CLUB PLANET REVIEW: Eric Prydz Epic 2.0
by Michael Zadjelovich
Eric Prydz In Concert 2.0
Saturday 19th October 2013
The Definition of EPIC
The word "EPIC" has become a buzz-word in the EDM realm as of late. Its use ranges from describing the all-important "drop" and possibly a certain arrangement and order of songs a DJ plays at a show, to even a brief, all inclusive description of a show as a whole. One of the biggest festival anthem of the last few years bears the word as its title (Quintino & Sandro Silva's "Epic" which arguably set the standard for the whole Hardstyle Kick paired with Minimal Element Drop which almost every major anthem now exhibits).
The show I attended at Hammerstein Ballroom on Saturday October 19th was, in fact, even officially titled "EPIC," however only by use of a clever acronym; Eric Prydz In Concert. While the word itself has come to be a bit overused and almost a cliché, Webster's Dictionary actually defines epic as "very great or large and usually difficult or impressive". Eric Prydz (with small doses of his techno-ego Cirez D) put on a show for New York City that fit the exact definition of "Epic" to the letter(s).
I arrived at Hammerstein around 9:45 and caught the end of NYC local Gian's set. The set up was a bit different from my last visit to the ballroom (which found me in a tuxedo partying with some other Swedes). There were huge LED screens set up behind the DJ Booth and an odd lighting toward on a 45 degree angle facing toward the crowd. Immediately after Gian finished, we were treated to a back to back set from the Pryda friends (label-wise & in real life) Fehrplay & Jeremy Olander. The duo flawlessly built up the room with progressive house vibes in a true concert-opener fashion. The only lights shining were on them, with occasional blue beams pointed towards the crowd and a few strobe lights here and there to the delight of the room, which was filling quickly.
A quick note on the crowd: it was hands down the most mature, least neon crowd I had seen at an 18+ show that I can ever remember. Although Eric's music does not tend to attract the neon nation, I spotted 2 "glow gloves" and a handful of neon-clad patrons the entire night where they typically make up the majority. Due to a friend who works at the Ballroom, I watched the show from a side balcony above the crowd. It was the perfect view for the light show that was about to raise the bar for all shows. Fehrplay & Olander wrapped up their b2b set at 11:30, closing with Olander's anthem "Let Me Feel" which brought the crowd to a frenzy and it was time for the man, Eric Prydz, to take the set.
Eric's intro made it immediately apparent that the visual production for the show was like nothing I had ever seen. In addition to the LED screens playing matrix-like visuals of loading a computer program for EPIC 2.0, the purpose of the forward-leaning lighting structure was. A 3D image loaded and literally floated above and in front of Eric's DJ booth. "Welcome to my House" came through the speakers and the crowd erupted.
The next hour or so was filled exclusively with Eric's own tracks under his Pryda alias. A personal favorite of mine, "Layers" was mashed with the chords from "Reeperbahn". The crowd was not only rocking along with Eric, but you quickly had a sense that they recognized his tracks as they fell into the mix. The next highlight was a concept Eric came up with at the Coachella festival. He took his classic track "On/Off" and put it together with Green Velvet's "Lazer Beams" and had his lighting director blast the crowd with a barrage of lasers. I had only heard about it, and seen it at EDC NY once (however I cannot use ANYTHING experienced at EDC NY to compare to anything based upon how horrible the production was). So although it was invented by Eric for a festival, his laser beam attack worked perfectly for Hammerstein and for me was one of the biggest highlights of the show. It also ushered in the darker portion of show, as Eric showcased some of his darkest records as well as throwing in the classic "The Drill - The Drill" for good measure.
Before long, it was time for THE Prydz moment that has become a staple of his sets and shows. I believe it was at his first EPIC show last year where the stained glass church windows appeared behind him and turned his concert into the Church of Prydz when he drops his mix of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus". When people describe house music as being a "spiritual thing" this is pretty close to what they mean. The entire crowd really just sits in amazement, and you realize what is possible when the right song plays with the right visual at the right time in a show. The moment was worth the price of admission alone.
As his two hour set wrapped up, Eric ended with 2 favorites, "Pjanoo" followed by his anthem "Everyday". The lights came up in the Ballroom and although Eric had left the DJ booth, he quickly returned to drop his private mix to M83's Midnight City before finally officially closing with my favorite track of his, "Allein".
From beginning to end, EPIC was a show that lived up to its name in every sense of the word. It had the best visual presentation of any show I have attended this year, one of the best crowds, and was proof that musically it does not take the Beatport Top 10 to draw a reaction from a crowd of thousands.
Photo Credit: AJR Photography
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