Avicii turns the tables on Coliseum crowd
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012 07:09
Last night, a mammoth undertaking of a show came to fruition, with world-famous electronic dance music (EDM) superstar Avicii attempting to flatten every one in attendance at West Virginia University Coliseum.
In recent years, Morgantown has gained momentum along its journey to become a key player in the EDM explosion that has dominated U.S. music sub-culture, and Avicii is certainly the most acclaimed act of the genre to ever roll through town.
With such an act topping the bill at the Coliseum, Morgantown has officially begun to play with the big boys, and last night‘s show was a seminal moment for the city’s music scene.
While there were high hopes for what the performance would mean for the future, the show itself was, overall, a bit of a disappointment.
The setup was impressive – a massive stage took up a big portion of the floor and was besieged on all sides by lights that would put most high-budget rock concerts to shame.
When the opening act, DJ WHO, began his set, fog machines began to spurt plumes of smoke into the arena, creating a haze that slightly shrouded the names of West Virginia basketball greats Jerry West and "Hot Rod" Hundley as they hung proudly from the rafters.
A light show that would later prove to be dialed back in comparison with Avicii’s own started, creating blue and red circles that filled the floor, and this made the atmosphere positively electric.
Hundreds of neon-clad attendees filed in under this cover to the tune of some fairly generic, but nonetheless satisfactory EDM that had a few pockets of life moving and grooving.
The floor crowd undoubtedly enjoyed the first DJ’s set, but those in the seats could hear what was a major problem with the entire event.
Electronic music with burgeoning bass and sub-bass lines simply does not mix well with a giant concrete dome. Muddying reverb turned eighth notes into quarter notes and crowded mixes into near-blurred walls of sound at its worst moments.
While the untrained and/or intoxicated ear probably was not too concerned, many of those who are serious about sound quality probably felt a little cheated.
After a set spanning more than an hour and a half, the prevailing attitude among the crowd was that Avicii could not come out early enough to save the show from tanking.
Fans’ calls for the headlining act were answered at about 9 p.m., when the arena went completely dark and thunderous cheers filled the room.
Avicii emerged like a victorious king with one arm raised in the air, stepping on to his own raised platform on the stage. Behind him a monumental screen came to life, displaying flaming letters spelling "Avicii," and you could feel the energy in the room triple in this moment.
A heavy staccato line got things underway with a bang, eventually becoming intertwined with sections of grinding dubstep-esque sounds. Crowd participation doubled, and many in the seated sections rose to their feet and were compelled to dance.
Avicii expertly transitioned from dark but catchy synth riffing to trippy, cosmic interludes, showing off his mixing prowess.
Lights from camera phones shone from nearly every seat, and blinding, seizure-inducing lights flickered, zoomed and transformed all over the place, creating an extremely stimulating visual experience.
However – despite the eye candy – Avicii, too, fell victim to the concrete dome’s shortcomings. Unlike the first act, he was saved by his own music’s originality and managed to put on a great show, so not all was lost.
If this event had cost $30 or less, the sound could have been overlooked, but at $70 a pop for floor tickets, the show simply fell short.
In addition, a crowd divided between those in the seats and the floor really hampered the potential for one huge upswing of energy.
But never fear, EDM fans – it is nearly time for Glowfest.