By Nick Philippou
This past weekend, Randall’s Island again played host to an eclectic fusion of electronic dance music at one of New York’s fastest growing music festivals – Electric Zoo. Headlined by the likes of Tiësto, David Guetta and Armin van Buuren, dance music’s elite conducted their own brand of symphony to a melting pot of an estimated 85,000 fans over three days and nights at summer’s last official hoorah. With international artists spanning multiple stages across the massive concert grounds, killer sets were by no means hard to come by, but we have narrowed it down to five of the most noteworthy acts that graced the main stage and put their mark on NYC’s dance music monster.
Armin van Buuren
Sunday’s finale featured Armin van Buuren, the reigning king of trance, directing a triumphant, crowd-pleasing closing set to the weekend. AVB fired off a barrage of his international smash-hit tracks like ”Full Focus” and ”Silent Hearts,” featuring BT mixed against Simon Patterson’s “Latika” before powering through Eric Prydz’s remix of Dépêche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.”
He teased an early ending at 10:50 PM, leaving the stage after “In and Out of Love” seemingly closed his set. Then moments later, an echoing chant of “we want more” was answered by a red and white firework-filled spectacle, choreographed to the beats of AVB’s “This Light Between Us,” to close the weekend.
Just prior to AVB, Afrojack filled the main stage and grounds to capacity, as the eager crowd chanted his name even before he opened with ”Bangduck,” one of growing list of signature tracks. He also debuted at least two new songs, one called “Vancouver,” he said were from his upcoming album on Wall Records, and another, still untitled, Afrojack brashly told the audience he made the night before.
Saturday night, David Guetta opened his set presenting the crowd with his latest collaboration with Afrojack, “Lunar,” fresh off of Guetta’s fifth studio album, “Nothing But the Beat,” a double-CD released August 26.
Guetta tapped into his signature electro-pop sound, bridging his set with his new, upbeat and highly melodic alliance with Avicii, called “Sunshine,” before channeling crowds to sing along to his growing list of mainstream pop hits like “The Club Can’t Handle Me Right Now,” featuring Flo Rida. He zestfully closed his set with “Where Them Girls At,” also with Flo Rida and Nicki Minaj.
Tiesto also revealed new music at Electric Zoo, including his imminent international hit “Maximum Crazy,” which was released today on Beatport.com. The track brought the crowd to a frenzy as a confetti bomb exploded in the Friday night breeze, making the sky appear pixilated, like an impressionist’s painting.
Tiesto exuded his trademark swagger on stage, while incorporating new music with some of his classics like “Adagio for Strings,” his remix of Hans Zimmer’s “He’s a Pirate,” and “Escape Me,” featuring C.C. Sheffield.
DJ Snoopadelic, another of his many monikers, The Doggfather of Hip-Hop, Snoop Dog himself, somewhat surprisingly hit the main stage Sunday with a scattered selection of hits from Martin Solveig’s “Hello,” to the Fugee’s rendition of “Killing You Softly.” Snoop sprinkled reggae, a pinch of Michael Jackson's classics and a dash of classic R&B, like Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative,” to compete for the crowd’s attention.
He closed his set by performing his hit “Drop it Like it’s Hot,” minus Pharrell, but not before encouraging festival goers to light up – and he wasn’t referring to glow-sticks.