At the top of their game, Swedish House Mafia kicked off their farewell tour, “One Last Tour,” Wednesday with a massive party at Bill Graham Civic center.
With an entire wall of the arena covered with screens, lights and a DJ console probably unmatched by any other production team, the night marked one more defining moment for EDM’s emergence as a dominant part of pop culture in the U.S.
And the party Wednesday was just the beginning. With four more nights of sold out shows at the arena, it’s the first time in recent memory—probably since Jerry was alive with the Dead—that any act has filled the auditorium for that many consecutive nights.
It wasn’t just the diehard candy ravers and bass heads looking for a place to party and let their freak flag fly. A cross section of Bay Area kids, wearing everything from street clothes to little more than glowing panties and a bra or a Power Rangers outfit, filled in the bottom floor and most of the balcony seats.
The trio emerged just after 10pm with a house beat and the simple message: We Come / We Rave / We Love. They continued with pyrotechnics, hard house, blasts of smoke and shifting screens with industrial fragments, bursting dots and flashing skulls.
The party peaked a half hour before midnight as the 2012 single “In My Mind” wrapped with a drop that lit the room with the oddly patriotic backdrop of the American flag and sparklers shooting up from the front of the stage.
The obvious crowd pleasers followed: radio friendly pop tracks “Don’t You Worry Child” and “Save the World,” but with the kind of bass that’s so loud it helps your heart beat a little. It’s mainstream dance music that’s sometimes an easy target, but up close, it was hard not to smile, dance, kiss and say goodnight. The show was an epic start to the end of a prolific run.
Swedish House Mafia perform at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium Feb. 14-17 before their North American tour ends Feb. 27 in Montreal. View more photos from Wednesday’s show.