On Saturday the 13th of July the small town of Morrison, just a few miles outside of Denver Colorado, was invaded by the Flockers, Cody Jink’s incredible group of fans, for a magical night of Outlaw Country music.
We got to Red Rocks early to tailgate with the Flock in lower south car park one, which being surrounded by like-minded folk ready to party was an amazing experience in itself. Having spoken to many of the fans, I discovered that a lot of them had taken Planes, Trains and Automobiles to get here for this show, I believe I was the one who had travelled the furthest but others had travelled from all over the United States to see their hero at this most iconic of venues.
The fact that the heavens opened up around 7 p.m. didn’t dampen anyone’s spirit in any way, shape or form, it was loud and it was heavy. The lightning show all around acted like a strobe for a while, causing a short delay. In all truth the delay probably enhanced people’s expectation and excitement, and it also meant a shorter than usual break between acts.
When the weather finally relented enough for proceedings to begin, firstly Paul Cauthen and then Mark Chesnutt warmed the crowd up nicely. There was quite literally an electric atmosphere by the time Cody Jinks and the Tone-Deaf Hippies arrived on stage to one of the hugest crowd roars I’ve ever heard.
The guys went straight into ‘Must be the whiskey’. Although Cody didn’t start singing immediately, he the left that to the crowd, he just paused for a moment to soak up some of the atmosphere. There was no warming up for Jinks, it was pitch perfect from the moment he sang “No I’m not going crazy, but lately my head and my heart seem to be at least a million miles apart”.
Having been fortunate enough to have spoken to him briefly before the show, I learnt that it was also going to be an incredibly special night for Cody, his entire family (minus dad) were attending the show. I’m sure the family must have been feeling goosebumps, looking out at the vast crowd in this wonderful natural amphitheatre. Mr Jinks invited Mamma Jinks on stage to duet with him on.
‘Mamma Song’ in what was to be a special moment for all mothers and sons in the audience, I know, I saw it and I felt it. I wish my mum could have been with me so I could have given her a big hug.
Not stopping for a moment, they went straight into ‘David’ which is a big fan favourite, this was breath-taking fayre for the Black Sheep, seriously it felt as though the air could have been cut with a knife, such was the intensity of the atmosphere.
Even at that early stage of proceedings at Red Rocks (Which is 6435 ft above sea level) we were all high, some slightly more than others which was evident by the pungent smell of weed, that was prominent from before the start of the show, and of course that’s quite ok up there in Colorado.
By this stage the skies cleared sufficiently enough to allow the moon to illuminate the sky over one of those huge red sandstone rocks. It was time to catch some much-needed breath and gather my thoughts for a second. That was the first of the goose bump moments of the night for me.
‘No Words’ has always been a song that has made my heart beat faster, and brung a smile to my face. As I always do at a show, I took a moment out to take it all in and surveyed the audience. I could see tears in people’s eyes and I don’t think there was a single person in the whole crowd who wasn’t singing along at this stage.
‘Been Around’ (from the ‘Less Wise’ album) picked up the tempo again, lead guitarist, Chris Claridy truly demonstrated his wizardry on lead guitar. All the Tone Deaf Hippies were on fire that night, every member was wearing a huge grin on their faces for most, if not all, of the show.
A special announcement was made next, which brought a roar as huge as when the band arrived on stage. There was a proposal and an acceptance, followed by Cody mentioning that he hoped the young lady would get a ‘Big Last Name’. Paul Cauthen joined the band on stage for a staggering version of the song, a truly magical moment for the young couple!
After that I think the band knew that we’d need to take in some oxygen, being at altitude was not helping matters, so they calmed proceedings a little, not that the crowd were in any mood to be still, by doing ‘Head Case’, a big favourite from ‘Lifers’ and a stunning rendition of ‘Somewhere Between I Love you and I’m Leaving’. Both these songs made me well up I have to admit, but I know I wasn’t the only one. The pure emotion and intensity in Cody’s voice does that to bigger men than me, like nobody else.
‘Can’t Quit Enough’ had everyone up dancing their socks off, I remember looking at the right-hand Red Rock during this song and the moon was shimmering off it, almost like it was dancing on the Rock.
