Illenium rewrites the history books with ‘Trilogy: Colorado’: Full Review
This past weekend Illenium cemented himself in music history once again and set records not just personally but for the entire American electronic industry as he presented, ‘Trilogy: Colorado’ in Denver.
Every so often, an artist comes into this world that completely makes you see things differently after listening to their music. Their lyrics, melodies, shows, persona and everything in between not only inspire you but, in a certain way, transforms who you are and make you dream big. After Saturday night in Denver, Colorado, it is no debate that Illenium is now in that elite pantheon of artists. Almost a year after its initial announcement, Illenium presented the second iteration of his ‘Trilogy’ show, ‘Trilogy: Colorado,’ at Empower Field in Mile High Stadium this past weekend and in front of America’s largest crowd for an EDM headliner ever, he put on what is without a doubt, the greatest show of his career and arguably overall the single most iconic American electronic event in history.
After the overwhelming success of the inaugural ‘Trilogy’ show in Vegas in 2021, fans demanded that the Colorado native continue the format for years to come. The industry had not seen anything quite like it at the time, with a headliner playing three separate sets in one night, it was an idea that could only be executed by the best, and Illenium pulled it off flawlessly and quite arguably changed the American electronic scene after that night. With the initial idea being a send-off for his first three albums, ‘Ashes,’ ‘Awake’ and ‘Ascend,’ ‘Trilogy’ was an event that welcomed the new era of Illenium’s career. However, the idea of the ‘Trilogy’ experience showed that it could be even bigger than just a standalone event and thus was born ‘Trilogy: Colorado.’
This time Illenium was tasked with finding a new way to make ‘Trilogy: Colorado’ even grander than the first, something that is much easier said than done. However, that is exactly what happened. Everything about this second edition was better than the last. Coming in with incredibly high expectations, it would be hard for anybody to live up to the hype, but Illenium did just that and then some. Being in the crowd, the moment the music started, it wasn’t hard to tell the production value was on a whole other level than any Illenium show prior.
But even before the gates to Mile High opened, you could feel a special type of energy surrounding the area as tens of thousands of fans gathered in the stadium’s plaza for a pre-show tailgate where they shared their passion for the melodic bass icon and get ready for one of the biggest nights in dance music history. It was obvious early on that this event was going to have the opportunity to break records before the night was over.
Once the doors officially opened, attendees ventured across the stadium to find the best view possible before the show started. Before Illenium began, the crowd was greeted with a special opening set from William Black and Blanke going back to back as William Blanke. If their set had any indication of how the night would go, you knew there was a legendary experience awaiting. With a mix of melodic bass, dubstep, trap and even drum n’ bass and both original songs from Black and Blanke, William Blanke could easily be a headlining show of its own and will be no surprise if it is something we see more of in the future. But the time had officially come for the start of the ‘Trilogy’ experience.
With a stadium full of 50,000 screaming fans, Illenium walked through a pathway in the crowd and up to his first position to begin the opening set of the night. In a callback from ‘Trilogy: Vegas,’ he started in the round on an elevated platform overlooking those on the floor, exactly as he did two years ago. However, the production surrounding it was on a much larger scale. As he began the hour-long set that mixed together his first two albums, ‘Ashes’ and ‘Awake,’ Illenium transported fans that have followed him since the beginning back to a time of euphoric nostalgia. Featuring tracks such as “Afterlife,” “Fortress,” “Sleepwalker,” “Beautiful Creatures,” “Where’d U Go,” and ultimately, the song that transcended him into the spotlight, “Fractures.”
It was honestly awe-inspiring to see how much he had the crowd hanging on every moment of that first set. Illenium had everyone in the palm of his hand and ready to go along wherever he decided to take them. As you glanced up at the crowd in the stands across the stadium, there was not a single person who stood still. The timing couldn’t have been better. As the sun began to creep lower and lower, the moment called for a more melodic and vibey set that fit picture-perfect with the identity of the first two albums. Those who got to relive this part of Illenium’s career understand how special the occasion was. Then came time for the second performance of the night as Illenium disappeared underneath the platform to head to the stage.
