HISTORY OF MOUNTAIN RAILS LIVE
The Mountain Rails Live concert venue at Fir is unique in many different ways, it’s likely the only place in world where a concert venue is totally inaccessible except by train. At 9200 feet in elevation it’s one of the world’s highest concert venues. But the Mountain Rails Live experience goes well beyond the privacy and exclusivity of the place. Being tucked into a mountain top meadow is only part of the charm. Another part is the opportunity to sit where you want, or stand, or even dance.
Being able to share this incredibly intimate setting is exciting not only for the audiences but for the artists as well. Surrounded by the beauty of the Front Range, they seem inspired to provide a particularly amazing experience. In many cases no more than 100 to 200 people relaxing together on top of a mountain. It is almost like a family gathering. The artists seem to respond to this. They are relaxed and comfortable, telling stories and sharing experiences in a familiar way that would never happen at a larger show. It is almost like they are sharing campfire stories. They seem more willing to open up, to be adventurous, to play songs they haven’t played in a while even if it means making a mistake or two. After all, this is all among friends… Being at the top of the mountain is inspiring and at the same time quite humbling. You get to enjoy the majesty and beauty of nature as well as the God given talents of great entertainers and musicians. It is as if they get an incredible energy from their surroundings. Almost invariably, people walk back to the train saying “this was really special.” One person referred to it as mental soul food.
Peter Yarrow (of Peter Paul and Mary) was a great example of this. Ann Hills and Don Richmond performed a few songs to open, so Peter sat in the audience with the passengers to watch the show! Later, during his set, he invited the entire audience to come up on stage with him as everyone sang “Puff the Magic Dragon” and “This Land is Your Land.” In fact, almost his entire concert set was made up of audience requests. Someone said it was a Zen like experience.
There is a reason why so many people coming to Mountain Rails Live have been here before. In particular, Diamond Class, our best kept secret, almost always has a handful of passengers that have ridden before. It is a combination of history, intimacy, good food and service, often the opportunity to meet and chat with the artists, participate in a jam session, frequently chat with the President of the railroad, and have your favorite beverage while you sing along to old familiar favorites . It seems to be a hard thing to do just once. While the train stops in Fort Garland, most people in Diamond Class prefer to board an Alamosa and enjoy the entire experience. One time during an announcement that stated “If you got on at Fort Garland, this is where you get off” , a passenger was heard to exclaim “I’m NEVER getting off this train!”.