The Rainbow Music Hall: Remembering a Legendary Denver Concert Venue

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The guy that wrote this is misinformed. The Rainbow opened in 1979. I saw bands like Journey on May 9 & Rainbow on November 16 & others. 1979!!! I still have the actual show recordings. People that are allowed to write historically significant stuff should actually know what they are talking about. Clearly this guy does not. In the words of a well known TV personality, "You're Fired!"

Hi Steve - Good catch! You're correct, the Rainbow did open in 1979, as is indicated by the reference to the Rocky Mountain News article from January 19, 1979. Hope you enjoyed the rest of the article. 

great article Brian; the only thing you left out that most would find interesting is that The Rainbow was the first place in the USA that U2 played; Nobody knew who they were!(Barry also booked Led Zep in their first-ever USA gig at his club Ebbotts Field) I was in the top 3 finalists in a huge city-wide Drum Solo Contest at The Rainbow put on by Carmine Appice; Might also mention that Barry was the best rock promoter, 2nd only to Bill Graham (they hated each other) and Barry tragically committed suicide; but for the best history of Denver music, read his book Backstage Past

Hi Scott - Thanks for chiming in your Rainbow experiences. That Carmine Appice drum contest sounds pretty amazing!

As much as I'd like to give Denver the honor of hosting the first U2 gig in North America, from what I can tell, that one goes to either the Ritz in NYC or someplace called the Penny Arcade in Rochester, NY.

Either way, one of the things that made the Rainbow so special was the chance it afforded to see bands like U2 in an intimate setting as they headed for the stratosphere. 

As for Barry Fey, he contributed so much to Denver that it's hard to gage his true impact. It's incredibly sad that he felt that taking his own life was his best option for dealing with his demons and medical issues. Fortunately, he left a legacy that we're still feeling today. 

But after their show at The Rainbow, Fey asked them to play Red Rocks that summer, to which they replied (at least according to Barry), “what’s Red Rocks”.

At that Red Rocks show, they made the video for Sunday Bloody Sunday. And that performance is said to have launched their careers into the stratosphere. So Barry and the Rainbow had much to do with the fame of that band.