A Confident Gary Clark Has Us on His Side

A Confident Gary Clark Has Us on His Side

May 16, 2024 Off By John Cargile

Gary Clark Jr is a fearless man, but he has a lot of people on his side. I say he’s fearless and confident because someone with his successful catalog would usually stand and deliver his most popular songs while dropping in a few new ones.

Gary Clark Jr at Red Rocks (Photo: John Cargile)

Not Clark. He confidently dropped ten of his new songs and, boy, did that stand strong on the beautiful Red Rocks night in Colorado.

But I will tell his secret – beyond his amazing band who played their hearts out. His secret is couples love him. Who knew Gary Clark Jr. was such a date night concert? New album or not, the lovebirds around me knew so many of the lyrics and spent the night dancing and holding each other. It was amazing to see.

With “Maktub” from his new album JPEG RAW kicking off the night with a beautiful visual accompaniment from the moon, Clark set the tone for a night of dancing for the crowd of all ages. Next was “When My Train Pulls In” from an older album, featuring some damn good solos.

Gary Clark, Jr. at Red Rocks (Photo: John Cargile)

Then they hit three songs from the new album in a row with the album’s title track “JPEG RAW” offering up “if this is what you’re waiting for” beside some amazing keys. The background singers really stood out on “This Is Who We Are”.

“The Healing” was where I really noticed how many couples, led mostly by the women in the crowd, were really letting the guitar pour through them. I liked people finding GCJ’s music together to keep those relationships strong and exciting.

On “Feed the Babies” the band took a Sun Ra Arkestra feel into the night air.

Later, Clark introduced his recent album’s song “What About the Children” and had the crowd send birthday wishes to Stevie Wonder, who appears on the song. It also is the song that marks Wonder’s first song to chart on the rock and alternative chart.

Gary Clark, Jr. at Red Rocks (Photo: John Cargile)

“Our Love” with lyrics like “this is our love baby” got the couples going strong for the rest of the show. “Bright Lights, Big City” blew up the place, though I love the Jimmy Reed version a bit more.

The encore of the new album’s track “Funk Witch” that features George Clinton was another time for the entire band to shine. Then the show ended with one more love affirmation “You Saved Me” from his earlier album Blak and Blu. The couples held each other tightly and the night was happy in the stars.


  • John Cargile

    John Cargile teaches and DJs for hundreds of Denver yogis and his power yoga classes. His southern roots of soul and pop music melded with indie and dance music in Colorado over the years.