In the Snow, Zach Bryan Plays Red Rocks Set for the Ages

photo: Kevin Martinico

Every performance at the historic Red Rocks Ampitheater in Morrison, Colorado is exceptional due to the setting. This is the reason so many fans flock to the venue at great expense to see their favorite artists perform there in lieu of other venues. But Zach Bryan’s stop on Thursday, November 3rd was extra noteworthy for a host of reasons. Many can say they’ve seen Zach Bryan live. Few can say they’ve seen him in the snow, at Red Rocks.

Zach Bryan did have a couple more appearances on the calendar before the end of 2023, but his show at Red Rocks Thursday night was billed as the grand finale to his current American Heartbreak tour, which Bryan has also hinted may be his last full-blown tour, at least for a good while. But it almost didn’t happen at all. The day before the temperature had been in the 70s. But on Thursday, temperatures fell to the 20s in the mile high climate, and snow began to dump from the sky.

Seeing the forecast and conditions, the Parks Service that has jurisdiction over Red Rocks tried to cancel the show. Zach Bryan would have none of it though, and a compromise was struck to move the start time back and shorten the show, which meant the openers had to be 86’d. Even amid these conditions, the show was still sold out, every seat was filled, and scalpers were still fetching three figures for tickets moments before the start time. The conditions didn’t dampen the show. It made it that much more memorable. Zach Bryan even bought hot chocolate and hand warmers for the crowd.

Openers Jonathan Peyton and Charles Wesley Godwin were the ones who got the short end of the stick, but Zach Bryan brought them both out at the beginning of his set to sing John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” backed by Bryan’s band to the delight of the frigid crowd. Godwin also came back out later for his duet with Zach Bryan, “Jamie.”

The weather made Zach’s rendition of songs like “Snow” and “November Air” that much more appropriate and meaningful, as the whole Red Rocks complex was socked in via fog, making the lights and the moments that much more magical. The show ended with a rousing, singalong version of “Revival” at about 9:45 PM, with Zach making the crowd promise to be safe on their way back home. Zach actually paid for a rental car for a group that had traveled all the way from Wisconsin and had hit a deer on their way there.

Zach Bryan headlined the Greenville Country Music Fest on Saturday, November 5th, and is also playing a Veteran’s Day celebration in San Diego on November 11th before calling it quits for 2022 after an exhaustive year of touring. But perhaps no moment, no set will be more fondly recalled than when the snow fell in Colorado.

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The set was recorded for potential future release. Saving Country Music photographer and reporter Kevin Martinico was at Red Rocks to capture it all. You can find his photography below, and check out all of his photographs from the the evening at I Listen, CO. Find a set list below the photos as well.

Charles Wesley Godwin with Zach Bryan

(Mostly) complete set list:

Take Me Home, Country Roads (with Charles Wesley Godwin and Jonathan Wilson)
Open the Gate
God Speed
Highway Boys
Oklahoma City
Quittin’ Time
No Cure
Sweet DeAnn
Heading South
The Good I’ll Do
Flying or Crying
From Austin
Traveling Man
’68 Fastback
Something in the Orange
Oklahoma Smokeshow
Billy Stay
Jamie (with Charles)
Heavy Eyes
Burn, Burn, Burn

November Air

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