After a thirty-minute set change, the time had come for Illenium to finally take the stage to play the second show of ‘Trilogy: Colorado’ that would blend the sounds of his third album ‘Ascend’ and Grammy-nominated fourth album ‘Fallen Embers.’ From the intro, it was apparent that we were now in the more aggressive part of the night. The stage began to come to life with the massive LED wall behind the DJ table combined with the multitude of lights around the stage and, even more impressively, the pyro towers that were placed throughout the crowd on the floor.
With a 75-minute set full of hard-hitting dubstep, melodic bass and even a drone display towards the end, Illenium ripped through what many consider his best two bodies of work as he played tracks such as “Blame Myself,” “Lay It Down,” “Hearts on Fire,” and “Gold (Stupid Love)” with a guest appearance from Dabin followed by “Take You Down” and “Sideways.” But, what was arguably the highlight of the night and the biggest guest appearance of the event is when Illenium brought The Chainsmokers and Carlie Hanson up on stage to premiere their new song “See You Again,” followed by their global hit “Takeaway.”
Lastly, as the night set in Illenium closed his second set with the highly loved “Good Things Fall Apart” and “Sad Songs” outro. What has been a staple in the Illenium performance for years, and for good reason, felt like it was getting one last proper send-off before Illenium introduced the newest era of his career.
It’s safe to say that the final set was the one most were looking forward to as Illenium was bringing his new live tour show ‘ILLENIUM LIVE’ to ‘Trilogy: Colorado’ in a full 90-minute setting. This would be the first opportunity for many to see the performance that had been teased about for months now with an entirely new stage design and music. And it did not disappoint.
As Illenium had mentioned, the entire show sounded absolutely breathtaking and of a higher quality than anything before. With a full band including familiar faces and long-time friends of Illenium in SaidTheSky and Annika Wells, the set was by far the best of the night, which was already an incredibly high bar to achieve. The live elements (keys, electric guitars, drums, violin, etc.) coupled with the rock identity of ‘ILLENIUM’ brought a new life to the album that is hard to describe unless you hear in person for yourself. Not just the sound, but everything about the show was a step up from the other sets, the lights, lasers, visuals and pyro.
The audience got to witness new tracks such as “Luv Me A Little,” “All That Really Matters,” “Starfall” and “Other Side” in the largest setting possible. More dubstep, Drum n’ Bass, melodic bass and even pop-punk ensued as the night began to wind down on ‘Trilogy: Colorado.’ As the final song approached, it was time to show the crowd of now nearly 60,000 the new outro. With a mashup of “Nightlight,” “Sad Songs” and “From The Ashes,” the band, one by one, came back out to join both Annika Wells and Vera Blue, who led with vocals.
You could hear a pin drop as everyone from the front to the back was in awe of what they were witnessing. This was more than just another outro. Just like in Vegas, this final moment felt as if it was an accumulation of a decade of work from Illenium to get to where he is now. However, it was also another realization of just how far the American electronic scene has come in the past 12 years. Looking around during those final moments it’s crazy to think that the reality of one man playing electronic music while packing out a football stadium was happening. That idea seemed impossible just even six years ago. But no more.
Illenium put on the best performance of his life during those three sets and showed that he now has to be considered one of the top artists in this industry, not just in America but worldwide. There are very few capable of pulling off what he did, and that can not go understated. Becoming the largest headlining EDM show in American history is no accident.
‘Trilogy: Colorado’ was the biggest milestone for Illenium’s career so far, but it was also the biggest milestone for electronic music in the United States. After Saturday, you can no longer deny the presence and impact of this culture in America. What was once in the shadows is now in the forefront, and events such as ‘Trilogy: Colorado’ prove that, and ‘Trilogy: Los Angeles’ in February will solidify it even more by breaking new records.
It’s no question that the Phoenix is shining as bright as it ever has before.
Check out the entire Illenium ‘Trilogy: Colorado’ livestream below. Purchase tickets to the ‘ILLENIUM LIVE’ tour here.
Featured Image Credit: Rukes.com