The Rainbow Music Hall: Remembering a Legendary Denver Concert Venue

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It was definitely a different world back then, Nick and it's very hard to picture a parking lot full of rowdy teenagers pre-gaming for a concert at Monaco and Evans in 2016! Thanks for reading and commenting!


I had just moved to Denver in '81 and quickly found the Rainbow Music Hall . . . I was hooked from the beginning! I was used to going to huge concerts so this felt like a whole new thing - great bands in an intimate setting. I felt soooo cool bringing friends to this little gem! Thanks for the memories, Brian.


It was a fun place - my uncle worked as a bouncer and would introduce me and my friends to the bands - cant COUNT the number of buses we were on LOLZ


Great article. I was there for the BF/Nig-Heist debacle and thought it was epic. I was young & dumb enough to think Barry Fey was "authority" and loved that he was upset. "Stick it to the man! yeah!" Little did I know how much he was doing for all of us with the Rainbow. Wanna-be punk that I was. One of the Heisters got on the mic and said something along the lines of "due to the travel schedule I haven't had any time with the I had to <"pleasure himself">. He then threw a handful of white.. opaque.. sticky stuff into the crowd. Which thank God was Arby's Horsey Sauce.

RMH was where I saw the 1st concerts my folks let me go to: Fabulous Poodles and Boomtown Rats. Saw something like 15 other shows too and the sound was amazing. Took it for granted because I didn't know any better. Saw Journey <embarrassment>, Pretenders and remember the Romantics rocking the walls. They were an amazing live outfit. Their tour bus got high-centered trying to exit onto Evans and we had to help push them off. Single worst move ever: sitting in the parking lot for the 1st Police show and trying to decide whether to go in or not and deciding to go to a party instead. Genius.

Hi Sonofa - Thanks for the kind words and thanks for sharing your Rainbow Music Hall memories. I was at that show, too but, fortunately was standing back quite a bit further back that night! The bottom line is that there were an amazing number of really great shows at the old Rainbow!


I went to Regis College from 77-81 & saw so many amazing shows between McNichols & The Rainbow. I remember like yesterday watching all the Ramones come from the back & walk right past me down the aisle & up to the stage & break out into Blitzkrieg Bop!!!! F'n Amazing!! The smell of Colombian Red Bud in the air. Also saw the Police from about 5 rows back when they were considered a "new wave" band. The other show I remember like yesterday were The Fabulous Poodles!!! What an absolutely Awesome band!!! I remember rolling & smoking a Cheech & Chong size joint in the van before we got there to see them. They have a great song called "Roll Your Own". Damn those were the best of times!! That place is part of all of our hearts & souls. I also sold T-Shirts at McNichols for all the rock concerts during that time. Ted Nugent's 1977 Tour when he wore a wolf's tail on the back of his pants & jumped off a stack of Marshall's a mile high!! Boston's Don't Look Back Tour, Van Halen's 1978 World Tour (I still have the T-shirt from that one!!), Kansas with The Cars opening up for them!! & Frank Zappa when the girls would cut off their panties & throw them up on stage & he put one on his head!!! I'm telling you Barry Fey was right when he said Music means more to Denver. There was nothing like it!!! Thank you Rainbow & Old McNichols for the best music memories of my life!!!! & Thank you Brian for giving all of us the opportunity to relive & share those beautiful memories!!! Cayla : )

Hi Cayla and thanks for the kind words. You really made the most of the Rainbow! On a personal note, I desperately wanted to see that same Ramones show, but as an 8th grader, my parents weren't thrilled about sending me there. Thanks for sharing your Rainbow memories with us!


Well, I'd like to add some facts. My band, The Jonny 3, was the first band to ever play at The Rainbow. We played there the night before it opened. Check Morris, Barry Fey and Dave McKay were the only 3 guys in the hall. It was a "practice" concert. The concession stand was open, the ticket people were in place and we did the gig. I met Dave at a party on York Street hosted by the three southern girls, Aleece, Denise and Sandra. I walked in on him when he was pissing. We were playing at the party. It was so crowded that he never saw us, but he told me he loved the band. I told him I was in the band. He subsequently booked us for several gigs at the Rainbow. I believe Elvin Bishop was the first one. We opened for him. I have a recording of the interview we did for KFML that was played for about a week before the show. The crowd threw empty whiskey bottles at us. It was not a good fit. We also opened for Tom Robinson Band, Rachel Sweet and headlined a Denver punk night. Barry was all biz, Dave was cool, but Chuck and I hit it off big time. I never paid to go to a show there. He and I would go to his office and drink. I saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers with the original lineup and thought "Punk rock is dead."