• Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys Live in Denver

    Bill Monroe in concert in Denver, February 19, 1986The date was February 19, 1986. Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys had traveled to Denver, Colorado for a concert in what was the arena for the Denver Nuggets NBA basketball team.

    Make no mistake about it, Monroe was in fine form that day as the band kicked off the concert with "Uncle Pen."

    This never before published footage was captured by videojournalist Scott Wright as part of the Wright Collection, a series of events surrounding Bill Monroe in February, 1986.

    A lifelong bluegrass musician and fan, Wright felt Monroe's appearance in Denver was historically significant and captured and kept the videos until entrusting them to the Mandolin Cafe this year for publication.

    The videos include a nice warm-up session in what was then the Denver Nuggets locker room. In addition to members of the band, Colorado bluegrass personality Dave Higgs makes an appearance in Video 2. Earlier, Higgs had interviewed Monroe for over 30 minutes, the video of that interview linked to below published earlier this month.

    In the band for this trip besides Monroe on mandolin:

    • Blake Williams - banjo
    • Wayne Lewis - guitar
    • Tater Tate - bass
    • Art Stamper - fiddle







    Other Videos in The Scott Wright Collection

    Comments 11 Comments
    1. f5loar's Avatar
      f5loar -
      From Oct, 1984 up to about 1990 Monroe went through quite a few fiddlers and bass players. Art Stamper was mostly during 1984 and Glen Duncan in 1985 & 1986. However Tater Tate did both bass and fiddle during that time, but also suffered some shoulder problems and couldn't play fiddle full time. Art must have come back in 1986 for a few shows to help out. I must say there were putting "Come Hither, Go Yonder" in the wind!
    1. grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
      grassrootphilosopher -
      "Foggy Mtn. Breakdown"..., whow. The feud was over back then.

      Have you ever seen a group of brain surgeons discussing the operation... If not - the rehearsal video is as close as you can get.

      For everyone who is into building a band - the videos are important footage of how music of this ilk is put together.
    1. George R. Lane's Avatar
      George R. Lane -
      Unfortunatly I can't see them. It says video doesn't exist. Probably my Internet Explorer.
    1. f5loar's Avatar
      f5loar -
      Well...... when you consider Earl says he wrote Bluegrass Breakdown for the mandolin, it's no surprise to hear Bill do Foggy Mtn. Breakdown. And backstage they were going over Earl's Breakdown.
    1. grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
      grassrootphilosopher -
      Quote Originally Posted by f5loar View Post
      Well...... when you consider Earl says he wrote Bluegrass Breakdown for the mandolin, it's no surprise to hear Bill do Foggy Mtn. Breakdown. And backstage they were going over Earl's Breakdown.
      True. And when you consider that "the feud" with Earl was over around at least 1973, it´s all good. Also, your referrence to "Bluegrass Breakdown" and "FMB" (historically and musically) puts things into perspective. It´s nice to see Bill Monroe´s performance of this piece.
    1. BradKlein's Avatar
      BradKlein -
      Any chance that an audio recording (perhaps a board mix) exists for this show. It would be entirely possible to sync with the video.
    1. dshipp's Avatar
      dshipp -
      Nice to see these paired with the video of Mr Monroe getting his repaired Loar back. This must have been one of the last shows before they were reunited.
    1. f5loar's Avatar
      f5loar -
      Quote Originally Posted by BradKlein View Post
      Any chance that an audio recording (perhaps a board mix) exists for this show. It would be entirely possible to sync with the video.
      I said Earl said he wrote it. Problem with that is this was never mentioned until after Bill had died as well as all the other BGBoys from that band line up. So if you think Earl was capable of such a complex instrumental at 22 when Monroe had already been at it for more than 10 years, you need some real understanding of bluegrass music. Also consider Earl had not written any other instrumentals for banjo. Monroe quite a few for the mandolin. Now, did Earl get some serious inspiration to do his banjo break from Monroe's mandolin breaks, no doubt, but to up and say Earl wrote that one is pretty far stretched. If Earl had written it, Monroe would have gladly let him kick it off and take the most breaks since Monroe was getting all the credit but it didn't happen that way. Then Earl taking that banjo break and coming up with FMB is believable.
    1. JonDoug's Avatar
      JonDoug -
      Nice to see these paired with the video of Mr Monroe getting his repaired Loar back. This must have been one of the last shows before they were reunited.
      I'm curious:i Is the mandolin that Bill Monroe plays in these videos the same F-5 that Greg Boyd recently had up for sale?
    1. Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
      Mandolin Cafe -
      Quote Originally Posted by JonDoug View Post
      I'm curious:i Is the mandolin that Bill Monroe plays in these videos the same F-5 that Greg Boyd recently had up for sale?
      That is correct.

      The new owner has been in contact with us and we offered to do a short question and answer with them about it but they wish to remain anonymous. Case closed.

      EDIT: or at least, the new owner claims they are one and the same, and Greg Boyd did as well. We have no way of proving this but really don't doubt this is the case. IF someone disagrees, I'm sure they'll speak up.
    1. DataNick's Avatar
      DataNick -
      Thanks for posting all of this significant historical archive media Scott.