Yumi Hwang Williams, who performs with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. (Lone Tree Arts Center/CSO)

Opinion: Trying to get on VIP list to hear CSO cover “Weed Got Me Crazy”

I spent much of the past week in a comfortable patio chair beneath a big umbrella, rump sinking into the thick seat cushion, a fat unlit doobie of Train Wreck marijuana clenched between two fingers of my right hand. In the other hand was my cellphone.

When people stopped by, I told them I was waiting for a call from the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and a VIP invitation to one of those bring-your-own-weed concerts in Denver that we’ve heard so much about.

Sadly, on the fourth day, the Home Depot security people told me I was frightening other customers, was no longer welcome in the outdoor furniture department, and couldn’t come back anymore.

The point, I think, is I really want to be on the list of VIP guests for one of the symphony/pot concerts at Space Gallery, a 4,000-square-foot venue in the arts district. The building has “stunning architectural elements,” “three distinct spaces” and, I hope, some of those “Everglades boat fans” to suck out all the pot smoke.

The story began to unfold last month. From the April 29 Denver Post: “The cultural revolution that is making marijuana part of everyday Denver life conquered another established front as the Colorado Symphony Orchestra announced a series of performances sponsored by the cannabis industry.”

(As a quick aside, I struggle to see the dude at my pot shop with the metal thing through his nose and a skateboard under his arm, bloodshot eyes glancing at my driver’s license, as an “industry.”)

Anyway, we’re told the symphony concerts will have a $75 admission fee, and I immediately had the same thought many of you probably had: Seventy-five bucks seems reasonable for a chance to listen to a really stoned concert harpist wildly plucking the Tupac classic, “Weed Got Me Crazy.”

Other views: Like it or not, CSO must abide by Amendment 64, writes Denver Post Editorial Page Editor Vincent Carroll

And I’m no symphony expert, but if the bassoon player has never stuffed a handful of White Rhino into his bong-like instrument and fired it up, well, I’m not sure you can even call him a musician.

The original concert plans, however, were stomped out by Denver officials, who pointed out that marijuana-legalizing Amendment 64 doesn’t allow for weed to be smoked “openly or publicly.”

From a recent Post editorial: “To comply with the city’s objections, the (Colorado Symphony) has agreed that ‘no reservations will be accepted from the general public’ and that tickets will go to ‘a closed list of VIP guests’ who are invited by the concert’s promoter, Edible Events.” That would make it legal.

I’m not sure how you get on the VIP list, but I’m guessing that wearing roach clips as earrings and standing on a Denver street corner staring at a streetlight for 45 minutes would give you some kind of advantage.

So the concerts at Space Gallery are back on. Weed smoking will be allowed only on what has been described as an “enclosed outdoor patio,” whatever that is.

Then it’s back inside at the Space Gallery, where the lucky VIPs will listen to what the Colorado symphony calls a “themed program of classical music.” Although there could be some other music, too. (Insiders say the highlight will come midway through the Jimi Hendrix mega-hit “Purple Haze” when three cellos burst into flames.)

The original plan also called for a possible world-ending symphony performance and pot-smoking festival at the incomparable Red Rocks Amphitheatre, but that idea has apparently died because, officials said, “Marijuana use is technically illegal at Red Rocks … .”


And “Weed Got Me Crazy” is about a guy in the suburbs fighting dandelions and musk thistle in his lawn.

Contact Rich Tosches (especially with VIP tickets) at richtosches@gmail.com.

Follow all the on-off-on-again drama surrounding the CSO’s fundraising partnership with the cannabis industry
Conan: “The orchestra will be playing Beethoven’s 420 Symphony” (video)

This story was first published on DenverPost.com