By Mitchell Glazier | Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 1:08 am The Daily Anthenaeum, West Virginia University
Chris Collins and Boulder Canyon, an award-winning band hailing from Aspen, Colo., took the stage Sunday night at The Metropolitan Theatre for a John Denver Tribute Concert.
The band, comprised of five members, travels from coast to coast reviving the music of the late John Denver, from whom West Virginia University adopted its signature anthem, “Country Roads.” With costumes and stage sets inspired by the 1970s-era, audience members were taken back to a simpler time in music.
Chris Collins and Boulder Canyon performed an elaborate John Denver set, which spanned from the early years of Denver’s career to music released months before his untimely death.
Denver’s passion for music began at the age of 11, when he received his first guitar from his parents. With a music career spanning over 30 years and several Billboard-topping hits, Denver left a permanent mark on the foundation of modern American folk music. For his lyrical and songwriting skills, Denver was elected as Poet Laureate of Colorado in 1974.
“John Denver is a part of the framework of American patriotism,” said Kevin Demolino, a vocalist for Chris Collins and Boulder Canyon. “He continues to inspire musicians all over the world.” Audience members gave a standing ovation for Chris Collins and Boulder Canyon’s renditions of “Sunshine on My Shoulders” and “Annie’s Song.”
Sam Barnett, a sophomore biology student, is a self-proclaimed John Denver fanatic.
“My Dad always had ‘The Essential John Denver’ playing in the car and around the house while growing up,” Barnett said. “Chris Collins and Boulder Canyon did a great job of emulating such an incredible musician and performer.”
As the concert drew to a close, audience members rose to link arms for a powerful rendition of “Country Roads.”
“This state was probably the most special place to John Denver,” said Paul Swanton, guitarist and vocalist. “I can see why. West Virginians are some of the kindest, most hospitable folks there are.”
After a rousing set, the Chris Collins and Boulder Canyon Band played an encore.
Fans, some dizzied with exhaustive excitement and others streaming with tears, were sad to see the evening draw to a close.
Following the concert, band members shook hands and provided autographs for fans, who gave incredible praise for the talent Chris Collins and Boulder Canyon displayed Sunday evening.
“They completely captured the essence of everything that was John Denver,” said Tim Pruitt, a senior history student at WVU. “The band kept every arrangement as John Denver would have wanted.”
Chris Collins and Boulder Canyon will perform at The Strand Theater in Zelienople, Pa., an hour drive from Morgantown, at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets will be $25 and are available via phone at 724-742-0400 or online at www.thestrandtheater.org.