Last night’s highly anticipated Illenium show, part of the EDM producer’s live Ascend tour, was definitely one for the books.
The Saturday night show had a prompt midnight end-time, so fans of the Denver-based artist flocked downtown nice and early to ensure a great spot inside the venue. Once inside, you could easily mistake the crowd for that of a Twins game. It was a sea of baseball jerseys emblazoned with Illenium’s signature phoenix logo. Lines at the merch booth were a mess of people clamoring to get their hands on the Ascend tour jersey and other exclusive tour merchandise.
William Black began the night with a vibrant display of futuristic visuals, showcasing his recently released album, Pages. The Armory was already practically full as the future bass DJ gave his high-energy performance.
Next up was Dabin. He also released an album in 2019, Wild Youth, which has amassed him a huge following of “sadboi” fans. The crowd went wild as Dabin shredded his guitar along to his beautiful, melodic bass music.
Concert-goers were delighted when Dabin brought out fellow sadboi Said the Sky to play their newest collaboration, “Hero.”
After a brief intermission, it was finally time for the headlining act. As the lights dimmed and the first chords of Illenium’s intro played, the crowd shrieked and cheered.
To say that this show blew me away is an understatement. There was never a dull moment as the stage filled with sparkling fireworks and bursting pyrotechnics. Multiple confetti blasts erupted; the lasers colliding with confetti in the air to create a sparkling effect.
Not only were the lights, production, and visuals top-notch, but the music was as well. He played every song from his latest album, Ascend, and the crowd sang along to each word. When he sprinkled in hits from his previous albums, everyone sang even louder. The ground of the Armory quite literally shook with the beat. As a frequent attendee of EDM shows, I’ve never experienced anything quite like it.
Throughout the show, singer Annika Wells joined the band on stage to sing some of Illenium’s hits, like my personal favorite, “Sad Songs.” It is so fun to watch the energy shared between all of the artists on stage throughout the performance. Said the Sky on piano, Day Gatsby on drums, and Dabin on guitar make the perfect combination for an electronic boy band.
Illenium made it very clear how much he loves and appreciates playing shows in the Twin Cities. He will even be playing a “throwback” set full of old remixes and songs at Skyway Theater on Monday, 11/11 (tickets here). Hopefully, we’ll see him and his gang of sadbois back again soon after that!