Recommended: Dave Matthews Returns, So Does Phish

Dave Matthews; Photo by Tim Van Schmidt

Tim Van Schmidt

It looks like live music — big outdoor live music — is back in business in the region. 

Fiddlers Green Amphitheatre in Englewood broke open the gates recently by announcing several big shows including two dates with The Dave Matthews Band On October 8-9.

Fiddlers Green opened in June 1988 with a seating capacity of 18,000 and an award-winning architectural design. It has been Denver’s mainstay urban amphitheater ever since. Other upcoming dates at Fiddler’s this year include the Zac Brown Band on September 17-18 and Dead and Company on October 22-23.

Widespread Panic; Photo by Tim Van Schmidt

Another summertime outdoor favorite, Phish, returns to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City on September 3-5.

The Red Rocks schedule has also changed quite a bit. Dates now include The Motet on June 4, Bob Weir and the Wolf Brothers on June 8-9, Big Head Todd and the Monsters on June 12-13, Grace Potter on June 16, Andrew Bird on June 23, and Widespread Panic on June 25-27.

Dave Matthews; Photo by Tim Van Schmidt

The seating capacity limit for Red Rocks has increased to 6,300 fans and will resume full capacity starting June 21. Face coverings will continue to be required inside the Visitor Center, Trading Post and restrooms.

Meanwhile, Taste of Fort Collins, set for July 25-26 and featuring Nelly and the Spin Doctors, got to see what area festival fans think about returning to outdoor shows — all of their weekend passes are already sold out.

Mishawaka starts June with a number of sold-out shows. But check this new one out in July: The Flobots with The Burroughs and Wasteland Hop — three great regional bands — on July 3.

Another tip is to check out the schedule at Swing Station in Laporte. They have a nice outdoor patio area with a full stage where they host free shows in the afternoons on the weekends. In June: Sturtz on June 12, Robin Lewis and Friends on June 19, and Poudre Valley Playboys on June 27.

Dance: June 17 offers a rare opportunity to see modern dance up close — and outdoors. A show by the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble that was originally scheduled for April at the Lincoln Center has been rescheduled, re-imagined and moved to the Gardens on Spring Creek. Dancers will be performing solos, duets, and trios throughout the grounds with special interactive opportunities on the main stage. Go to lctix.com for tickets and info.

The Armory on Spring Creek: Also, Gardens on Spring Creek is partnering with The Armory to produce a four-show series of outdoor live music this summer. Three of the shows are already sold out. Tickets are still available for the Son Little show scheduled for July 25. 

Series to Stream: I have gotten quite skilled at binge-watching streamed series over the pandemic. But one series recently stopped me in my tracks. That was “Them,” a 2021 series on Amazon featuring Deborah Ayorinde, Ashley Thomas and Alison Pill.

It’s a mind-twisting horror show — kind of a cross between “Twin Peaks” and “American Horror Story” — but never mind the malevolent spirits in the basement that haunt a family who moves into the wrong house. It’s the incessant racism that fills their everyday lives with nightmare after nightmare.

Even those malevolent spirits turn out to be racist too.

There is no break in the action here either — once the weird and hateful events get going, there is no letting up and what’s bad — the mental state of everyone involved — doesn’t get better. It is well done — it keeps you on the edge of your seat — but it is very intense and I had to watch this one at a time.

More my speed is the kind of trippy, dystopian 2020 Brazilian series “Omniscient” on Netflix. Here, citizens of a protected community are each followed around by little drones that record everything they do. This cuts way down on crime because people simply get caught in the act and an automated system metes out punishments on the spot.

Supposedly this society offers “safety and privacy” by insisting that the images collected by the drones are never seen by a human — they are collected, analyzed and acted upon by a main system.

The system fails, however, when one young tech worker’s father is murdered and nothing gets done about it. So she goes about doing what no one is supposed to do — access the drone images of her father’s death. But first she has to fool her own drone into not giving her away.

Tim Van Schmidt is a writer and photographer based in Fort Collins. Check out his YouTube channel at “Time Capsules by Tim Van Schmidt.”

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