On Monday, December 30th, roughly 8,000 people made their way to Pier 94 in New York City for a sold-out show featuring Major Lazer, Boys Noize, DJ Snake, and GTA. Even though it was New Years “Eve Eve”, the show was treated as a NYE event and was Major Lazer’s final performance of 2013. The fact that the next day was the biggest party night of the year did little to deter the turnout, because as they (and DJ Snake) say, “Turn Down for What”?
With the growth of EDM, the majority of tours that stop in NYC also make a stop in Philadelphia, making it less of a necessity for Philadelphians to make the trek up 95 for a show. It’s been a while since we headed up to NYC but we did so with an open mind. We knew the talent was going to be top notch, but was it worth trip? Yes, it was.
Clearly it isn’t a big deal; getting to NYC really is not that hard. We drove from Philadelphia to the Trenton train station, which took about 2o minutes. From there, we took a $15 train on the New Jersey Transit line to Penn Station, which took about an hour. From Penn Station you can get to the Subway without even leaving the building, and we took a subway uptown 2 stops to 50th and 8th ave, where we walked the remaining 3 or so blocks to the venue. All in all, we left Philadelphia at 830pm, and by 11pm we were in the venue. To get home, we did the exact opposite.
We expected to arrive at the venue to find a line as far as the eye could see, however, that was by no means the case. Both the VIP and general admission lines we very short, and an information booth was situated between the two lines to help sort out any confusion that attendees had. After getting through the line, we were handed a map of the venue. Yes, you read that right: a map of the venue. This map was proof of a few things. 1) The large size of the venue. 2) The organization of the promoters. 3) That New York does not fuck around. We are not used to having maps at one-off shows, as they tend to be used mostly at large festivals, but we have to tip our hats to the people behind them.
The first artist to play was DJ Snake, who was approaching the end of his set while we got ourselves situated inside. The Parisian trap artist, whose hit track “Turn Down for What?” featuring Lil Jon is played worldwide almost as much as “Animals” is, had Pier 94 going nuts. We were really looking forward to DJ Snakes set, and while we were disappointed that we only got to catch the last half, that was all the time it took for us to hop aboard the band wagon and to give him our seal of approval. Around 1130pm Boys Noize came on stage, took over for DJ Snake and changed things up a bit.
As soon as Boys Noize hit the stage the crowd became filled with waving Boys Noize Records flags. Boys Noize’s set was in stark contrast to the trap filled set of DJ Snake. Regardless of the differences, it was obvious that the crowd came with an open mind for music, as more and more people made their way into the section of the venue where the stage as his set progressed.
We loved a remix to the Skrillex/A$AP Rocky track “Wild for the Night” that Boys Noize played, as well has a remix to “Eat Sleep Rave Repeat” and “Heads Will Roll”. Boys Noize also played an awesome mash-up that featured Nirvana lyrics and that sampled Flosstradamus’s song “Pills”. We could have done without “Animals” (Especially because DJ Snake just played it), but the crowd didn’t seem to mind. Boys Noize wrapped his set up around 1230am, at which point there was a brief intermission before the headliner of the night, Major Lazer, hit the stage.
We used this time to explore the massive venue. In the far back of the venue was a dedicated “twerking wall”, which was naturally a hit more and more as the night progressed. This was made clear by the fact that the wall started out white, however, by midway through the night, dark muddy streaks were all over the wall from the shoes worn by twerking concert goers. We also checked out the bar area, where we were quickly reminded that we were no longer in Philadelphia by the $14 drink prices.
Around 12:45 a.m., the lights in the venue went dim, the large LED screens on stage played the visuals Major Lazer, and the crowd erupted. A few moments later, Diplo and Jillionaire appeared standing on top of the DJ Booth, with hype-man Walshy Fire and the Major Lazer dancers running out onto the stage. The crowd simply went bananas. It was at that moment that we realized we made a great decision to come up to New York City for the night.
We have seen Major Lazer headline multiple Mad Decent Block Parties in the past, however, we can honestly say that none of their other performances were as good as this one. From the crowd surfing to the male and female dance-offs, Major Lazer engaged the crowd and never took their foot off the gas.
There was a funny moment when Diplo got on the microphone and told the crowd they had a surprise guest. As everyone waited to see who this guest could be, the crowd could only see Diplo and Jillionaire motioning to someone to come up to the DJ Booth. After a few moments, we heard Diplo say, “Come On Lindsay…”, and then there she was, Lindsay Lohan, hanging out in the DJ Booth and waving to the crowd. We definitely weren’t in Philly anymore.
After playing Major Lazer-esq tracks with Island overtones/beats, it appeared that Diplo took over for the end of the set in an encore of sorts. With Diplo on the turn-table, he dropped short snippets of hip-hop track after hip-hop track. He dropped “Express Yourself”, followed by “Original Don” by Flosstradamus, right into Bubble Butt, then right into a remix to “Drop it Like its Hot” by Snoop Dogg, followed by a remix to the Macklemore track “Can’t Hold Us”.
The crowd went nuts each time the song changed, with only about 30 seconds of each song being played, but the songs just kept coming. After the Macklemore remix Diplo transitioned into the Meek Mill track “I’m a Boss”, then “Bugatti” by Ace Hood, followed by “Pop That” by French Montana, “Versace Versace” by Drake, “Tom Ford” by Jay-Z, and “You Don’t Even Know It” by Rocko/Rick Ross. He ended this onslaught of tracks with “I Can’t Stop” by Flux Pavilion, and the crowd went berserk.
And just like that, Major Lazer thanked the crowd, walked off the stage, and before we could even count to 5, GTA took over at 3am for the closing set of the night. We have seen GTA as headliners in Philly and at festivals such as ‘Made in America’, so we are well aware that the eclectic duo is talented. It wasn’t until about half-way through GTA’s set that the crowd seemed to somewhat disperse, but we really can’t blame them, as it was approaching 4am, New Years Eve was upon us, and we were hard pressed to find anyone who hadn’t exerted all their energy during Major Lazer’s set.
Although there were 8,000 people at the show, overall it was very well organized. Whether it was the various merchandise booths, the art installations, the “Twerk Wall”, the short drink lines or the maps handed out, it was clear that the promoters went the extra mile to make the best possible experience for the attendees. However, we would have liked to see more water being handed out in the pit versus being sold for $5/bottle. Although there was medical staff that diligently looked through the crowd for anyone in need of assistance, when you have 8,000 people packed into a small area, with people pushed up against the railings for hours on end, it’s good to see gestures such as free water. But $5 water is certainly better than not having any water at all, that’s for sure.
We are definitely going to keep an eye out for any upcoming events that RPM puts on. Getting to/from New York was far less of a hassle than imagined, and a change of scenery is always refreshing.
[Photo credit: Steve Garfinkel Photography]
You can view additional photos in the gallery below (click thumbnails to enlarge):