Arguably the hottest DJ in the world, at one of our country's most iconic venues, in the greatest city on earth. On paper it sounds like history in the making, but could the show live up to the hype? Read more After the Jump...
First and foremost, the production value was off the charts. Lights and sound were incredible, and of course Tim Bergling's new trademark: the giant head. He kicked off the set with a rousing mash of "Fade Into Darkness" and The Who's "Baba O'Riley." However the "it's only teenage wasteland" lyrics seemed to resonate with the setting in a rather uncomfortable way. A lot of contradictions come into play when you take the EDM scene and transport it to a place as classy and historic as Radio City Music Hall. Immersed in the depths of a festival or packed on some fog filled dancefloor, girls in neon spandex with pacifiers in their mouths seem like par for the course. But something about the velvet seats and elaborate architecture made it all seem ridiculously out of place.
Anyway, the setlist was magic. From start to finish Veech turned out an excellent mix of classic favorites, new intriguing beats, and his own biggest singles: peaking midway through with his "Hang With Me" edit followed by a few snippets of Daft Punk's "Around the World" into a single that has been absolutely slaying lately: Nari & Milani's "Atom." Bergling also paid homage to his fellow countrymen, the Swedish House Mafia, dropping both "Don't You Worry Child," and "Greyhound" much to the crowd's approval.
While Avicii fed the energy with some seriously souped up drops, I couldn't help but feel like the crowd was being hindered by the venue. A place like RCMH requires a certain level of respect from the audience, and its staff was on high alert to keep any potential wild cards in line. With ear-piece clad ushers patrolling the aisles and no real dance-floor, the crowd could never really build into a complete frenzy. The wild release that is the very aspect of EDM shows we've all come to expect and love--the thing we keep coming back for--could never be fully realized.
Regardless, the music was great all the way through. Avicii seems to be experimenting with some new genres and sounds. He even threw in a little dubbed-out interlude between Levels and his closing track (my favorite of the night), a pulsing remix of Kernkraft 400's "Zombie Nation" that had the crowd flooding the NYC streets still singing the hook.
So the final verdict: a venue like Radio City Music Hall turns out to be a double-edged sword for a DJ. On the one hand, the coolness factor is undeniable. It shows the genre entering a new space and expanding far beyond where many thought it ever would. On the other, a show like this is simply not meant for such an upscale setting. Maybe its just me, but I prefer a place where the people who go the hardest and love the music most are the ones in the thick of it all, not the people who bought the most expensive tickets.
Click here for a gallery of pictures from the night, and find some of the best tracks from Avicii's set below.