Red Rocks Update: Opening acts you don't want to miss

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Being the opening act at a venue like Red Rocks can have its drawbacks. Compared to the headliner, support acts generally are paid less, play a shorter set, and get a lot less attention.

All of which is kind of unfortunate, especially in those rare — but not unheard of — cases where the artists opening are arguably better than the headliners.

As Red Rocks rolls out its summer schedule, there are two shows where this is almost certainly going to be the case.

On July 4, Blues Traveler will return to the venue. The band is, of course, a household name, especially if your household has been around for 25 years like they have.

Now I have nothing against John Popper and his blues-rock brethren (apart from not liking their music), but I'm pretty sure that opening act Fitz & the Tantrums can, and will, blow them off the stage.

Meanwhile, "Pumped Up Kicks" purveyors Foster the People will be playing Red Rocks that same week (July 3, to be precise), and the situation is likely to be much the same.

Again, don't get me wrong: I'm the first person to whistle along when last summer's feel-good-hit-about-a-future-mass-murderer comes on the radio. But FTP is less talented and interesting than blue-eyed soulman Mayer Hawthorne, and can't hold even the dimmest candle to Kimbra, who's already huge Down Under — and, thanks to the success of her team-up with Gotye on the single "Somebody That I Used to Know," will soon be here as well.

So the takeaway message, if you're going to either show, is to get there on time. As for the May 8 Styx/REO Speedwagon/Ted Nugent bill, I'll let you figure that one out for yourself.

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