ZHU made his grand return to Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre Monday night to kick off his first of six DREAMROCKS shows.
Having just released his latest album, DREAMLAND 2021, the Grammy-nominated electronic music star debuted live a slew of tracks from the new record while also incorporating some classic house bangers.
After a hot-weathered week over the Rocky Mountains, fans around the country had to bundle up for the occasion. Freezing rain and snow fell from the sky throughout the night, lighting up the dark skies that loomed above the legendary open air venue.
Denver-based producer Manic Focus got the chilly Monday night going with his funky hip-hop beats. Emancipator Ensemble drummer Colby Buckler accompanied the producer to add some live percussion to the set, playing through original, multi-genre tracks from his six albums. The crowd grew goosebumps during the hourlong set not only from the frigid weather, but also from the duo’s stellar remix of—you guessed it—Travis Scott’s “Goosebumps.”
A short but energetic 30-minute intermission followed, which included a slideshow of information and photos projected on the LED screen. A QR code for a special free NFT appeared, which, when opened, enabled fans to receive a one-of-a-kind ZHU Red Rocks digital collectible.
ZHU’s silhouette lit up onstage at 9:30PM sharp. The intro to “Good Life” rang through the illuminated stage before the pulsing beat of “I Came For The Low” resonated throughout the venue, setting the tone for a gritty bass extravaganza.
After a run through his popular 2016 track “In The Morning,” ZHU greeted guitarist Mitch Bell, saxophonist Aaron Leibowitz, and drummer Vince Fossett (also known as “V12”) for a special live band performance for the remainder of the night. The 90-minute set saw ZHU drop some of his biggest hits, including “Yours,” “Guilty Love,” and “Desire,” all of which were jazzed up with brisk live instrumentation.
A long-awaited return to Red Rocks wouldn’t be complete without some surprise rock n’ roll teases, as the trio went into the opening of Radiohead’s “Creep,” which perfectly matched up with “Risky Business.” A bass-heavy intro of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” greeted into ZHU’s Nero collaboration “Dreams” for a heavy dubstep rendition.
Drips of sultry saxophone fell over the crowd in the Yuna-assisted DREAMLAND 2021 cut “Sky Is Crying,” setting up the dance-heavy scene for a close-up with ZHU as he came down from his triangular high-top stage to sing “Cocaine Model.” As snow continued to sprinkle down, the energy heated up for a final end to the set with ZHU’s “Working For It,” a fan-favorite party anthem produced in collaboration with Skrillex and THEY.
Roaring cheers heard across the continental divide brought ZHU and the live band back out for a celebratory three-song encore. Just as we thought we couldn’t hear any more of ZHU’s staple hits, he busted into the tech house banger “Zhudio54” from his latest album for a fashion show breakdown in the venue. The familiar beat to his breakout single “Faded” finally arrived, sending the crowd into dancing spirits before he tied a bow on the night with his Tame Impala collaboration, “My Life.”
Check out a photo gallery of Monday night’s show courtesy of Colin McKinley/Alpine Music Photo for EDM.com.
ZHU @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 5/3/2021
Colin McKinley/Alpine Music Photo/EDM.com
ZHU is set to return next weekend to complete his six-night run from May 9th to 11th with partywithray, Punjahbae, and OG Nixin. For more information, visit the Red Rocks website.