FIREFALL was inducted into the “Colorado Music Hall Of Fame” on January 9, 2015 at a gala concert event at the Paramount Theater in Denver, CO. The induction class that night were four very successful and influential groups that way back, had called Colorado home: FIREFALL, THE NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND, POCO and STEPHEN STILLS & MANASSAS!! Leader of the band Firefall, Jock Bartley, said “What an absolute honor to be inducted as a part of this class! Four amazing groups from Colorado who had made their marks out in the wide world and shook up the national and international musical scenes, each in their own unique fashion.”
The event began with Chuck Morris (from AEG and C.M.H. O.F. Director) introducing Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who spoke about this music’s affect on him back in the day. Then came the STEPHEN STILLS and MANASSAS TRIBUTE (Stephen and Chris Hillman could not attend). The tribute featured RICHIE FURAY (Poco & Buffalo Springfield), JEFF HANNA (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), JOCK BARTLEY (Firefall & Gram Parsons and the Fallen Angels) and rising star NATHANIAL RATELIFF singing three Manassas songs including Stephen’s ‘Colorado’ and ‘Johnny’s Garden’.
Then came FIREFALL!! After a seven minute ‘retrospective film’ about how the band met and formed in 1974 in Boulder (soon to be on-line here), FIREFALL was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame by comedian and Animal Planet ‘TV Vet’, Kevin Fitzgerald. Onto the stage walked MARK ANDES, JOCK BARTLEY, DAVID MUSE – three original and current 2015 members of the band – and original members RICK ROBERTS and LARRY BURNETT, the two lead singer / songwriters who brought such great tunes and vocals to the group. Also coming on stage was Debbie Dubois, the sister of Firefall’s original drummer, the late great MICHAEL CLARKE, who’s life-size black & white photograph stood on stage during the induction proceedings and show. What a moment, not only for the sold-out crowd, but for the band members and creators of that incredible musical synergy that became simply known as ‘The Colorado Sound.’ FIREFALL received thunderous applause, getting recognition for the music they’d made and impact they’d had on the regional, national and internation music industry. And going on forty (40!!) years later, they’re still going strong.
During the band’s 45 minute set, Jock, David and Mark were joined on stage by singer/guitarist STEVEN WEINMEISTER (20+ years in the band), drummer SANDY FICCA (nearly 30 years in the band) and conga player/percussionist, TUDIE CALDERON, from Aspen. Rick Roberts and Larry Burnett had both chosen, because of some health concerns and limited rehearsal time, to watch from the audience. On stage the group’s performance was tight, powerful and emotional. “We were ON and the crowd was right there with us,” Jock said. “I made sure to honor Rick and Larry numerous times between songs, because without the incredible songs the wrote and vocal blend they had, there would’ve been no big success, no gold and platinum records, no Colorado Hall of Fame induction.”
The set list that night included the classic Firefall songs, “Livin’ Ain’t Livin'”, “Just Remember I Love You”, “So Long”, “Cinderella”, “Goodbye I Love You”, “You Are The Woman” (that has earned over 6 million radio airplays in the U.S. alone) and “Strange Way,” where David Muse played his amazing extended flute solo on the end and received a rousing standing ovation (the band’s 4th that night). For their final song “Mexico”, the band invited Rick Roberts and Larry Burnett up to play acoustic guitars, sing a little and to share in the magical moments on stage. The audience went wild!! It was so fantastic having them join the band (and the photo of Michael Clarke) for the rocking conclusion, where the received their fifth standing ovation. Earlier in the set, Firefall’s original roadie / guitar tech, DALLAS SCHOO, was brought out an introduced; Dallas has worked with U2 for the last 25 years and is The Edge’s guitar tech and the band’s ‘right hand man’ (and has also worked for Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt and so many others! Dallas had flown to Denver from L.A. that morning for the festivities and left right after Firefall’s set to fly back to work with U2 in the studio. FIREFALL’s rockin’ and emotional portion of the show was over.
Next was the induction of country rock pioneers, POCO. It was fantastic having on stage for the first time years, RUSTY YOUNG, RICHIE FURAY, PAUL COTTON and TIMOTHY B. SCHMIDT (current Eagles bassist). The crowd was ecstatic seeing their old friends and hearing the Poco classic songs like ‘Crazy Love’, ‘Pick Up The Pieces’, ‘Keep On Trying’ and ‘Rose of Cimarron’. Original drummer GEORGE GRANTHAM was unable to attend due to health considerations. And then THE NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND was inducted – JOHN McEUEN, JEFF HANNA, JIMMIE FADDEN and BOB CARPENTER. When they played “Mr. Bogangles”, the audience erupted. Near the end of their set, original NGDB singer/songwriter/guitarist, JIMMY IBBOTSEN, joined the band on stage for the first time in many years. Great stuff!! And for the NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND encore, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken”, almost all the other musicians from the other bands joined them on stage. An over the top sing-along of the classic gospel/country tune ensued, inspired and emotional, totally fun ..and the cap to historic evening of Colorado Classic Rock from the 1970s.
The after-party at Marlowe’s next door to the Paramount Theater was where all the groups inducted, their families, friends and fans mingled and enjoyed the afterglow moments. It was old home week with dozens and dozens of old friends (many from 1970s Boulder) letting their hair down after a truly memorable and historic musical event!! The next Induction C.M.H.O.F. gala event will this coming summer 2015 at RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATER where they’ll induct: DAN FOLGELBERG (featuring a star-studded ‘Tribute’), JOE WALSH and BARNSTORM and CARIBOU RANCH Recording Studio and it’s founder, JIM GUERICO. As H.O.F. executive G. Brown’s book title states, “COLORADO ROCKS.”
FIREFALL thanks every one of our fans for your support and love over the decades. We appreciate each and everyone of you!!!!