Avicii's Le7els Tour
American Airlines Arena, Miami
Friday, June 8, 2012
Better Than: It being past 11 p.m. and not knowing your kids' whereabouts.
He's captured the hearts and minds of America's neon-painted youth as if he were some kind of Swedish one-man boy band. And last night, the American Airlines Arena was full of screaming, wide-eyed fans who weren't ashamed to scream along to "Le7els," both times around.
They even sang along to his other songs, and that's how you know he's got them.
Because of the venue, and because the crowd was 16 and up, the 21-year-old superstar hit the stage at about 9:30 p.m., much earlier than his headlining spot at Ultra Music Festival a few months ago.
Of course, in no surprising manner at all, he opened his set with his biggest hit, "Le7els." Some more cultivated and mature fans might have found this to be a bit too obvious, but the general response was more than positive.
Of course, there was also the insane stage presentation to make up for it. On this tour, Avicii has spared no expense to provide one killer visual performance. He stands in what would be the brain of a giant face, flanked on either side by big leafy shaped screens. The whole thing is 3D-mapped and covered in lasers, so as to transform into any sort of image, video, or color scheme imaginable.
The tour is billed as something unlike anything dance music has seen before, and that's partially true. Granted, epic light shows with massive presentation aren't new. Daft Punk, anyone? But Avicii is blazing a trail as the first DJ to headline a national all-arena tour.
It definitely changes up the atmosphere. It feels less like a rave and more like a concert. Yet you still see all the usual signs of a rave -- glow sticks, pacifiers, girls crying at their boyfriends in the hallway.
Singing along with your best friends in the crowd is a nice way to get a good view. But you still kind of wish that everyone was in one giant pit together on the floor. Still, now that Avicii has opened the doors, there will definitely be more DJs following in his footsteps.
Throughout the show, these die-hard fans were going bonkers. With almost every drop, it seemed like Avicii had just played their favorite song, and these kids seemed to know all the words. They sang along emphatically to his remix of "Sweet Dreams" and recent single "Silhouettes."
About an hour into his set, the stage setup got even more impressive as he dropped a remix of Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Otherside." Turns out, the forehead of the giant face that serves as Avicii's DJ booth can be raised even higher. And adding to the epic effect, smoke and lasers shot out from underneath it.
Avicii hung in the air under a spotlight and a camera captured and broadcasted his face in real time via the stage's LED screens. Then it all went another step further ... The lit-up, smokey DJ booth came flying out over the crowd, flashing red and white lights like some kind of flying saucer.
There must have been a camera mounted to the bottom of the flying DJ booth, because live images of the crowd flashed on the LED screens. And as Avicii hovered above our heads, he dropped big hits from Tiësto and Swedish House Mafia vs. Knife Party before his spaceship returned to dock atop the head. It all looked very Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
By now, the set was winding down. So it was time for a second-round of "Le7els" madness. But this time, Avicii mixed it with vocals from Gotye's number-one single "Somebody I Used To Know." The crowd went nuts as the screens flashed ultra-bright ribbons and bands of color. And when Etta James's vocal sample kicked in, the face grew some glittery lips and sang along, again.
A highpoint near the end was his remix of Robyn's "Hang With Me." Backed up with images of beautiful sunrises and sunsets, roller coaster rides and wooded roads, the euphoric melody set a chill and building ambiance.
Avicii played a couple more tracks. But soon the lights faded and he stood in silence. Well, besides the thousands of screaming voices.
"Avicii, Avicii, Avicii," they chanted as he made the shape of a heart with his hands. They continued chanting. And they would get their one more song.
Closing out in old-school style, Avicii unleashed a drop of Zombie Nation's classic "Kernkraft 400," and everyone sang along to the track's iconic hook. A minute later, he gave the crowd heart-hands one more time before disappearing into the smokey abyss.
Personal Bias: Avicii fans can't clap on beat
The Crowd: Neon house freaks in their late teens and early 20s, not giving a fuck.
Best Auxiliary Characters: The couple that tried to sneak into the General Admission pit by jumping over from a railing almost 10 feet above the ground. It was a good try. You should have run faster.
Avicii's Setlist Highlights:
-"My Feelings For You"
-"You've Got The Love"
-"Fade Into Darkness"
-"Save the World Tonight"
"In My Mind"
-"Le7els/Somebody I Used to Know"
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-"Hang With Me"