Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas played a crowd-pleasing set at Jazz Aspen Snowmass that departed from the heritage rockers’ previous sets. Photos by Lewis Cooper.
Aging rockers and electrifying hip-hop made odd bedfellows on Labor Day weekend at Jazz Aspen Snowmass, the three-day summer-closing music festival set at the base of Snowmass Village. Performances over the weekend were uniformly strong, but the truth is even mediocre performances might get a pass given the spectacular mountain views and the relaxed vibe.
We missed the Friday night performance by Michael Franti and Spearhead, which got rave reviews from fans who made the show. We showed up mainly to catch Elvis Costello and the Impostors on Saturday night. The only slight disappointments were a mix that at times drowned out the vocals, Costello’s slightly ragged voice and that he didn’t play longer.
He ripped into a set that featured some newer tunes, but plenty from his older catalog, including from his debut “My Aim Is True” album, such as “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes” and “Watching the Detectives.” He charged through a 90-minute show that also included favorites “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea,” “Everyday I Write the Book,” “Radio Radio,” “High Fidelity,” frequently extended with long jams. Give Costello credit that even at 55 and looking every bit his age he didn’t back down from screaming guitar solos and wailing vocals.
As is often the case at festivals, the crowd spent a lot of the set talking and paying little attention to the stage until the nearly half-hour encore that include “Alison,” “Pump It Up” and “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding.”
The Black Eyed Peas could hardly have been a more abrupt change of tone, but it was a transition that got the crowd pumped up and on its feet for much of the group’s nearly two-hour set. The started off with the ubiquitous “Let’s Get It Started.” Forgive, will.i.am, Taboo and apl.de.ap hurtled through their set in a nonstop rush that was the hit of the weekend.