Words by Addy Walter
Forest Hill Stadium has to be one of the nicest venues in New York City – surrounded by greenery, a quaint old neighborhood that gave Hogwarts vibes, and a wide open stadium and stage that allows the sunset to peak in over the top. Something that performing artist, San Holo, pointed out midway through his set, as he told the crowd to stop, look around and “breathe in the moment” with him.
The stadium held a stacked lineup on Saturday night, with Gilligan Moss, San Holo, Sylvan Esso, and Odesza. It was, what appeared to be, a completely sold out show. If you’ve ventured out to this venue, you know how many people this entails. Food and drink vendors were scattered throughout the venue, along with free water stations and, my personal favorite, a place where you could get mango chile popsicles – a MUST on a warm night in Queens.
Gilligan Moss eased the crowd into the night with their light and happy setlist. Much of the crowd was still at the vendor stations, but the two, Ben Cronin and Evan Dorfman, performed with an energy and welcomeness that set the stage for the remainder of the night.
San Holo jogged onto the stage next and shouted “New York, What’s up!” which made the crowd go wild. I have always been a San Holo fan because of the way he interacts with the crowd and mixes a live performance every show. He played a favorite of mine, “Lift Me From the Ground,” second in his set list – a song that essentially makes you feel like you’re floating in the clouds while listening. A truly surreal experience, especially given his performance occurred as the sun was setting beneath the stadium, creating cotton candy clouds and a nice summer breeze to accompany his music. Unfortunately, midway through his set, the sound turned off and we were unable to hear him or the music for around 3-4 minutes. He handled this unscheduled transition with grace, admitting it threw him off his game a bit, but he jumped right back into his set list and finished off his performance strong.
Sylvan Esso was up next, and they were a site to see! The duo humbly waved at the crowd as the stepped onto the stage before starting with their song “What If.” Throughout the performance, they made sure to thank the crowd for showing up early to watch their set – a small but sweet gesture from artists. They kept the talking to a minimum and had a solid 15 song show, packing as much music into their allotted time as possible. Nick Sanborn stays behind the keyboard to work some live mixing magic, while Amelia Meath keeps the audience captivated by her energetic dance moves and high kicks while she kills it on the vocals. The type of performance where you just couldn’t look away. By this time of the night, the sky had darkened and several light up balloons had been released and made their way bouncing across the crowd, adding to the liveliness of their performance.
Odesza was the headliner, and they did not disappoint. The stadium was packed to the brim by this point, lit up by the stage lights and giant imagery of what appeared to be a trippy type of video game at the back of the stage. Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, known also as Catacombkid and BeachesBeaches, appeared on stage with their fists up to the air in a stoic manner, took a moment to embrace the crowd, then dove right into their 25 song set list performance, which included hits like “Love Letter,” “Better Now,” and “The Last Goodbye.” The two played a breathtaking show, filled with a lineup of drummers (which they actually joined in on – see the below photos for a peak at that moment), fire all across the stage, trumpet players, and fireworks to end the night. The truly pulled out all the stops to deliver an unforgettable performance for their New York fans. I had never seen this type of festival-level performance from an artist.
All of these artists put on a beautiful show that night at Forest Hills Stadium, and the venue made sure their fans were well taken care of. It was all you could ask for and more!