NEW YORK — Due to post-Miami-EDM fatigue, Thursday night's Cosmic Opera Act II may have only been for New York's super-committed dance music fans. With 1,500 or so tickets sold, though, for those in attendance, the high-concept Opera-meets-EDM party was an exceptional effort.
Dubbed "Imbroglio," the second Act of CO was set in a steampunk world, with the experience meant to evoke the fire, angst and turmoil that comes after two people first meet and fall in love. It was similar to the way that EDM and Opera did in February when Cosmic Opera debuted, featuring Swedish House Mafia's Axwell as headliner.
"There's fire and gritty performances, and aerialists battling it out in a Thunderdome above the audience," Cosmic Opera founder Justin Cohen told MTV News Friday (April 6). "We have this claw chandelier, it's actually the heaviest chandelier in the world right now, and everything is moving, which goes along with that story of this is Imbroglio Act II. And now things are getting a bit crazier."
And crazier it did get, but in a uncontrived, cool way. Fire-wielding performers spit flames around the Opera's organ-like DJ booth and stage-flanking runways. A unique 360-degree laser was featured in a spectacular light display. "Eyes Wide Shut"-esque masked performer couples ambled about the crowds, shifting from infatuation to clash and back. Forty-foot-high LED screens moved forward and backward, and the chandelier claw would descend down into the audience lined with lights.
And Cohen and his team tapped a talent pool certainly capable of bringing an angsty, aggressive, hard-hitting audio experience to New York both nights in dBerrie, Funkagenda, Felix Cartal, Zedd and headliner Fedde Le Grand. Rising star Zedd continues to dazzle, and it's worth noting that for being a nice, young, smallish (in size up there onstage) guy, he continues to lay down among the more explosive sets in dance music. And Thursday night was no exception.
The venue's six LED screens depicted flames, and five dancers in white wigs and silver attire hit the stages' runways for Zedd's Opera entrance number, with Zedd signaling with his hands, "Let's do this." And with that, his onslaught began: Fans chanted back Angger Dimas & Bassjackers' "Ria." Giant lengths of steam shot out into the crowd for Dada Life's "Kick Out the Epic Motherf---er," and the audience seemed in a frenzy for Knife Party's whopping "Internet Friends."
After an electric set ended with a new song, and Zedd's new mash-up of "Slam the Door" and buddy Skrillex's "Cinema" (Zedd revealed to MTV News he calls it "Don't Slam the Cinema"), he handed the baton over, literally via a performer, to Dutch house music star Fedde Le Grand, who headlined both nights of COII.
A sumptuous violin solo performance led into Le Grand's headlining organ-DJ booth, steam-punked out with pipes and a baritone saxophone. And then FLG began his set with a hearty remix of his hit "So Much Love" and followed with room-shaking hit after hit. Calvin Harris' "Feel So Close," Steve Angello's "Knas," Benny Benassi's "House Music" and Arty's "Around the World" were all part of his arsenal. But so were some stellar reworks. Steam shots drove the crowd mental when FLG dropped opening performer dBerrie's remix of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know." An unknown bootleg of OneRepublic's "Apologize" was masterful, as was a provocative "Leave the World Behind" vs. Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams."
After Fedde Le Grand's two-hour closing set and a three-hour production breakdown, Cohen and his team readied Friday night's final showing of Cosmic Opera Act II, which will see the Felix Cartal join in the festivities.
Did you attend one or both nights of Cosmic Opera II? Tell us about you favorite moments in the comments below!