When Thanksgiving was over and I finished all my Black Friday shopping, my two friends and I had a prime opportunity to burn off the calories gained from eating all that turkey: We spent our Saturday night dancing and jumping around at the Illenium concert held at the Crystal Ballroom in downtown Portland.
After looking forward to the date ever since the middle of summer, I found it was absolutely worth the wait.
This show was a part of Illenium’s debut, headlining tour for his second album “Awake,” released on Sept. 21.
Illenium’s music (his real name: Nick Miller) has been on the rise since the success of his first album, “Ashes,” which was released for free in 2016. His song “I’ll Be Your Reason” has even been featured in the College Music Journal and has been played on the campus radio station here at MHCC. While his music is electrifying and exciting, it also captivates listeners with the amount of emotion in the melodies. The nature of his sound brings people together in the most special ways imaginable.
The “Awake” tour continues to prove itself a success for Illenium. Earlier last week his tour landed in San Francisco, and on the day before Thanksgiving, 8,500 people attended his performance. With a turnout like that, there is no question as to how his show sold out at the much smaller Crystal Ballroom.
Many in the very friendly and diverse crowd of fans incorporated LED accessories into their outfits, such as light-up strings, shoes, and gloves. As I waited in line outside the venue, I overheard some say they drove several hours just to see this concert. What made the show pleasing was that all of the artists, including the openers, produced a consistent sound that was both melodic and filled with lots of bass.
When it came time for Illenium’s set, the energy from the crowd was inescapable, however. He appeared on stage with a smile on his face, lights beaming into the crowd, and the radiant, fiery artwork from his album glowing on the screen behind him. It was at this moment when one fan proposed to his girlfriend. She said yes, and the two shared a night they would remember forever.
The night was special for many, including couples around me pulling each other close during Illenium’s more gentle songs. But the rest of the set maintained the same high-level energy as the beginning. Whenever he grabbed the mic, he was nearly overpowered by the cheer of the crowd. My friends and I made our way to the front row, where the sound was incredibly loud and the bass could be felt throughout my body.
The combination of the passionate musical performance and the dazzling visuals created a highly memorable experience.
And, just as we were leaving after the show, the lead singer from one of the opening acts walked right past me and a large group of fans wishing everyone a safe trip home – a great end to a great day.

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