Beautiful music is beautiful music, whether you find it in a New York subway station or a symphony hall. But there are some places around the world that are so gorgeous or unique that they turn any show into an unforgettable experience. These are some of those places.
9. Paradiso, Amsterdam
In a city known for both its wild party scene and its rich history, it's fitting that one of the best clubs and concert venues is located in an old church. The high ceilings and huge windows behind the stage are a constant reminder of where you are, but other than that, the Paradiso looks and acts like a normal, really good club. The main interior has been converted into a large dance floor, with additional space in the form of a balcony ringing the room. Another stage plays in the basement, providing options for the patrons. In the past, Paradiso has hosted oh-so-tiny names such as The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Adele, Lady Gaga, and many, many others. However, they also make time for lesser known artists and DJs.
8. Dalhalla, Sweden
Have you ever wanted to go to a concert at the bottom of an abandoned quarry? Well, me neither, but only because it's not something that ever, ever occurred to me as possible. Luckily, the folks who put up Dalhalla in 1995 think a little more outside the box. The sheer stone walls that surround the stage pull double duty, providing clear acoustics and a stunning backdrop. The stage floats on top of a pale blue lake, adding to the otherworldly feeling of this unique location.
7. Volcano Room, McMinnville TN
After Steve Aoiki successfully held a rave in zero gravity, there could be no question that in the modern age, we've found a way to bring music to every remote corner of the globe. And yet it's somehow still surprising to discover that you can go see a show 333 feet underground. But deep under the Tennessee hills, a cave in the Cumberland Caverns has been converted into one of the most unique venues in the world, where each act is supported by a beautiful backdrop of stalactites and stalagmites. The volcano room hosts a diverse line up of blues, folk, and country acts, but be sure to time your trip right- they only play a couple of shows a year.
6. The Fillmore, San Francisco CA
The Fillmore auditorium might not look like much, but its halls are filled with the ghost of legends. As unbelievable as it seems now, there was a time when the likes of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Carlos Santana, Steve Miller and the Grateful Dead were still small, unknown acts. And during that time, each of them played here, at the Fillmore. Maybe the venue is magic, more likely it's just really, really good at picking out their headliners. But either way, this slice of musical history is worth visiting the next time you're on the golden coast.
5. Wembley Stadium, London UK
Wembley is the only sports stadium to grab a spot on this list, for good reason. The huge stadium, which seats 90,000 people, is distinctive from miles away. Its giant arch, which actually serves as a supportive structure, has become a London landmark, and people flock to the stadium to watch some of the biggest acts in the world perform. Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, and the Killers have played the venue in the recent past.
4. The Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles CA
LA is famous for three things: Its film industry, it's horrendous traffic, and its music industry. So it's pretty hard for a concert venue to stand out. Yet this bright white semi-circle has become one of the most recognizable places in the city since its opening in 1922. Behind the stage, the gentle slopes of the Hollywood hills are silhouetted, and the most recognizable landmark, the Hollywood sign, is visible in the distance to remind you where you are. Between symphonies and orchestras, catch acts such as the Dave Matthews band and Florence and the Machine.
3. Herod Atticus Odeon, Athens Greece
This amphitheater, nestled into the side of the acropolis, was created by the wealthy Roman Herodis Attucus in 161 as a tribute to his dead wife. Its long history has had many ups and downs- it was destroyed in 267 AD and was not fully renovated again until the 1950s. And yet, after two millennia, you can still go and see shows being performed. There's no better place in the world to truly appreciate the universality of music, which connects us, not only across the globe, but through the millennia. The Herod Atticus Odeon, shortened to the "Heodeon" by locals, has a lot of different types of shows, including Greek plays and symphonies, as well as occasional bigger names- maybe you've heard of Frank Sinatra?
2. The Gorge Amphitheatre, George WA
Picture the middle of nowhere. That's where The Gorge can be found. More specifically, it's perched on the hills of Washington state, overlooking the Columbia River. The sweeping views of Washington's wilderness will take your breath away, and right when you think that the view can't get any more spectacular, the sun will begin sinking behind the ridge, streaking the sky with pink and yellow. Of course, the stage is positioned carefully to give you the best view of the sky as you watch the show. After the concert, you may feel like you never want to leave, and you don't have to. Well, at least not yet. The Gorge has a great campground for those who want to stay to stargaze in the beautiful location (or who find themselves unable to drive home). The Gorge hosts multiple festivals each year, including Paradiso, which boast an EDM lineup, and (formally) Sasquatch! (RIP), which features more diverse acts. They also host concerts with headliners like Phish, Dave Mathews Band, and Pretty Lights.
1. Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison CO
Red Rocks is very well named- huge slabs of red stone, each 300 feet tall, frame the seats. Besides being absolutely stunning, they make Red Rocks the only naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world. There's not a single bad seat in the house- the farther away you get from the stage, the more you can see the lights of Denver splayed out beneath you. Red Rocks hold a special place in many people's hearts- It's one of two Denver Historic Landmarks, and it's considered sacred by 32 Native American tribes. And just ask a local what their favorite place in the world is. The Rocks have hosted legends like the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, and Jimi Hendrix, and currently holds over 155 shows per year. Catch everything from Rock to EDM to Jam Bands and everything in between. And every artist brings their A game. If you want to see huge supporting ensembles or hear unreleased new songs before everyone else, it's a good bet you'll find what you're looking for at the Rocks. Because every artist who visits feels the magic of this place. And if you go, so will you.
Odesza recently played Red Rocks and captured the intensity and beauty in this video: