NEW YORK, NY—There’s sometimes a bit of speculation with sequels living up to the original but maybe that’s just with movies. Technically, Cosmic Opera is a trilogy, so you really can’t compare one show to the next. Act II, titled ‘Imbroglio,’ promised to be full of tension and fights to arise. I immediately felt like there was a harder sound for the evening and was happy my senses were right. Another premonition that came true was Act II triumphing over Act I.
The venue wasn’t overly packed with concertgoers early on, making it possible to really see all the different elements of the night easier and more understandable. While the storyline is still a bit lost on me, there was this ‘murder mystery dinner theater’ vibe that took over. With characters dressed in steampunk attire walking around the venue until it was time for the side stages to act out some type of battle scene, it was fun trying to figure out who was good and who was evil—my bet was on the maid.
The stars of the night were the DJs, who brought harder beats than those in Act I and incorporated more mainstream songs. What was quite funny was that Avicii’s “Levels” came up in each set like clockwork and still, people went crazy each time. The first DJ I caught was Felix Cartal, who had a simple light show for his set but had impressive delights towards the end. Shrouded in a dark, smoky light, Cartal gave a solid set that was nicely set up with the predictable bass drops people came ready to dance to.
He brought out Polina for the song “Don’t Turn On The Lights” and even more performers would follow. He thanked the crowd and let the music play on for a bit. Then in the huge center orb that hung over the crowd, an aerialist came down inside the orb and performed. Once you restored your gaze to the stage, fire breathers and dancers took to the stage for the set change for Matt Goldman to take up his place behind the controls.
There was a large screen behind Goldman from the ceiling to his booth. A kaleidoscope of random images was projected behind him and it was visually entertaining. In place of a chandelier this Act, a giant claw-like contraption would move about with strobe lights searching all around the floor. There was a moment in his set that he put arcade-like beats in and that’s when this claw really went crazy and I only wished it picked someone up from the floor.
His set was really explosive and the music kept you guessing as what was to come next. I enjoyed the mix in of Swedish House Mafia’s “Save The World,” which was like an ode to Axwell (who played Act I). He also performed his take of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall.” Goldman did play a new song of his and an entire troop of dancers took to the side stages and I was mesmerized by the flurry of silver sequins.
There was one last dramatic scene to be played out before Fedde Le Grand ended out the night and gave people one last chance to dance. Fire breathers and dancers ushered in a violinist, whose sound was more like that of an electric guitar than a classical instrument. Once finished, a large steampunk gadget-shaped mirror—which was essentially like a giant eye—hung behind Fedde Le Grand, allowing fans to also watch over his every move.
For me, Goldman was the highlight of the evening and I was tired from dancing during his set. I left halfway through Le Grand’s set and I enjoyed a mix of his work and songs from other artists, as early on he pulled out Martin Solveig’s “Hello.” People were still dancing as I passed through the now almost full venue and Le Grand was also just as excited playing for those below. If Act II is any preview for how the final installment of Act III will be, I am prepared for an out-of-this-world experience.