Review — Kevin Gates and Friends Bring Some Class to Red Rocks (Features an Exclusive Post-Show Interview)

On June 18th, Red Rocks Amphitheatre played host to an evening headlined by Kevin Gates. The lineup, featuring dynamic openers NLE Choppa, The Mexican OT, and Mariah the Don, created an unforgettable night filled with high-energy performances from start to finish.

Mariah the Don kicked off the night with her unique New York City sound that immediately set the tone for the evening. Accompanied by two dancers, she captivated the audience from the start. Her performance of “Hot Commodity,” a favorite from her mixtape, had the crowd roaring in approval. Transitioning seamlessly into “Luv U Better,” Mariah showcased her impressive vocal range and emotional depth, delivering each note with passion and precision. The high point of her set came with an exhilarating dance-off with her DJ, DJ Static. This spontaneous, high-energy moment had the entire audience on their feet, cheering and dancing along.

The Mexican OT followed, bringing an infectious energy that had Red Rocks pulsating. Having recently played the Bluebird Theater in Denver, his fans’ presence at Red Rocks was hard to miss, their excitement palpable from the start. Opening with the track “02.02.99,” the crowd erupted immediately, setting the tone for a high-energy set. His performance of hits like “Point ‘Em Out” and other fan favorites maintained this momentum, with each beat resonating through the amphitheater and keeping the audience on their feet. Showcasing his genuine connection and appreciation for his supporters, The Mexican OT paused to sign merchandise for a young fan on stage, creating a lifelong memory for the child and his family. This touching moment highlighted his dedication to his fans and his down-to-earth persona. Throughout his set, his passion for music was evident as he breathed life into every note and lyric, making it clear that music is his lifeblood. His stage presence, combined with his heartfelt interactions, left a lasting impression, proving why he has such a devoted following and why his performances are so highly anticipated.

NLE Choppa then took the stage, delivering a performance that truly set the night ablaze. Known for his high-octane shows, Choppa did not disappoint, bringing an unparalleled energy that resonated throughout Red Rocks. The moment he stepped on stage, the crowd’s anticipation transformed into an enthusiastic roar, amplifying the electric atmosphere. Choppa, with his signature dynamic presence, brought out The Mexican OT to dance, creating a rare and memorable moment for fans to see them laughing together like old friends. Choppa’s set reached a fever pitch with his hit “Slut Me Out 2.” Demonstrating his flair for showmanship, he played the track five times, each repetition further igniting the audience. The crowd’s reaction intensified with every play, transforming the amphitheater into a sea of moving bodies and echoing cheers. Each time “Slut Me Out 2” blasted through the speakers, the crowd’s response grew more fervent, a testament to the track’s infectious appeal and Choppa’s commanding stage presence. By the fifth rendition, the entire venue was in a euphoric state, a unified wave of energy that mirrored Choppa’s own onstage dynamism.

The anticipation reached its peak as Kevin Gates took the stage, beginning with a heartfelt prayer for blessings. His presence was magnetic, commanding the stage with a blend of raw emotion and polished performance. Gates’ set was a journey through his diverse discography and personal life, with each song hitting with precision and passion. Opening with “Speed Dial,” he immediately set the tone for the rest of the evening. His performances of “Thinkin’ with My Dick” and “Beyoncé Freestyle,” enhanced by dynamic choreography, were visually mesmerizing as the dancers’ energy complemented Gates’ commanding delivery, creating a captivating synergy that kept the crowd entranced.

Gates took multiple pauses throughout his set to talk about positivity and the struggle of overcoming negativity, emphasizing the importance of being present and letting go of the past. His heartfelt performance of “Imagine That” resonated deeply with the audience, as did his intimate rendition of “Me Too,” where he brought an audience member on stage. Gates’ reflections on starting each day with love rather than hate added an inspiring and personal touch to his performance, connecting with fans on topics that all struggle with in their daily lives.

The night reached an emotional peak with “Satellites,” where Gates created an intimate atmosphere despite the vastness of Red Rocks. Before starting his set again to play some fan favorites, he prayed to God once again for blessings, a moment that added a layer of authenticity and depth to his presence on stage.

In a post-show interview, Gates shared insights into his routines and practices that keep him grounded and focused. Reflecting on his performance, Gates addressed the idea, “When the student is ready to learn, the teacher will appear.” When asked if he views his performances as teaching lessons for those ready to listen, he revealed, “I actually learn about myself during each performance. I absorb a lot of energy from the crowd, and that exchange teaches me as much as it teaches them.” This connection with his audience is a key aspect of his performances, where the energy exchange is both a teaching and learning experience.

Running outside while on tour, even in the challenging altitude of Red Rocks, helps maintain his mindset and performance energy. “It’s more than just exercise for me; it’s a mental cleanse,” he noted, joking about the thin air at Red Rocks. He emphasized the importance of breathing techniques to adapt to different altitudes and humidities, which are crucial for sustaining his high-energy performances.

A significant part of Gates’ daily routine is his love for coffee, which has led him to start his own coffee brand called General’s Ritual. “I’m a coffee connoisseur,” he said proudly. He humorously mentioned his need for 12 cups of espresso to kickstart his day, quoting a popular meme, “Before I have my coffee, I don’t give a fuck.” However, he has been cutting back to only 4-6 cups. His passion for coffee is not just about the caffeine but about the different techniques and flavors of coffee and their combinations to create his unique blends.

Gates isn’t just interested in coffee, however. He also nurtures a strong passion for growing fruits and berries. “You can’t just plant the seed and walk away; you have to nurture it daily, give it what it needs to grow strong,” Gates explained, comparing his approach to business with the careful tending of his blueberries, ensuring they receive the right amount of sunlight and water. He applies this philosophy to many aspects of his life, believing that, like coffee beans or blueberries, every business venture needs attention and care throughout its lifecycle. “From planting the seed of an idea, through nurturing phases, to ensuring it reaches full maturity, each step is crucial for success,” he said.

Gates also discussed his partnership with Ambrosia Health Supplement, emphasizing the importance of authenticity in his endorsements. “You’re practicing bad karma if you don’t use what you promote,” he stated firmly. Gates believes in the products he endorses and uses them in his daily life. This commitment to authenticity extends beyond his business ventures and into his daily preparations, often starting his day the night before to ensure he begins with a positive mindset. “It’s all about being genuine and true to yourself,” he said. “I make sure that what I endorse is something I truly believe in and use. That way, I know I’m providing real value to my fans and customers.” Gates further explained that this philosophy of authenticity and integrity is what drives him to carefully select his business partners and the products he supports. “Every product I endorse,” he said, “is something that aligns with my values and my lifestyle. It’s about maintaining trust and delivering quality consistently.”

The concert at Red Rocks was more than just a series of performances; it was a celebration of music’s ability to bring people together and inspire. From Mariah the Don’s fiery opening to Kevin Gates’ masterful finale, the night was a testament to the talent and passion of each artist. For those lucky enough to be there, it was a night of powerful music, heartfelt messages, and unforgettable moments. Kevin Gates and his fellow performers left an indelible mark on Red Rocks, reminding everyone of the transformative power of live music.

All Photography Courtesy of Kiddest Metaferia

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