear "Heir Apparent" back in the set). Their stage presence is much more low-key than the previous two acts on the bill, but in spite of this and the forays into prog and ballads - - and the sudden temperature drop and wind that rushed in to accompany their performance - - the energy level maintained. Mikael Akerfeldt doesn't move around much, but he still commands the venue with his easy-going wit and demeanor. His between-song banter is as endearing as ever.
It does need to be pointed out that at the last two Opeth shows I've covered, there have been frequent shouts from the crowd for "Blackwater Park" - - much more for that than any other song. I agree with the shouters. It's been a bunch of years now; let's get that one back for the next tour.

Opeth Setlist:

Ghost of Perdition
Demon of the Fall
The Wilde Flowers
In My Time of Need
The Devil's Orchard
Cusp of Eternity
Heir Apparent

A note on the venue: Red Rocks Amphitheatre is carved into a Colorado mountaintop, with massive slabs of natural stone to wall in the place. It's probably most famous for U2's historic "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" video. All three of the frontmen commented on the beauty of the locale, with some allusions from the Duplantiers to the energy of the place. It being Colorado, the funny-smelling smoke is more prominent here than concert sites elsewhere, prompting Devin Townsend to ask, "Is that the Devil's Weed I smell?" It's a pretty great place to catch a show, if you ever find yourself in Colorado at the right time.

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