June has been a month of making history and celebrating for Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets took the championship for the first time, followed by a parade in the heart of Denver. Local fans have been more lively than ever with victory celebrations, and Colorado native Nicholas Daniel Miller kept that train going.

Nicholas, professionally known as Illenium (a name EDM fans know far and wide) smashed records on June 17th with his spectacular Trilogy production at Empower Field. With this set specifically, Illenium has officially sold the most tickets in U.S. history as a single electronic dance music headliner. He didn’t want anyone to miss the occasion, so as a special gift the show was live-streamed on the Illenium website, YouTube, and other platforms.

The man, the myth, the legend himself has been in the industry for a decade, with his first headlining show in 2015. To date, Nicholas has put out a total of five albums, the most recent of which was his self-titled album released back in April of 2023. The amount of material he had to work with allowed Nicholas the creative freedom to curate a special show spanning his entire discography. It was truly a gift to longtime and new fans of the artist and genre.

When a Phoenix Descends, We’re Reborn

Words aren’t enough to properly describe the events of ILLENIUM Trilogy. While the production was still being finalized, teaser posts of the staging circulated around social media. The anticipation leading up to the event had reached a fever pitch and refused to settle down. No matter how much people imagined it would be leading up to the date of the show, there was so much more in store for attendees. Wristbands equipped with timed LEDs were passed out to all in attendance as a way to incorporate the crowd itself into the nighttime light show production, as well as to leave everyone with a special commemorative item for a souvenir.

The event kicked off hours before the doors were set to open with a special tailgate gathering in the south lot of Empower Field. People lined up for photo ops in front of the stadium where a large sign that read “ILLENIUM” had been erected, and some had begun lining up to enter the stadium about an hour before doors were set to open.

When the time came, cheers erupted from the crowds surrounding the stadium as the masses began making their way inside, despite rain starting to fall at the same moment. By the time William Blanke (William Black B2B Blanke) took the stage as the openers, the skies had begun to clear and everyone was left refreshed with the perfect warmup.

Rounds One, Two, and Three

As the sunshine came out and the clouds cleared, the Broncos mascot and cheerleaders paved the way through the crowd for Nicholas. He started on center stage on a raised platform surrounded by screens with his first set: Ashes x Awake. The live stream didn’t pick up the majority of cheers from the crowd. They were consistent throughout the event nevertheless.

The love and excitement were palpable, but the viewers weren’t ready for what happened later on. With set one of the event finished, people rushed for drinks, food, and restrooms. Stagehands took apart half of the center stage, revealing a level platform surrounded by more screens. Meanwhile, groups of people on the floor took their seats on the ground waiting eagerly for the next set.

Set two was Ascend x Fallen Embers, two of Illenium’s most accomplished albums featuring multiple artists and remixes between them. Nicholas took charge of the main stage in a fiery blaze of glory — literally, as there were pyrotechnics out of the wazoo.

And then the first of many special guests took center stage: Dabin with his explosive riffs. After Dabin’s surprise collaboration, guest performers appeared one after the other toward the end of the night. The Chainsmokers and Carlie Hanson took the stage, performing a brand new track coming out Friday, June 23rd titled “See You Again.” Once the sun had set enough, a drone show took place in the sky just above the main stage itself.

An hour after the drones, Nicholas had moved on to the third and final set of the show: Illenium Live. The center stage — as well as the light pillars dispersed around the crowd — were equipped with crazy pyrotechnics used exclusively during this last set. After the sun had completely set, that’s when the lasers and fireworks began. The supporting acts for this set were as follows: Annika Wells and Vera Blue on vocals; Nick on drums with Taylor on guitar; Bonnie on violin and viola; and Said the Sky on keyboard.

Most acts came back at the very end for a finale, using the momentum to send the crowd over the edge. Nicholas put the final cherry on top of the cake by announcing another Trilogy set in Los Angeles, California sometime in February 2024 (official date to be announced).

Grand Finale of a Historical Night in Denver

As the night progressed through the sets, more and more tears were shed and everyone came together in a way that truly felt like a family. Strangers hugged each other, cried together, and headbanged like it was the last night of their lives. For an event as huge as Trilogy was this year, it was a unique experience to not only witness the performance but be a part of it as the crowd.

Each set was put together with great care spanning the entire Illenium discography! The reality is that words can only do so much justice to events. The entire stream is up on YouTube and comes complete with a full tracklist of each set located in the comment section.

Photos by Sammantha Drake

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