We attended night two of Cosmic Opera, which was billed as one of the most unique electronic music events of the year, promising state-of-the-art lighting, 3-D projection mapping, a story line and live performers. The event was hosted at New York’s legendary Hammerstein Ballroom.
The second and final night of this “Act 1″ debut brought DJs Axwell, Thomas Gold, and No ID. (The first night had Deniz Koyu joining Axwell and No ID.) They were joined by performers including acrobats, dancers, and others, and stunning light shows. All the while, a beautiful centerpiece/chandelier hung from the center of the room, punctuated by a disco ball and its blue illumination.
DJ duo No ID opened the night as the room continued to fill in. The duo provided a solid opening set, getting the crowd ready for what was to come.
Acrobats then took over, hanging directly above the crowd from sheets that descended from the ceiling.
For this second-night performance, Axwell had top billing, but Thomas Gold stole the show. As he teased in our interview the day before, he began by transitioning from a classical-influenced song into one of his famous tracks, an edit of “Judas.” He did so beautifully, incorporating the winds, strings and drums of the intro track. From that point on he did not let up. At one point, Gold was dancing so hard that he almost fell over. He appears to love his role as a performer and fully immerses himself in the performance.
Gold dropped a new track that is still in progress and we loved it. It starts out with a xylophone rhythm, reminiscent of circus music, but then picks up and drops some heavy bass and synths. When he played his mix of Adeleâ€™s “Set Fire to the Rain” and let the crowd sing along, he helped create a staggeringly beautiful moment. He then ended his set by handing a light baton to a maestro, who was reminiscent of the cat in the hat.
After Gold’s set, the lights were pointed at the balcony where a performer slowly descended down into the crowd. She made her way to the stage on a moving platform and once on stage cued for the curtain to be opened and revealed a huge pipe organ stage prop, with the DJ Axwell atop. There were mirrors above Axwellâ€™s head so the crowd was able to see what he was doing — another nice touch to let the crowd feel more engaged. Musically, the set did not meet my high expectations. The track listing was almost a greatest-hits show, with some edits and mashups. Dropping tracks like “The Island,” “Sweet Disposition” and “Levels” was expected and as much as the crowd seemed to enjoy it, fans who have tracked his work must surely wish he would mix it up a bit more.
In the end, Cosmic Opera fell somewhat short of our high expectations. Despite the non-musical performances, there was no discernible theme or story line. It also seemed as if the sound was never turned up all the way. However, the performances, lighting and decorations were quite impressive, and we appreciated the chance to experience a different kind of electronic music event than those we’ve grown accustomed to.
The sold-out room seemed pleased with the show, overall. After all, they were electronic-music lovers, primarily there to see these accomplished DJs do their craft. We hope Cosmic Opera will top itself for more ofÂ a cohesive show around those DJ sets for Act 2. We will surely let you know when its details are announced.
Official Cosmic Opera Act 1 Recap