This weekend, history was made. On August 8th and 9th, Derek Vincent Smith – better known as Pretty Lights – graced the stage of the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO to present sold out crowds with truly innovative live performances.
Pretty Lights was joined not only by the live band that previously performed alongside him during last year’s Future Analog Tour, but also by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. This eclectic collaboration is the first of its kind to present itself at Red Rocks. It facilitated one of the best live EDM performances of the year – and quite arguably, ever.
Everything from the mild and breezy weather, to the crowd, to the music itself created an environment where the audience was actively engaged in the entire performance. Pretty Lights played three sets a night, with not one song being repeated throughout the weekend. Additionally, the light show – an integral part of the Pretty Lights experience – tastefully added to the aesthetic vibrancy that was so distinct both days.
Having one of the most dedicated fan bases in the EDM community, Pretty Lights drew a very unique crowd. Audience members ranged from teens to grandparents (including Smith’s own), with some kids even being joined by their parents who share the same appreciation for this music. The range in age was very indicative of how Pretty Lights is able to transcend the way electronic music is construed by incorporating entirely different genres into his productions and presenting the sounds in as true of form as possible.
Smith’s strong relationship with his fans was highlighted in full when he walked into the crowd and started taking pictures with the cameras of his audience. There are very few artists – especially ones with accolades such as Grammy nominations – that would be willing to walk into their sold-out crowd and play with their audience for as long as Smith did. The humility that Smith exudes when interacting with his fans only bolsters the dedication they have toward supporting his musical vision, and quite simply, increases the quality of the fan community.
Pretty Lights proved that a relationship between organic and manufactured sound structures is very much possible. The transition from DJ set to a set with a live band, and concluding with a 13-piece orchestra allowed the crowd to ease into the mindset that this wasn’t just an “EDM concert,” but a truly thought out production meant to be emotionally moving. Indulging in the harmony between live orchestral sounds and synthetic beats in a naturally formed outdoor venue was definitely one of the most notable moments in my musical journey and something I’m sure the entire crowd will remember for a lifetime.
Cover photo credit: Krystle Blackburn via www.prettylightsmusic.com
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