Photo by JASON SIEGEL PHOTOGRAPHY (@jsiegelphotography)
Over a week later and I’m still reeling from what GRiZ and his team accomplished at one of the most magical concert venues in the world. The accomplishment? Putting together a two-night run of epic proportions that was vastly different from one night to the next. A slew of talent both musically and visually filled the Red Rocks amphitheater with a crowd that was ready to rage. The shows were announced in March and by the time they concluded on Saturday fans were left dumbfounded. Allow me to try and describe just what made Labor Day Weekend 2017 so special.
Let me start off by saying I’ve seen GRiZ a healthy amount of times all over the country. From Electric Forest to Holy Ship, pop-ups at Movement in Detroit and under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. And that’s not to brag about my exposure to the producer, DJ, and saxophone master – rather it’s to offer the perspective that each time I see him it gets better and better. G-House jams in the forest of Michigan? Check. Smooth, golden-hour jazz-inspired set on the main deck of a massive cruise ship? Check. Main stage sets in front of tens of thousands of people combining Funk and Dubstep? Check. GRiZ is a man of many talents and for all the minds he’s been able to blow, nothing topped what he was able to bring to the table at Red Rocks last weekend.
The thing I was most excited for at GRiZRocks was his live band debut on the first night and it did not disappoint. It appeared GRiZ had a 13 or 14-piece band on stage complete with backup singers, drums AND percussion, horns, guitar, and all the rest. Check out this Instagram post to read GRiZ’s introduction of the band. When you open with “Good Times Roll” and you have a full band playing with all the energy in the world there is absolutely nothing that can bring you down.
The entire two-set performance was filled with top-notch instrumentation and, again, energy. You could really tell the whole band was pumped up in a really big way. The first official full-band performance combined with the “something special” atmosphere that only Red Rocks can offer really put this thing at the top for me. I was into jam bands, jazz, and funk way before I discovered electronic music and this was a fantastic way to combine all those things. We were even treated to a very trippy second set opener that felt like I was watching an STS9 performance.
“Gotta Push On” closed out the night one performance, as can be seen below, and the crowd was in a frenzy. There were differing opinions on the first night – many of the GRiZ diehards wanted something heavier, but many of the “music” fans (people who appreciate good music in general) were head-over-heels in love with the set. I fall into the latter. Big shoutout to GRiZ’s guitarist Muzzy Bearr – you had an epic epic performance my friend!
Night two brought us back to more standard issue GRiZ but that’s not to say there weren’t any surprises. The visuals were extremely on point (see below) with fantastic videos and even laser pyramids that GRiZ and Muzzy Bearr rocked out beneath. For those who wanted a harder set, the second half of the show featured devastating drops and some new material we hadn’t heard before. The crowd was absolutely rocking out and having tons of fun. Toward the end GRiZ went into the audience to perform a piano solo (see below again) and wrapped the show up by featuring a full gospel choir and everyone on stage who performed that night.
When I decided to spend my Labor Day Weekend in Colorado to see GRiZ at Red Rocks I figured I could pass on the opportunity to see him when he returns to my current home of San Francisco in October. After last week’s performance I can’t wait to go see GRiZ again.