The Red Hot Fourth has a new home. This year, the annual July party will be held at the new USANA Amphitheater in West Valley, after five years at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
"It was too difficult for us to turn a sports stadium into a music/firework venue every year," said Bryce Jolley, Red Hot Fourth executive producer. "We were contacted by United Concerts, and they informed us of the new amphitheater and asked if we'd be interested in setting up there, and we jumped at the chance."
In addition to the change of venue, the Red Hot Fourth has added an extra day July 3. "We decided to do two days of music and fireworks," said Jolley. "The Beach Boys and the Beatles tribute band Imagine will perform on Thursday. Then the Rockin' Roadhouse Tour, featuring Joe Diffie, Mark Chesnutt and Tracy Lawrence will headline on Friday. Also, during the fireworks on Friday, the Utah Symphony will play live. The fireworks on Thursday will be shot off to recorded music.
"We wanted to give the audience a diverse show on both nights. And we have the Utah Symphony this year. They have been performing the Fourth of July at Sugarhouse Park in the past. But they needed a change, so they worked with us this year."
The Beach Boys' Mike Love is familiar with Fourth of July celebrations along the Wasatch Front. In addition to Provo's Stadium of Fire and the Hot Rockin' Fourth in Ogden, the Beach Boys have also played the Red Hot Fourth. In fact, the band played the first Red Hot Fourth in 1999.
"I remember how great the audience was," Love said during a telephone interview from a hotel just outside Los Angeles. "We've been to Utah so many times, and each time the audience has been wonderful."
The Beach Boys' songs, said Love, contain something for everyone. "It doesn't matter if you're older or younger. The band wrote songs about growing up. Most everyone at one point of their life learns how to drive. They go through first loves and they party. That's what most of our songs are about.
"We do have songs that are introspective and moody. Those songs such as "In My Room" touch another nerve, because people go through those types of feelings.
"And tying the lyrics together is the music. And even for us the music is complex. We have to pay attention while performing. But the music is catchy enough to draw the listener in."
Love said throughout the group's 30-year career, he has never thought of his job as a chore. In fact, he gets his energy from the audience. "We started off singing church songs at a Presbyterian church in Hawthorne (Calif.), and wound up singing songs about summer, beaches, cars and girls," he said with a laugh. "And when we start singing 'Barbara Ann' or 'Fun Fun Fun,' the audience sings along, and that's a great feeling."
Dave McKay, marketing director for United Concerts, said the USANA Amphitheater is on schedule and will be completed by the time the Beach Boys go onstage.
"We broke ground on Oct. 22," McKay said. "And the contractors have been working hard to get the venue finished. While the construction will be completed for the opening show, we will probably be tweaking the place up the rest of the year."
Jolley said the fireworks will be geared toward amphitheater patrons. "There will be some set off like those set off in the Delta Center during a Jazz game. But there will also be some set off around the amphitheater, but done in a way that we won't entertain the valley."While this year marks the first Red Hot Fourth at USANA, Jolley would like the event to be held at USANA in the future. "We're seeing how this will work out this year. And if it goes well, I'd love to do it again and again and again."
Red Hot Fourth
Where: USANA Amphitheater, 5400 S. 6200 West
When: 8 p.m. Thursday: Beach Boys and Imagine; 8 p.m. Friday: Utah Symphony, and the Rockin' Roadhouse with Joe Diffie, Tracy Lawrence and Mark Chesnutt
How much: $24 reserved, $12.50 for lawn seating (separate admission charged for each night)
Phone: 467-8499 or 1-800-888-8499Web: www.smithstix.com