X Games Aspen: Kygo’s sunny Sunday
Kygo returned on Sunday to the same X Games time slot he memorably filled in 2016, and the Norwegian DJ brought the same mostly sunny skies and mercifully warm temperatures. Again, he threw a laid-back mountainside dance party attuned to the low-key spirit of the closing hours of X Games. But this time a crowd at least twice as big came out for the show.
Nobody in this sell-out crowd would complain if ESPN signed up Kygo for a residency to play a Sunday afternoon set here every year.
Sunshine broke through the previously overcast sky just before a jubilant Kygo took the stage and opened his buoyant 90-minute set with “Born to be Yours.”
He performed from a console on a story-high platform that placed him in the middle of a massive video screen, situating the 27-year-old EDM superstar in the middle of his production’s animated visuals and concert footage (and allowing everybody on the hillside to see him).
His rapturously received set included his hits like “First Time” and “Sunrise” and live remixes of crowd-pleasers like Zedd’s “The Middle,” Tiesto’s “Jackie Chan” and Avicii’s “Without You.” He broke out his steel drum-infused spin on Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” and a disco mash-up that included Chic’s “La Freak” – these irresistible takes on old jukebox hits tend to near the edge of cheesiness but never quite tip over it. He closed out the set by running through mixes of his new single “Happy Now,” followed by “Stole the Show,” “It Ain’t Me” and then brought out vocalist Justin Jesso to provide live vocals on “Firestone.”
The 27-year-old EDM superstar performed with a beaming smile on his face throughout, counting down to drops and punctuating them with dramatic smoke machine and flamethrower effects from the stage. After spending the last four days skiing in Aspen with his entourage, he was in a soaring mood that matched this crowd’s.
Kygo worked with a basic quiver of ingredients on the set, mostly samples of piano lines and steel drums, with high-register vocal parts, some house synths, some high-BPM pump-ups and some soulful breakdowns. It’s a winning formula.
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The literary nonprofit Aspen Words is restarting its writers-in-residence program that had been on pause during the pandemic. Residents include “Call Me By Your Name” author André Aciman. Public events begin June 15.