Eric Prydz’s EPIC 2.0 tour is, as the title implies, a re-imagining of 2011’s limited run of EPIC in London. Wanting to create the experience again on a more portable, but equally impressive scale, Prydz worked for two years with Immersive on the project. The results enhanced the experience with LED panels replacing projections and new 3D projections entering the mix, including a full body scan of Prydz himself.
MAGNETIC RECOMMENDS: "The Line Up" Eric Prydz Inside Create Nightclub
The important thing walking into EPIC 2.0, aside from the lights, the lasers, the projections, is that EPIC actually stands for something – Eric Prydz In Concert. The ‘in concert’ part is crucial. This is not a typical large-scale DJ set pre-programmed to fireworks and confetti cannons. Instead, it operates in a similar manner to what artists like Feed Me have perfected, with banks of effects and animations that can be timed on the fly to whatever song is dropped. The result is that no two shows are alike – it allows Prydz to perform to the crowd each night and choose how the story will be told.
Knowing the show’s backstory walking into Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom didn’t take away from the experience at all. Actually, seeing EPIC 2.0 in this particular space made an incredible difference, and friends that had seen the show in LA echoed the sentiment. For those who have never been, the inside of the Aragon feels like a restaurant from the Epcot World Showcase. Moorish turrets flank the sides and a painted ceiling that resembles an evening sky even includes tiny blinking stars.
Nestled in the room’s castle like structures were three large LED wings framing the stage, with a square truss in the middle extending out over the audience. When we arrived, openers Jeremy Olander and Fehrplay were having a bit of fun and tag-teaming on the blackened stage, cavernous whomps of bass slapping the walls. Their set abruptly ended at 11:15, much earlier than any of us expected Prydz to go on, and immediately the room went dark. We were met with grinding, mechanical scoring and a large blue hologram that continually morphed forms until all three LED panels brilliantly lit up.
Unlike other large scale performances where the stage capabilities are slowly meted out over the course of the show, within the first fifteen minutes of EPIC 2.0 the audience was assaulted with holograms, all three LED walls punching graphics, lines of strobes, large bulb stage lights and intelligent lighting. Of course, there were still surprises. About halfway through, just when we thought we had seen it all a blanket of lasers stunned the crowd and fanned out over the entire auditorium to pure pandemonium.
At a time where visuals are an expectation and artists continually try to one-up existing stages and performances, Prydz’s EPIC oddly doesn’t feel opulent, but instead, necessary. Pairing his remix of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” with gorgeous, oversized imagery of stained glass windows pulled at our hearts. Moments like the build up in “Power Drive” that sucked back to near darkness save for a few strobes built tension. The entire performance showed thoughtful ebb and flow that utilized every piece of the stage. The technology related to the music instead of seeming like a prop, and that makes EPIC 2.0, well...epic.