Daily Archives: March 17, 2017

Elton John taps into the fountain of youth in Colorado Springs

A few miles south, on stage at the Broadmoor World Arena, he was a glam deity. But most of the time, all you can do is bang on the invisible ivories, like the night’s ASL translators during so many of Elton’s forte solos. Though an Elton John tour needs no reason, he does have new songs, which he shuffled in throughout the hits. They, like him, were living up their sunset years. But it was nothing that the subsequent transition into “Rocket Man” couldn’t blast away. When we see an artist live, we want the frozen-in-amber image from decades prior stuck in our minds to come to life as we remember it. For example, clad in ruby dress shoes and a cutaway suit coat emblazoned with red rhinestones in the shape of a rose, Elton John would have been an odd sight in downtown Colorado Springs. As in all other cases, context should matter. Some artists go to great lengths to make that so. On Thursday, he mostly kept to his bench, standing from his inky Yamaha between numbers to join his five-piece band in cheering on the capacity crowd at the ~8,000-person arena. Bob Dylan, for example, has not held up well in the latter stages of his so-called Never Ending Tour, no matter what his fanatic following might tell you. While John’s shows were never overly aerobic, he did used to do a decent share of romping around the stage between songs back in the day. Accordingly, John made good with hits like “Your Song” and “Crocodile Rock” for each of his modern digressions. Clad in a vintage tour jacket, a man ten rows behind John air-piano’d the jabbing interludes of “Bennie and the Jets.” A few rows behind him, two women spent much of the show trying to get John’s attention, waving maniacally when they weren’t hand-dancing through their favorite songs, like a massive late-set rendition of “Levon.”
As it turns out, aside from “Tiny Dancer,” it’s not easy to cut a rug to Elton John’s jaunty pop ballads. The songs are great for tapping out rhythms on your steering wheel during road trips, and falsetto-ing along to as you see out last call. Yes, even in 2017, a mere nine days away from his 70th birthday. But that didn’t stop scores of largely retirement-age fans from giving John a standing ovation between nearly every song. “I’ve been touring since 1969 as Elton John, and there’s been one constant thing since then, and that’s you guys out there,” he said after tearing through “Burn Down the Mission.” “When we go home, we’ll be talking about you. You give us adrenaline.”
The crowd roared back. (Tina Hagerling, The Know)

So often, we demand that our pop music legends remain timeless. These songs, John understands, are why he was where he was, in the enviable position of still selling out arenas nearly 50 years into his career. If its adrenaline was what has kept him such fine form, on Thursday, it flowed both ways. But performers (and performances) crack and crumble with age. Later in the evening, he even trotted out a rare rendition of “Have Mercy on the Criminal,” which put his somewhat diminished vocal range to a test, which after all these years, he passed with flair. Elton John performing at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs on March 16th, 2017. Here, the crowd was less smitten, sitting out numbers like “A Good Heart.” John called it his favorite off his latest (and 32nd) album, “Wonderful Crazy Night,” which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the record: The cheesy track threatened to cast a wet velvet blanket over the night.

Say it ain’t so: Denver’s Riot Fest isn’t happening in 2017

before being forced to relocate to the parking lot of Denver’s Sports Authority Field. That goes double in Denver, a city with noise-sensitive residential areas encroaching on the few available grounds able to host tens of thousands of fans and dozens of bands. This September will see our 13th Riot Fest in Chicago and we are very excited to share another year here with you. To all of our friends in Denver, we love you and we appreciate you making us feel at home in your amazing city. We can never thank you enough for embracing us as you did, and we hope to see as many of you as possible in Chicago this September! In 2015, the festival landed in the National Western Complex, where it seemed to find its stride. For the past four years, Chicago-based circus-themed rock and rap festival Riot Fest had faced those quirks in stride. Riot Mike’s partner, Sean, was a fearless leader who worked tirelessly to plan, organize and execute the production of our festivals each year. To all of our Fans and Patrons,
First and foremost, thank you for your support, loyalty, and enthusiasm regarding Riot Fest’s endeavors – you are the lifeblood that keeps us going! (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)
Throwing a music festival is hard. While Denver will go without Riot Fest and its wonderfully bizarre sideshows this year, the festival could return in the future. Riot Fest has had a resilient if rocky existence in Colorado since it came here in 2013. We appreciate your continued support & can’t wait to unveil the Riot Fest 2017 lineup, so stay tuned! To our Chicago perennials and all who have or will travel to the fest – we owe it to Sean to throw the absolute best festival we can and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Fans at day two of Riot Fest Denver in 2015. “To all of our friends in Denver, we love you and we appreciate you making us feel at home in your amazing city,” the release continued. It first set up in the town of Byers, Colo. That said, we hope our absence from Denver is only temporary. The release and a representative from the festival indicated it would like to return to Denver at some point. Following the death of Sean McKeough, one of the festival’s lead organizers, Riot Fest has decided to forgo its Denver event in 2017 to focus solely on its Chicago festival. It saddens us to say, however, that we will not be able to return to Denver in 2017. Last year, it staged the first show by seminal punk band the Misfits in 33 years, nothing short of a music industry miracle. “Without Sean’s massive contributions, taking on more than one festival this year is, unfortunately, simply not possible,” the event stated in a release. As many of you know, the Riot Fest family lost one of its leaders late last year: our beloved Sean McKeough. Without Sean’s massive contributions, taking on more than one festival this year is, unfortunately, simply not possible. Alas, Riot Fest will not mark its fifth anniversary in Denver in 2017. Hope to see you in Chicago! He was an integral part of our team and it has been difficult to envision a Riot Fest without him. (That said, we didn’t always agree with the festival’s booking.)
Regardless of how the lineups hit you, the festival represented a hope that a large music festival could survive in Denver, despite repeated evidence to the contrary. “We can never thank you enough for embracing us as you did, and we hope to see as many of you as possible in Chicago this September!”
Read Riot Fest’s full statement on the decision below.