KAYTRANADA Reinvigorates Red Rocks

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Yes, it’s true — concerts post COVID aren’t quite the same. It’s a warped reality, in comparison to over a year ago. The mask and social distancing policies can put a damper on the experience, but with the absence of live shows for so long, who’s going to be bothered by a few new rules or raindrops? KAYTRANADA’s performance was something to remember and won’t be forgotten anytime soon by those who were lucky enough to attend.

Despite the updates and new rules, fans showed no problems adjusting to the temporary guidelines. In fact, these COVID shows are something special. With capacity limited to 2,500 from the maximum capacity of 9,500, the event solicited a more intimate setting. The ascending steps and closed-off aisles created the illusion of a filled venue. In reality, there was no shortage of elbow room.

Sango, live concerts, KAYTRANADA

Sango. Photo by Kiddest Metaferia.

This change — although unasked for, is better to embrace than to reject. We could complain all day about how concerts used to be, but it’s best to move forward than to look back. Sango, who started the night off, believes, “change is the first thing we as humans  — either love or hate, there isn’t a middle,” he states on his webpage, “I took a side and I love change. It challenges me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.”

Check out our 2016 review of KAYTRANADA at the Ogden Theatre

The same could be applied for all of us getting back into the live music scene — as fans, performers or staff. We’re in a constant state of adaption this year, but it’s performances like these that remind us of what’s waiting. Sango’s set and influence perfectly characterized the situation we find ourselves in. Everyone attending knew the night could go one way or the other from the clouds above. Most weather apps proclaimed a near 50 percent chance of rain, leaving fans with a sense of uncertainty as to how the night would proceed.

As Coloradans are well aware though, weather uncertainty isn’t an uncertainty at all. This was not amateur hour. Once the beats and the water dropped, the real show began. Sango’s mentality would manifest in our reality. Do we hate the fact it’s raining or do we love the fact we get to see performers again? After all, what’s rain when you have a sweet poncho?

Lou Phelps, live shows, KAYTRANADA

Lou Phelps. Photography by Brandon Johnson

Lou Phelps continued the rain dance party after Sango’s set finished and by then, the uncertainty turned into something almost ritualistic. The limited capacity show felt more so like a large, private event. Like the raindrops that fell individually at first but soon came together as one downpour, the crowd too became one — a singularized heartbeat after a year of speculation surrounding live shows. Phelps, who dazzled the crowd, left them wanting more after previewing tracks yet to be released but soon to come.

Of course, by the time KAYTRANADA appeared, the crowd was soaked — but instead of drowning under the hindrance of rain, the attendees found themselves in a collective baptism. The experience can only be described as an artistic religious ceremony, naturally spawned from our own anticipation and excitement at the return of live shows.

It was a fusion of celestial bodies. The fog from the stage dissipated into the gloomy sky and at one point, one couldn’t tell where the artificial stopped and the natural world began. KAYTRANADA’s show was everything we needed it to be. It was an affirmation that despite the changes in our favorite past times, things will be alright — heck, they might even turn out better than you’re expecting.