The first time I came to Aspen as an “adult” was for the X Games. It was a long time ago while I was a student at the University of Colorado (go Buffs!), and because of that first interaction, which was followed up by many similar interactions with Aspen, I have always loved the Extreme Games while tolerating their shortcomings and rarely indulging in them.
After falling into some passes this year, I found myself at the frigid base of Buttermilk on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Thursday night was probably the highlight, when hometown hero Alex Ferreira won his first X Games gold in the Great Cuts-themed SuperPipe (I guess they think the athletes need hair cuts). I knew Thursday night would be tough to beat, but I went back the next two nights because Lil Wayne and The Chainsmokers were playing, and they both have large followings, and I wanted to see what all the hype was about.
I thought about going to Louis the Child, but their name sounds like an indie movie (one that I would probably like), and I just didn’t have time. I considered Kygo but decided against it because I was pretty sure I wouldn’t see much more than someone pressing play and then, with their hand in the air, tapping time with the beat.
To my surprise, Lil Wayne showed up with a full band on Friday night, and they were ready to play a ton of songs. Most of them are pretty short and Lil Wayne only has to perform his part of the song, so they go by fast. The band’s production quality was high, and the beats and the melody were on point; clearly Lil Wayne is working with the best in the business. He paced the front of the stage, hunched over and rapping while a whole generation of concertgoers looked on in awe.
I wanted to love it, but I just can’t understand the appeal of Lil Wayne as a lyricist. I am in the minority, and last Friday night I was probably the only one there who didn’t understand. Those kids in the crowd loved everything they heard (especially the vulgar phrasing) and sang along to every lyric, rapped in the same style and stanza, and it hardly ever rhymed. I don’t understand how they can memorize those lyrics, which seem nonsensical, but I guess those songs are important.
The Chainsmokers have been a staple at X Games these past few years, and I felt I had to see them, not knowing much about them or how their show would go. The only thing I knew for sure was that they would be playing their song with the lyric “mattress that you stole from your roommate back in Boulder,” a song I have since learned is called “Closer.”
The Chainsmokers are an EDM-pop duo from New York who play teeny-bopper pop music, comprised of a DJ and a singer. Their fans are enamored by essentially everything they do while they mash up classics and new releases with their own music. I was taken aback when the crowd got excited to hear the “Lion King” theme song. The Chainsmokers also pressed play on Coldplay, deadmau5 and (in a move I was surprised by) “Zombie” by The Cranberries.
After asking if anyone in the audience was from Boulder, they played their headlining song, “Closer,” but I don’t think they were asking me. As the concert ended, the Chainsmokers belted out “From your roommate back in Boulder; we ain’t ever getting older” to a crowd that sang along with them, while I thought, “I am getting older,” but I didn’t say it out loud.
John Zelazny ain’t ever getting older. He appreciates your comments at email@example.com.