Over the weekend, Lotus returned to Colorado for a performance at the Boulder Theatre on Friday ahead of their annual pilgrimage to Red Rocks Amphitheatre on Saturday night. Across the two performances, Lotus was in truly proper form, offering fans a chance to experience the group at their finest. On Friday night, the band put on an outstanding sold-out show in Boulder with a focus on older songs from their catalog and cross-song jamming, while Saturday saw an energized and crowd-pleasing performance at one of the most iconic venue’s in the country with support from Nosaj Thing and Com Truise that effectively eclipsed Lotus’ past Red Rocks shows in recent years.
For old-school fans of the group, Lotus’ show at the Boulder Theatre was the hands-down highlight of the weekend. With Red Rocks the following night, Friday’s show was already poised to be a strong performance—the band could vary the setlist away from songs that are more “Red Rocks friendly” with appeal across a larger audience, plus the group tends to thrive during more their more intimate shows. Almost as if they were using Boulder’s show as a thank-you to their dedicated fans, Lotus laid out a throwback show for the ages, putting on a truly stellar show at the 850-person venue.
At the start of the show, a long line to get into the sold-out theatre still wrapped around the block. As fans trickled in, Lotus came out with a non-stop opening combination of “L’immeuble”, “Lucid Awakening”, and “Drunken Giraffe”. Keeping things jazzy and loose, the three songs are all well-loved older tunes, with “Drunken Giraffe” making an appearance on 2006’s The Strength Of Weak Ties. This set opener would also come to be indicative of the rest of the show. Across the performance, Lotus chose to forego performing tracks from their most recent albums, instead, mostly playing songs that were first debuted during the early to mid-2000’s.
After a brief pause, Lotus started in on a fast-paced “Contagion,” which eventually moved through a trancey transition back into “Lucid Awakening”, which was built into a climactic and shred-heavy peak. “Caywood” off 2003’s Germination was up next, showcasing some of the finest that Lotus has to offer with its beautiful and harmonic guitar riffs. From there, the group laid into the heavier, funk-infused “Blender” before performing “Bug Love”, a smooth new tune that was debuted during Lotus’ festival, Summer Dance, over Labor Day Weekend. Finally, to close out the first set of the weekend, Lotus hyped up the audience with “Age Of Inexperience,” which saw the rhythm section lead the song into a super heavy bridge before accelerating through to the song’s close.
[Video: Matt Huston]
Coming back after set break, Lotus opened set two with “Giffard’s Airship”, a laid-back and spacious number from the group’s famed Space Disco set around Halloween of 2016. The syncopated “Blue Giant” off The Strength Of Weak Ties and the funk-flavored “Philly Hit” came next before a jammy segment that ran through “Comptroller”, “In The Bliss”, and “Juggernaut”. To round out the second set, Lotus went deep on a rendition of the mellow and smooth “Kalea” before closing out the set by peaking the energy with “Suitcases” off 2004’s Nomad. Following the set’s close, the Boulder Theatre was thunderous with applause before the group returned with an encore of “Invincibility of Youth” and a cover of Shuggie Otis’ “Strawberry Letter 23.”
Setlist: Lotus | Boulder Theatre | Boulder, CO | 9/15/2017
Set One: L’immeuble > Lucid Awakening > Drunken Giraffe, Contagion > Lucid Awakening, Caywood, Blender, Bug Love, Age Of Inexperience
Set Two: Gifford’s Airship, Blue Giant, Philly Hit > Comptroller > Into The Bliss > Jugg, Kalea, Suitcases
Encore: Invincibility Of Youth, Strawberry Letter 23
With the crowd-pleasing instant classic Boulder show behind them, Lotus set their sights on Red Rocks Amphitheatre the next night. Both Com Truise and Nosaj Thing served as more laidback electronic openers, which ultimately highlighted the energy that Lotus brought to their headlining performance. In past years, Lotus has welcomed guests to join them during their Red Rocks shows, such as during their Talking Heads tribute set in 2014 and last year’s show that featured a number of guest vocalists from Eat The Light, though this year was a welcome change with the group offering up two sets of straight Lotus sans guests.
Off the bat, Nomad‘s jubilant “Spiritualize” got the show started on the right foot. The group encountered some technical difficulties after moving into “Neon Tubes”—Luke Miller’s keyboard was malfunctioning and the band bailed on the song after just a few moments. Instead, Luke switched over to guitar and the band dropped into “Opo”, giving techs a chance to get his keyboard back in order before they built the song into a frenzy and then segued into “Flower Sermon,” with Chuck Morris’ pseudo-xylophone solo being one of the highlights of the set ahead of a drop into a galloping accelerated jam to close out the number. The only song off their new album that was played during the weekend, the feel-good “When Our Nerves No Longer Twitch,” followed, before “In An Outline” and a set-closing and heavy “Greet The Mind.”
Coming back after set break with an energetic and bubbly “Wax”, Lotus then moved into “Faceblind”, another new song that was debuted at Summer Dance this year, which features a propulsive and tight groove and characteristically pristine guitar work from Mike Rempel. Following this new song, a spacious “Arupa” eventually made a triumphant transition into the fan-favorite “Umbilical Moonrise”, which showcased Rempel at his finest. Coming out of “Umbilical Moonrise”, the group changed their tone, opting for a heavier sound with a cover of Ratatat’s “Cream On Chrome”. To close things out, the band moved back into their more traditional sound with “Bubonic Tonic,” which saw Luke adding vocals via a talkbox. The high-octane jam of “Bubonic Tonic” eventually led into a soaring rendition of “Gilded Age” to close things out, with this song serving as an unexpected show closer as the group was coming up fast on the strict midnight curfew and didn’t have time to get into an encore.
Setlist: Lotus | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Morrison, CO | 9/16/2017
Set One: Spiritualize, Neon Tubes, Opo > Flower Sermon, When Our Nerves No Longer Twitch, In An Outline, Greet The Mind
Set Two: Wax, Faceblind, Arupa > Umbilical Moonrise, Cream On Chrome, Bubonic Tonic > Gilded Age
You can check out photos from both nights of Lotus’ Colorado run below, courtesy of Ali Baker.
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