Zedd September 21, 2013 Madison Events Center With a hectic security system, oversized VIP section and timing being completely off, the music was the only thing that shined Saturday night.
Taking the light rail to the show was an interesting start to the night, but hell, why not, right? Getting off at Washington and Central Avenue felt pretty typical, right until the walk to the venue led straight through the government district. Everyone in rave gear walked past Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office to go join their kandi, edm, shuffling-friends.
I don't know--how much of a contradiction was it to be partying across the street from the 4th Avenue jail?
Walking into the venue wasn't so simple, however, thanks to an impossibly slow line. Yes, everything was high-tech. Yes, there were scanners that read off all the information on your ID to guarantee that everyone was at least 18 years old to enter. Yes, the security was thorough. These are all good things. But when it didn't work hand-in-hand with time, it turned disastrous. And that was the result of it all last night--a disaster, if one that ended with a big show from Zedd.
I was lucky enough to get into the venue about 15 to 30 minutes after I had arrived. The only reason I was able to do so was because my tickets were waiting at will call, which happened to be inside a fence opening that had a larger line trying to herd those with tickets already in their hands. Having a ticket in your hand, ready to go, might seem like a good way to get in more smoothly, but that didn't happen last night.
Some friends I'd ridden to the venue with were among those unfortunate souls. They shouldn't have been unfortunate, but thanks to Saturday night's issues the rest of my group--which arrived to the entrance at 9:30--didn't step foot past the security and into the actual venue itself until 11:15.
My friends and the other responsible ones missed Alex Metric, who was giving the crowd a groovy and funky start.
Shorty after Metric's performance, a duo by the name of Ecotek took the stage, throwing down some harder beats and bringing out the bass a bit more. They were just all right--they lacked some sense of melodic flow and control over the audience. It wasn't their fault: the crowd wanted Zedd.
But again, last I heard the sooner you come to the show the better. Not Saturday. After Ecotek's performance, I received a text from my roommate, who arrived to the venue at 10 and didn't get in till past midnight.
Zedd was supposed to step onto stage at midnight, but it didn't work out that way. According to Twitter, Zedd didn't want to take the stage until everyone had gotten through that excuse for a line. The show ended up starting 30 minutes later than scheduled; this left a good 30 minutes or more of silence on the stage for a restless crowd--eager for Zedd and angry with the way things had gone tonight.
One more fun fact: The venue sold out of water. No, let me rephrase, they ran out of water by 1:15 a.m. That thing the human body needs to survive; they didn't have enough. Since this was an outdoor venue, you'd think they would've understood that water must never go out of stock at an event like this, but it did.
When he finally took the stage, 30 minutes late, the crowd and the sound system each let out a relieved cry. He explained the reason for the delay, as he had on Twitter, and then launched into a set that made it all worthwhile, eventually.
Sorry for the long line guys! I'm gonna wait for u guys to get in there before I start!!! Police is being strict. We're doing our best.
— Zedd (@Zedd) September 22, 2013
Making up for lost time, Zedd dropped hit after hit--"Clarity," "Spectrum," Knife Party's "LRAD", EDM-anthem "Cinema." Even his remix of Martin Garrix's "Animals," with a trap-tone that seems a bit non-Zedd until he nails it.
The visuals were spectacular. The sound was tremendous, rolling over buildings in the government district of downtown Phoenix. Overall, Zedd aced his Phoenix test. The venue security may need to retake it.
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Critics Notebook: Last Night: Zedd at the Madison Events Center The Crowd: A sweaty mess of stressed-out Zedd-lovers wondering when the hell Zedd would actually play. Overheard in the Crowd: "Zedd needs to come already; I need to fist pump," said the bro behind me. Personal Bias: Besides the actual music that was played last night, the show failed on several aspects in my view, and I know those around me would agree. The music was spectacular as could be, and the venue has so much potential. But security, timing, and even water management was a failure. Random Notebook Dump: Anyone else notice how big the VIP section is? Okay, now look over there again. Yeah, that's right--there's barely anyone in the section. The big crowd could have been much more comfortable if the mostly empty VIP section weren't at least a third the amount of space given to the sold-out crowd smashing themselves together on a blacktop lot.