Notions of stuffy “penguin suits” and gala dresses were thrown out the door immediately when the first press released “teaser” video for headlining Axwell (of Swedish House Mafia) and the Cosmic Opera. Predicted to be the first of its kind and an “extrasensory experience”, not many of us had any clue what to expect, except the unexpected.  With every detail leading up to the event kept very hush-hush, everyone was on the edge of their seat in anticipation of what to come.  No_ID‘s opening set was fair, but was dragged down heavily when an awkward and abrupt pause in the music lead to three Cirque du Soleil style acrobats shimmying down from an elaborate drapped system hanging from the ceiling.  No one really understood how this had anything to do with the music, and the timing seemed a bit off.

After the opening set, Thomas Gold started the main event out with his remix of Lady Gaga’s “Judas” which seemed to set the pace of the night well.  Gold has a reputation of being a crowd-pleaser, yet his set was mainly filled with lack-luster remixes when the crowd was expecting bigger things.  The main highlights of his set, in my opinion, were his versions of Afrojack’s “Lionheart“, Rihanna’s “We Found Love” and his original (not yet released) “Sing 2 Me“.

A somewhat surrealistic version of an opera singer then came to light and slowly descended upon the stage to reveal Axwell’s booth (a gigantic version of an organ), and the master of the night himself.  Again, the seam seemed a bit awkward and somewhat unnecessary, almost as if some element were missing to link it into the action perfectly.  He started his set with his biggest hit of the moment “In My Mind“.  After this opening is when I discovered the best element of the set, a strategically angled series of mirrors behind the giant organ that let the crowd see what Axwell’s equipment consisted of and what his hands were doing.  This was the first time I have ever seen this, and thought this was quite compelling and involving for the crowd.  Other highlights from the set include the expected “Antidote”, “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall”, “Save The World”, and Nero’s “Promises”.

[youtube http://youtu.be/cvR8O3l7vyc]

The music, set, and light/laser show was amazing, but the Cosmic Opera event, for me, was a classic case of over-hyping and not delivering.  Though I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and the music, I thought the night did not deliver on all of its promises.  I did not get the “theatrical” and opera vibe that I was expecting at all.  The night’s theatrics seemed poorly planned and awkward.  Also, the event was missing an overall narration if it wanted to consider itself an “opera”.  There was no cohesive narrative or element to keep the night flowing smoothly, it seemed more like a normal night of sets with a bunch of random theatrics thrown in.  We hope that for Acts II and III (which are to come sometime in Spring & Summer 2012), that the production tweaks a bit to make all of our initial dreams come true.  We will keep you all updated on details of the forthcoming Cosmic Opera events as we receive information in the future.

About Amelia Waters