The DJ world’s “it” boy of the moment, 23-year-old Swedish superstar Avicii (whose hit song “Wake Me Up” reached #1 in 70 countries and held the #1 spot on the ARIA Single Charts for 6 weeks) brought his True Tour to Perth Arena Monday night, and despite his relatively young age he has the skill of a master technician, turning regular songs into mega-hits and reminding us why it’s time for the DJ renaissance after a relatively dry period for the craft. And it says something about his universal appeal that the crowd comprised older fans as well, (most of them taking up seated positions, but still ready to stand up and dance for the big songs.)
Up and coming Melbourne DJ Will Sparks warmed up the crowd, providing those camping out at the front row a chance to road test their dance moves before Avicii came on. Although I wasn’t familiar with any of Will Sparks’ songs, they were catchy enough, and given enough airplay would probably have a good chance of getting stuck in your head. As befalls the lot of pretty much any supporting act, though, the crowd became restless towards the end and was anxious for the main attraction to start.
It was worth the wait. Starting off with his current hit single, “Hey Brother,” Avicii mixed it up from a platform high above the crowd, while behind him gigantic screens featured neon-coloured swirling images and smoke machines coughed their way onto the dance floor. The song is testament to his precision as an artist and his ability to turn what is essentially a knee-thumping country and western song into an incredibly catchy, irresistibly dance-worthy anthem.
Although I wasn’t familiar with all of his songs, I was surprised not only at the amount I did recognise, but at how well I knew them, (which is probably due to commercial radio’s tendency to flog the bigger hits many months after their release.) Several of them were remixes of mega-hits by other artists, but the majority were his own tunes or collaborations, with songs like “Addicted To You,” “Sunshine,” “Levels,” “I Could be the One,” “Fade into Darkness” and “You Make me” all being delivered throughout the set.
Avicii had quite the catalogue to get through in a relatively short period of time, so I understand that there wasn’t much time for lengthy digressions, but I was a little disappointed that this resulted in such limited interaction with the crowd; the songs merging into one another without any recognition of the audience at all. I’m not sure if that’s because he’s uncomfortable with banter, or because he thinks it will mess with his aesthetic, but it felt a little impersonal; more like you were at a club than at a concert. The go-to-phrase “Thanks Perth, you’ve been great,” was pulled out towards the end, but that’s about as far as crowd communication went.
Once again, Perth Arena shows that it can contend with the best as an entertainment venue with its impressive sound system and dazzling pyrotechnics. For some shows, seats are the preferable choice, but considering the energy of this kind of music and the natural impulse to dance, general admission might be the way to go in future (many of the seated ended up standing, anyway).
All in all, Avicii delivered an extravaganza of sight and sound, going out on a high with an encore of “Wake Me Up.” Good things truly do come to those that wait.
with special guests Will Sparks (Syd/Perth), Joel Fletcher (Bris/Melb), New World Sound (all cities) and Throttle (Syd/Melb)
Fri 24 Jan The Riverstage | Ticketmaster.com.au | Ph: 136 100
Sat 25 Jan Centennial Park | Moshtix.com.au | Ph: 1300 GET TIX (438 849)
Sun 26 Jan Showgrounds | Moshtix.com.au | Ph: 1300 GET TIX (438 849)
Mon 27 Jan Perth Arena | Ticketek.com.au | Ph: 132 849