Swedish House Mafia: Concert Review

Swedish House Mafia Photo: Frankie Fouganthin, Creative Commons

The house music stalwarts pull in 60,000 partygoers for two soldout nights at the Rogers Centre.

By: Nick Krewen Special To The Star, Published on Sat Feb 23 2013



The Swedish House Mafia may be pulling the plug a tad prematurely.

Even though house music stalwarts Axel “Axwell” Hedfors, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso are in the final throes of their reported last hurrah — the DJ/producers have decided a six-year union is enough and will return to their solo careers following a March 24 appearance at the Ultra Festival in Miami — the fact that the trio pulled 60,000 partygoers in for two soldout nights, at the Rogers Centre no less, should give them pause to reconsider.

Because you can bet that every electronic dance music enthusiast who “came, raved and loved” — to bastardize SHM’s thematic #OneLastTour motto — during the first night’s two-hour multimedia extravaganza, would plunk down another $100 in a heartbeat to do it again.

Admittedly, there’s something exhilarating about looking down at the venue floor from the sidelines and witnessing a united sea of humanity raising their arms and pumping their fists along to the pulsating rhythms of such trance-inducing favourites as “Miami 2 Ibiza” and “Don’t You Worry Child.” The predominantly twenty-something crowd burst spontaneously into cheers and screams whenever something melodically familiar emerged from the gigantic stacks of speakers or they were surprised by a sudden explosion of special effects.

And boy, did the Swedish House Mafia go to town on those. After the curtain dropped at 10 p.m. sharp, a monstrously huge video screen lit up the Rogers Centre and blasted fluorescent white light into our collective eyeballs, revealing — and simultaneously dwarfing — the trio’s silhouettes as they began the show.

The first full song, “Greyhound,” which featured an animated loop on stacks of video screens that then split into multiple levels to present a full-on 3D experience, continued to peel back the layers of what would be in store for the day-glo apparelled, glow bar-toting crowd: an eye-blinding light show, occasional blasts of steam, bursts of fireworks and fireball discharges that would be timed to coincide with the peak of one song before they’d melt into the next.

Lasers, confetti, balloons — you name it, the entrancing trio employed it, in between working the controls or bashing along to the music on mini-drum kits, as intermittent live camera shots of the partying crowd were intermixed with stunning animation.

It was a fairly formulaic approach, but it never seemed tired, mainly due to the fact that SHM switched gears often enough to keep it fresh and lively … although, admittedly, the waving of the Canadian flag toward the end of the show seemed more contrived than genuine.

By the time the show wound down with “Save the World,” the 30,000-strong were satiated and depleted, but probably could have gone a few more rounds.

And that’s something that the members of Swedish House Mafia will undoubtedly keep in mind somewhere down the line when their solo careers and bank accounts need a fresh jolt: people often break up to make up.

On a side note, could the event have been more poorly organized in terms of letting people into the venue? Initially, only four gates were open, and considering the late-night nature of a rave, even an organized one, there was little excuse for letting many scantily clad kids dressed for dancing spend nearly an hour out in the cold due to the limited access.

Additionally, there was a bit of a snafu with GO Transit. Due to some mix-up in communication, Metrolinx thought the show was ending at 2 a.m., rather than midnight, so many folks spent a couple of hours waiting for trains.

At least, by adding a couple of extra trains well past the midnight hour, Metrolinx had its heart in the right place, but for those going to the show tonight, be prepared for a lengthy wait before you get your ride home.



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