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  • Sarah Reijonen

Our first post-COVID concert

After a year of COVID, not even a little lightning could stop our first concert since 2019.

Spank and I flew into Denver last Thursday for his birthday weekend, the highlight of the long weekend being country artist Justin Moore. We filed into the newly-built soccer stadium in Colorado Springs with devoted country fans and people just desperate for live music and human interaction, in general. Immediately, we found new friends in our sparsely-populated VIP section that bellied up to the stage and provided plenty of elbow space with only about 50 patrons in the 30-by-50 space.

A dark storm system threatened overhead as the opener closed her set. Chris Janson came on next and woke up a crowd that had been stuck in a COVID haze for the last year. But, his set was cut short by flashes of lightning and we were all ushered under the grand stands like cattle. We stayed under for a few minutes before my husband said, “Let’s go back out.” Of course, I followed. At that point, I would have rather been struck by lightning than have another concert cancelled—and we weren’t the only ones. Slowly, the rest of the crowd emerged from under cover. Next time they tried to get us to run for cover, no one budged. Eventually, Justin Moore materialized and we spent the next couple of hours in Coors Light drinkin’, “I-could-kick-your-ass” singing, country music bliss.

We spent the remainder of our trip hiking amongst the giant red rocks of, well, Red Rocks Open Space, as well as the Paint Mines and Garden of the Gods. We also got to see my bestie, who moved to Colorado last year after a decade in Europe. The massive boulders and upheaved earth were a welcome and beautiful reminder that we are not as large and in charge as we think we are.

That’s only the beginning. Next week we head up to Alaska for Chickenstock! It’ll be our first Chickenstock since our initial one in 2017, which was the beginning of our working holiday up there as well as some of the most amazing friendships and a lifelong love affair with Alaska. And while we’re there, Spank and I will celebrate our 15thanniversary! Where has time gone? That’s right, we’ll be on a boat snaggin’ ‘buts to celebrate our love.

But right now, as I type, we are driving through Oregon (or as I like to call it, the speed bump between California and Washington). And no, we’re not popping into Portland on our way through, although I hear it’s nice this time of year—you know, with all the anarchy and fresh scent of bum fires in the air. I digress. No, we are headed through the portion of Oregon that is desperately begging to be part of Idaho.

We’ll be in Washington by tomorrow—and that’s when the real vacation starts. Alaska for two weeks, Washington until mid-July, Montana’s Under the Big Sky music festival, a road trip through Idaho and then back to Alaska at the end of August. I’m tired already, but mostly excited!

CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM OUR COLORADO TRIP HERE! I’ve also included some shots from my weekend women’s retreat in Tahoe. Insert heart-eyed emoji.

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