Skrillex live in New York City: a once-in-a-lifetime rave at the Garden

Madison Square Garden, February 18: The EDM titan took over the Garden with Four Tet and Fred Again.. playing a surprise-fueled five-hour set

When you think of Madison Square Garden, it’s unlikely that visions of a tightly packed club come to mind. You’re more likely to imagine an artist like Billy Joel since he’s played the infamous arena 87 times, but pop piano ballads are nowhere to be heard at the Garden on Saturday night (Feb 18), that is, unless they were interloped with buzzing and percolating IDM beats. Following the drop of his first full-length solo release, ‘Quest For Fire’ on Friday, Skrillex takes over Madison Square Garden, and in some ways, all of New York City.

The takeover started when he first announced the MSG show, sharing that he’d be joined by Four Tet and Fred Again… before selling out the Garden in a matter of minutes. Next, the takeover stopped at Time Square, as the dance supergroup played a surprise set to thousands from a school bus-turned sound system. But the surprises didn’t stop there, as disco balls lit up the Garden, which was overflowing with fans dressed in festival garb, sunnies, and even furry boots. Skrillex drops a second feature-heavy LP (PinkPantheress, Justin Bieber, Kid Cudi) called ‘Don’t Get Too Close’, right in the middle of the gig. Porter Robinson also makes an appearance, performing a new track ‘Still Here’ from the album, which was announced only moments ago.

Skrillex Four Tet Fred Again...
Skrillex Four Tet Fred Again… CREDIT: Theo Batterham

Skrillex Four Tet Fred Again...
Skrillex Four Tet Fred Again… CREDIT: Theo Batterman


“I can’t believe we threw a rave at Madison Square Garden,” the EDM titan tells the crowd, in the middle of the five-hour-long set. “This is a very special night,” he adds, breathlessly. “This night will never happen again.” The DJs laugh, dance, and take turns spinning their hits, at multiple points wooing the crowd into a frenzy with ingenious mixes like a high-octane version of Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story’ and a fresh take on the formidable dancefloor banger, ‘Return Of The Mack’ by Mark Morrison.

As dance music bounces off the walls of the Garden not only does the venue take on a different hue thanks to rapid neon flashing lights, but the energy is different too. Fans are overflowing in the aisles but despite the venue being densely packed, everyone’s dancing together in sync proving the thousands of revellers are connected by much more than their ability to rapidly purchase a ticket. “We can have this moment right now and just love each other and appreciate the differences in each other and love each other for the different parts,” Skrillex says towards the end of the night, in a clear reflection of that palpable energy. “Fred, Kieran and I are all from different backgrounds, but somehow we made it on the stage at MSG with all you people.” Scanning the smiling faces in the crowd, it’s safe to say that Joel has a tough act to follow.


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