Throughout the performance Cody doffed his hat to some of his co-writers and friends namely Paul Cauthen, Whitey Morgan and for the next song, ‘I’m not the Devil’ to Ward Davis, and what a perfect version of the song it was. At another point in the show when Cody was thanking the warm up acts he said he “damned near shit my pants”, when Mark Chesnutt agreed to play, such is the esteem he holds for Mark.
Jinks ripped into Alan Jackson’s ‘Chasing That Neon Rainbow’ next, these guys totally own that song. Once more the totally transfixed audience are lapping up every second of the song. Keeping the party going, the hi-octane ‘What Else is New’ was performed next, and had me jumping and screaming along, swigging my bear and getting rowdy. The song is pure energy, and the lyrics offer an insight into the views of the man.
For ‘Alone’ I decided to try and isolate myself off from the other 10,000 people in the audience, so I sat down and closed my eyes, blocking everything else out, concentrating on the song, its one of the greatest of the many great songs in Cody’s back catalogue, and a huge personal favourite of mine from the ‘30’ album. I felt as if I was in heaven at that point.
Going back even further in time, we were entranced by the wonderful ‘Fast Hand’ next. Claridy taking centre stage again with an incredible sounding guitar solo. The earlier inclement weather was just a distant memory now and had been replaced by a cooler evening, although Cody was certainly keeping everyone’s hearts racing.
‘Holy Water’, a co-write with my buddy, Austin Allsup, and the opening track on ‘Lifers’ was epic and very apt for the occasion. I think there was definitely some kind of holy spirit present in the arena, because our ears were being treated to celestial sounds.
If memory serves me correctly there was a slight pause here, Cody chugging from his bottle of Beer, then taking a moment to take in the surroundings. You could see on a number of occasions that the whole band were overwhelmed by the whole experience, and they were lapping it all up, loving every single minute, and being at one with the audience. Then on with the show, “and its gonna get hard, before it gets easy, I outta know”, ‘No Guarantees’ kicks in and the whole place is rocking once again.
The night seemed to be racing through, looking at my watch, I wondered where all the time had gone, and thought to myself, why couldn’t this show last all night? As ‘Lifers’ was taken to a whole new level for me (that’s the Live experience).
Now perhaps the highlight of the show, Cody stepped up to the mic and asked the crowd to join him and the band on ‘Cast No Stones’. I swear every single hair on my body stood on end, hearing 10,000 people singing at the top of their voices was overwhelming, for everyone, the tears were flowing again, the Beers were flowing, and the entire world outside of Red Rocks became totally irrelevant. It was one of those “I was there moments” that people will cherish forever, and the people that were there will have a bond forever. At the end the band just stood and peered up into the vast amphitheatre.
All that left was ‘Hippies and Cowboys’ with a slightly different and quite subtle arrangement, “Yeah tomorrow I’ll be gone, so tonight everybody sing-a-long” as if this flock needing telling to sing, my voice was nearly gone! Cody asked for the lights to be turned on so he could peer out into the audience before introducing the band
Jinks departed the stage shortly followed by the band, but this crowd were not going to let Cody go that easily. We were screaming his name, shouting, cheering, and literally making the whole of Red Rocks shake with the cheers.
A few minutes later Cody came back out to tell the audience that this was a Bucket list show for the band and he thanked the audience the techs, the roadies, everyone who helped make it happen. Then asked if we’d like to hear a couple more songs. The crowd erupted again, and aptly for the show, we were given another co-written with Ward Davis song, ‘Colorado’, which of course had everyone going again in tribute to the beautiful surroundings for this extravaganza.
We raised our drinks, our voices and our hearts for the last encore ‘Loud and Heavy’, which again was very apt because of the start of the evening. For the final time of the evening the band departed, once again to rapturous applause, but the lights came on and it was time to hug the people around us, say our goodbyes to friends old and new and depart5 the scene.
That was first Cody Jinks show, although I’ve long been a fan. He’s much more to me than that, and to his fans. He’s a role-model, he’s a Lifer, he’s a giver of hope in times of despair, he’s the man with the words and voice to make any person laugh or cry. His music just exudes energy and vitality and emotion. I’ll travel anywhere in the world to see this band play again and again; they are that good.