Events were much closer together. The main village (called the Galleria) was located in the Grand Plaza. Food and vendor booths abounded. Traveling to the Big Air or Skate Park event areas were close and there was much to see on your way to any event. The dirt courses were also very close to the central hub. So it seemed an overall and overwhelming kudos is on deck.
The music portion is what I care about. It was a varied and wide selection of genres to keep a broad spectrum of the crowd pleasantly entertained. The 360 Amphitheater (http://austin360amphitheater.com/) was the prefect anchor for all of the sights and events. I only caught one act here. It was exactly who I wanted to see. Although there were several other amazing performances that happened throughout the weekend, I knew I had to pace myself for Saturday.
Phranchyze (http://www.phranchyze.com/) is one of Austin, Texas many outstanding hip hop performers and rappers. It was amazing to see him on the big stage and having the opportunity to strike. His set was fast paced and fun, Lyrically entertaining, and with some catchy hooks. I have seen Phranchyze on the small stage in a club set, this was UNDOUBTABLY a different experience aurally. By the end of his set, the crowd grew from several of us on the floor, to close to a hundred. This did not include the many people hanging around the upper edges of the Amphitheater.
It seems the lesson learned from last year's main act in a venue that holds ~15,000 people was solved. With the construction of the Super Stage on turn 11 of the Circuit of Americas track, more than 40,000 people... Not a problem.
The Super Stage lived up to its name. With 2 huge screens on either side of the stage and the entire back of the stage being a giant screen. There was really not a moment to miss of Metallica's performance. Whether you were looking through a lens or not, the whole performance was dumbfounding. There was even a crowd of about 200 onstage that joined the band for the entire performance.
The use of lasers during Metallica's epic song, One, was timed perfectly and visually stunning. This is not to disparage the entire performance. It was completely complete! From start to finish. Opening with what is now their standard, 'Quest for gold' (including video from 'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly') until the bitter end and what seemed to be 3 en cores.
For all of those in attendance, the ones who have never seen Metallica, those who have, and those who ARE Metallica, it was an EPIC near 2 hour performance. It left me wanting for no song in their catalog. In the time that has passed from this performance, I have not heard one complaint about a song they didn't do. Even listening to my Metallica CO'S again and realizing what songs they didn't do... It was metal head, metal mulisha perfection.
Here is the link to the full photo album from the XGames (https://goo.gl/photos/SqpxgTtTNtQskM6a6)