Updated May 23, 2022 - 6:59 am
We were promised a shot at nirvana.
“If you stay up all night / If I stay up all night /We might just make it to heaven,” singer Raye cooed in song on David Guetta and Morten’s “Make It to Heaven,” which the two performed Saturday at the KineticFIELD in front of an ocean of bodies.
We did, in fact, stay up all night — three of them, to be exact.
Did we make it to heaven?
Well, we made it through the Electric Daisy Carnival, which is an otherworldly experience in its own way, and certainly qualifies as the Promised Land for the nearly half-million fans who packed Las Vegas Motor Speedway this past weekend.
“I’ve never seen so many people in my life before,” Morten gushed before introducing his partner.
“EDC, can you feel the love?!” Guetta then asked upon taking the mic.
That was a rhetorical question, but we’ll answer it anyway: Here are a few takeaways from the electronic dance music love fest that was EDC 2022:
The least likely song to be heard at EDC 2022, Part 1
And now for a few bars of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” at a big ol’ dance party in May.
Looks of confusion were as common as glow sticks during Grimes’ transfixing, sometimes head-scratching — in a good way — DJ set at the CosmicMEADOW on Saturday, which spanned Prince, Enya, Felix Jaehn, Marten Hörger, Britney Spears and the Bulgarian State Television Female Choir, to name but a few, with a little Vivaldi thrown in for good measure.
EDC’s lineup usually has an act or two outside the electronic dance music realm — it’s been more hip-hop heavy in recent years with the likes of DJ Khaled, A$ap Rocky, Post Malone and Metro Boomin.
Grimes sort of qualifies, though her left-field art pop has always been heavily informed by electronic music.
At EDC, she proved to have a firm grasp of the sounds at hand, with an ear for minimalist techno (Boris Brejcha, I_0, etc.)
Wearing a white dress that flowed in the air in unison with her neon green hair, Grimes had a couple of hiccups in her set: She inadvertently stopped songs short and started playing a track that she’d already aired, Marie Davidson’s “Work It,” before realizing it.
But she still kept a large crowd enthralled, opening with a new song, “Welcome to the Opera,” a collaboration with artist-musician Anyma, before further delving into her songbook as her set progressed, highlighted by a storming “We Appreciate Power.”
The appreciation was reciprocated here.
The least likely song to be heard at EDC 2022, Part 2
There they were, dueting on Sheryl Crow’s “If It Makes You Happy” like two teenage besties staying up all night during a sleepover, howling all their favorite songs into their hairbrushes and/or liquor bottles raided from Dad’s stash.
Meet Mija and GG Magree, aka So Tuff So Cute — and so, so awesomely obnoxious.
At the CosmicMEADOW on Saturday, the two DJ-producers roared through a set list akin to a millennial’s iPod on shuffle circa 2002. (DMX, Sum 41, Evanescence, Linkin Park and Disturbed hits blared among chest-caving beats). They even found time to excavate the corpse of Ashlee Simpson’s career with a little “La La.”
They took turns shaking their stuff atop the DJ booth, bellowing expletives into the mic and shouting out a couple of electro punk tunes of their own.
It was ridiculous, juvenile, profane — and just as much fun as all that sounds.
Your nose is less in-your-face than these two.
Biggest pairing of the weekend
The costume mouse heads were in the crowd, donned by fans, instead of the man on stage who made them famous.
In one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend, a helmet-less Deadmau5 debuted his new project, KX5, with fellow superstar DJ-producer Kaskade in front of a gigantic audience at the CircuitGROUNDS on Saturday.
Performing atop massive, mobile DJ booths positioned at opposite sides of the stage that came together and moved apart as the show progressed, the two alternated solo tracks — and previous collaborations “Beneath With Me” and “I Remember” — with new KX5 material, highlighted by first single “Escape,” for which they were joined on stage by singer Hayla.
Kaskade and Deadmau5 are good foils for one another, the former’s more refined melodic sensibilities blending well with the latter’s head-down progressive house and often relentless, near-hypnotic throb.
Performing together, they balance catchiness with concussiveness. Sing along — and then duck for cover.
Most overheard line at the festival
“Oh s—, we lost (insert friend’s name here).”
There weren’t as many costumes as in years past, it seemed — we did spot an excellent Lieutenant Jim Dangle from “Reno 911,” complete with Tom Selleck-worthy glued-on ’stache. But the fellow who turned a hollowed-out, 1980s computer monitor into a helmet — screen intact, fuzzy animal ears affixed on top — deserves some kudos. And a puff or two on an oxygen tank.
And the award for drawing the biggest crowd ever at the BassPOD goes to …
The Canadian dude fond of bass blasts forceful enough to pancake a bowling ball.
Now, we don’t have official numbers or anything, but in the nine years we’ve covered EDC, we’ve never seen an audience anywhere close to the size of the massive throng of humans gathered for Excision’s set at the BassPOD on Saturday. (He returned to the CircuitGROUNDS on Sunday.)
The crowd was so big that it was hard to get anywhere near the stage without becoming lacquered in the sweat of 1,000 strangers. It didn’t matter if you couldn’t really see his performance, though, because you could definitely feel it: Dude’s set rumbled like two fault lines getting into a bar fight.
Excision’s sledgehammer dubstep is so mechanized and motoric that when he tosses in a thrash metal riff, it almost sounds flute-like by comparison.
Ever wonder what cyborgs use to soundtrack their keg parties?
Wonder no more.
Distraction of the weekend
Of all the sights and sounds overflowing at EDC — all the inflatable aliens and pickles, the 2 a.m. Wacky Worm roller-coaster rides, the pregnant woman with “Bass Baby” written on her stomach, the rave dog — perhaps it was a video game that best encapsulated the essence of this weekend.
Said game was “House Hero,” a four-screen, eight-player game positioned beneath glowing circular lights near the Pixel Forest.
Here’s how it worked: Players control a couple of ravers firing kandi at a bunch of black-and-white worker-bee types in suits and ties, descending down, Space Invaders-style, while dropping a lethal payload of computers and cellphones.
When one of the 9-to-5ers gets hit with the kandi, they go from monochromatic stiffs to colorful ravers boogieing down.
It’s pretty much the same effect EDC intends to have on anyone who enters.
It’s all about leaving everyday concerns behind, going from that worker bee to someone dressed up as an actual bee.
Go ahead, try it for a night.
Contact Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476. Follow jbracelin76 on Instagram