Jazz Aspen Labor Day Crash Course: What to expect from headliners Weezer, John Mayer, Sting and more
The Jazz Aspen Labor Day Experience is Aspen’s unofficial end-of-summer closing party and, of course, its biggest annual pop music festival. As the caliber of headliners has risen over the past two decades to include the biggest rock stars on Earth, we’ve come to expect that these artists need no introduction. But just in case you need a refresher, or if you’ve been sleeping on Sting and Weezer news of late, here’s what you need to know about the main stage acts coming to Snowmass Town Park over the holiday weekend.
PORTUGAL. THE MAN
Friday, Aug. 30, 6 p.m.
Key Track: “Feel it Still,” 2017
What’s New? Stardom. These indie rock stalwarts were rock club favorites for more than a decade before “Feel It Still” became a global smash, won the band the Grammy for Best Pop Performance and introduced them to millions of new fans.
What to Expect: A guitar-based rock show and singing along to “Feel It Still” with thousands of people.
Friday, Aug. 30, 8 p.m.
Key Track: “Say It Ain’t So,” 1995
What’s New? Covers. After its creative direction was fiercely debated by fans since its era-defining mid-1990s “Blue Album” and “Pinkerton,” Weezer fully embraced pop fan service with 2019 covers album that includes a meme-driven take on “Africa” by Toto, “Take on Me” by a-Ha and “No Scrubs” by TLC, among others.
What to Expect: Good-time covers, way more hit songs than you remember Weezer had and hot takes in the audience from hipster dudes age 35 to 45.
Saturday, Aug. 31, 3 p.m.
Key Track: “Put the Gun Down,” 2012
What’s New? Ward is touring on her 2017 album “The Storm” but always infuses her shows with takes on blues classics from the likes of Son House.
What to Expect: Hip-hop infused blues rock and what might be the sleeper show of the festival.
Saturday, Aug. 31, 5 p.m.
Key Track: “Hurricane,” 2016
What’s New? Combs in early August released “Let’s Just Be Friends” on the soundtrack from “The Angry Birds Movie 2”
What to Expect: Country that rocks in the Chris Stapleton tradition from one of the genre’s newest breakout stars.
Saturday, Aug. 31, 7:30 p.m.
Key Track: “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room,” 2006
What’s New? Performing with Dead & Company. Mayer, the one-time heartthrob pop star, has won over the jam band world and the living members of the Grateful Dead with four years of tours.
What to Expect: Shredding. Yes, Mayer has massive hits new and old, but bottom line is he may be the best guitarist of his generation and his live shows are a showcase for that virtuosity.
Sunday, Sept. 1, 3 p.m.
Key Track: “Bubba Slide,” 2014
What’s New? “Afterlife Vol. 2,” an EP released in July.
What to Expect: A funk and disco dance party, color-coordinated costumes and a jolt of energy to start the festival’s final day.
Sunday, Sept. 1, 5 p.m.
Key Track: “Best Part,” 2017
What’s New? The single “21,” released in July.
What to Expect: A performance that, years from now, you’ll brag about having seen. H.E.R. won two Grammys earlier this year, at age 21, and is becoming the next major American R&B artist.
Sunday, Sept. 1, 7:30 p.m.
Key Track: “Every Breath You Take,” 1988
What’s New? The album “New Songs,” released in May, featuring fresh and modernized recordings of his biggest solo and Police hits.
What to Expect: A hit parade from the ageless Englishman in a tight festival set of Police and solo tracks perfected this summer on Sting’s ongoing world tour.
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