Lotus – October 31st – Fillmore Auditorium

Lotus Band

The Scene: Lotus and Late Night Radio brought a fiercely funky mood to the Fillmore Auditorium for the sold-out “Dead Man’s Party” on Halloween. The line to enter the venue meandered around the block as we arrived and it took a few anxious minutes before we got close to the entrance.  The desperation to get inside was highly evident as hoards of zombies showed up seeking entrance to the labyrinth without tickets. As we entered the packed barn, and worked our way through the dark sea of costumed spirits, the atmosphere was vibrant. Donning an animal mask and dancing in neon lights can only be this special on Halloween night.

Colorado is always prepared for the next Lotus show and tonight ‘s atmosphere was similar to the many we have covered at Listen Up Denver through the years. I’ve come to expect professional performances from the band and tonight was a tale of hits and goofy missteps that fit right in when the veil is thinnest. The band performed in John Entwistle esque Skelton garb, recalling memories of The Who bassist who popularized this style of costume on stage in the 1960’s.  The Fillmore crowd was equally silly and ready for a dance party.

Lotus: Lotus took the stage at 9:30 and launched into “128,” unleashing a signature loose Halloween sound from the start. The quintet has steered away from some of their older electronic elements. As a result, the evolution of Lotus burns brighter with age and I think true fans appreciate hearing the chemistry of the group without them being an overwhelming electronic behemoth.

As the crowd continued to filter in from a disappointing line outside, the band zoned into their sound and we witnessed a terrific sequence of “Neon Tubes Pt. I -> Shimmer and Out -> Neon Tubes Pt. II,” putting the crowd on notice for a very good set list to come. Percussionist, Chuck Morris shined on a full gamut “Flower Sermon” and two interesting covers punctuated the set. First, a sneaky tease of The Specials “Ghost Town,” and a fully realized version of Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party” with Gabe Otto on vocals and horns. This didn’t resonate with the crowd and I saw many confused faces but it had me energized and they just had to play this song.

The second set began eerily as the boys broke into The Walking Dead theme to turn the crowds’ attention to the stage once again before the distinctive notes of “Wax” began skittering across the ballroom. This was the best moment of the night and had the sold-out crowd ecstatic. The carefully orchestrated show continued with a cover of John Carpenter’s original  “Halloween Theme” before ending furiously with an extended “Tip of the Tongue,”  “Umbilical Moonrise,” and “Greet the Mind.”

When the first notes of The Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil” poured out from the stage it felt like a supreme choice for an encore, full of interminable promise. Unfortunately, Gabe Otto just didn’t deliver vocally and the song fell totally flat. Fortunately, bassist Jessie Miller poured his heart and soul into “Gilded Age” to close the show and they exited the stage on a relatively high note.

Did Lotus provide us with one of the best shows of the fall concert season? I believe they brought it to that level but the encore that could have been special left lingering disappoint in my head.

Lotus – The Fillmore Auditorium – October 31st
Set I: 128, Neon Tubes Part I > Shimmer and Out > Neon Tubes Part II, What Did I Do Wrong, Sid > Ghost Town* > Flower Sermon > Umbilical Moonset > Flower Sermon, Basin to Benin$, Dead Man’s Party%
Set II: Walking Dead Theme& > Wax, Lead Pipe > Halloween Theme# > In the Bliss > Tip of the Tongue, Arupa > Umbilical Moonrise, Greet the Mind
E: Sympathy for the Devil^, Gilded Age 

*tease of song by The Specials
$ with Andy Smart (trumpet) and Justin Jones (tenor sax)
% Oingo Boingo with Gabe Otto (vocals) and horns
& TV show theme
# John Carpenter film theme
^ Rolling Stones with Gabe and horns

Energy: A-
Musicianship: B+
Sound: A –
Stage Presence: A
Set/Light Show: B+

Overall: B+

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Who Is Jon Cass

I’ve worked various positions in the music industry with Madison House, Rock The Earth and Bohemian Nights. My dream is to travel the world and seek out all the good tunes, beer and food that make life so special. I have a healthy obsession with live music and I’m thrilled to share the epic moments with you.