John Denver to come to life at Steamboat Springs tribute concert |

John Denver to come to life at Steamboat Springs tribute concert

Cowboy Brad Fitch plays two John Denver tribute concerts at the Chief Theater this weekend.
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— The influence of John Denver on Cowboy Brad Fitch was evident early on.

The singer and songwriter from Estes Park has been playing music since he was 15 years old.

When his high school band, Fitch and Chips, played shows, one request always was repeated.

“When I was a young fellow learning the guitar, a lot of his hits were on the radio,” Fitch said. “John Denver was everywhere. People would always ask us for John Denver songs. I began to learn more and more about him.”

Fitch will bring his John Denver tribute show to the Chief Theater on Friday and Saturday. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the show set for 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and available at All That Jazz or at the door.

Fitch, who tours and plays mostly his own music, first did the John Denver tribute show in 2004 at the request of several friends and professional acquaintances. He did the first one in Estes Park at an outdoor venue that accommodated 500 people. The day of the performance, more than 1,200 people showed up.

“I though, ‘Oh boy, people still really like his music,’” Fitch said. “The last 10 years, it’s become an annual event.”

Fitch also did John Denver tribute concerts in Steamboat in 2005 and 2006 at Steamboat Mountain Theater.

Fitch said he’ll play most of Denver’s most notable songs as well as many people may not have heard.

In between songs, he’ll talk about the music and who John Denver was.

Saturday also marks the 16th anniversary of Denver’s death. In 1997, Denver was killed at age 53 when his plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean.

Fitch was able to see Denver in concert multiple times, including several shows at Red Rocks.

He’s read as much as he can about Denver and looked at old video of his concerts. Fitch will play Friday and Saturday’s shows as a soloist, something he said sticks out in his mind about a Denver concert years ago.

“What I remember most of all was that even though there were thousands of people there, he was able to create a very intimate atmosphere,” Fitch said. “At the John Denver concerts I attended, he had a full band. But in the middle, he would give the band a break and play by himself. That was always the most enjoyable to me.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham

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