I walked into the ballroom at the Borgata Event Center with my vision impaired. I am, of course, referring to the “I <3 MIXX” sunglasses the Borgata handed out which I was wearing in an already dim room. My hearing, however, was sharp and tuned into the hits coming through the speakers as Nicky Romero animated the growing crowd. Dropping beloved hits like Deniz Koyu’s “Bong” and Porter Robinson’s “Language,” it was easy for anyone to forget about their losses from the casino floor and easier to concentrate on the dance floor.
The immense size of the room allowed for ample room to move (and breathe!), which can be hard to find at a concert for a DJ of Guetta’s status. There was a large raised platform in the middle for anyone to go up and get the full light and sound effects. The booth was lit up with “Nicky Romero” across the front, and drew the crowd around it like moths to a flame. Around 12:30, Romero announced the next song would be his last. He pumped deadmau5’s “The Veldt” and ended it with one long, electronic note followed by a sudden silence. Even with the immense rounds of applause and cheers, the room seemed quiet. This illusion lasted for a few minutes as the anticipation of Guetta grew to an almost palpable feeling.
With a boom so loud I thought my eardrums had burst, David Guetta hit the first notes of his set for the night. Illuminated by a wall of glittering lights behind him, he smiled down on the crowd and began to play “Titanium.” He shielded his eyes from the spotlights and looked around as every mouth in the room sang along. As the song rose and the chorus came in, no sooner was the word “titanium” sung when the bass dropped and confetti rained down. Everyone began to jump, including Guetta himself. Lights flashed and irradiated faces, reflecting back and forth on everyone’s sunglasses. The energy was high as he moved on to Sebastian Ingrosso and Tommy Trash’s “Reload” and his own “She Wolf”. I knew that “Play Hard” with Ne-yo and Akon was coming up when I heard the easily recognized notes of “Better Off Alone,” which he samples in his song. Constantly flashing and ever changing, the entire wall behind the booth and the booth itself was lit up in all colors and shapes. Messages like “Put your fucking hands up” and “I love house music” would scroll across, or different lyrics would pop up as songs played.
Around 1:15am, about a half hour into his set, Guetta played the crowd favorite, “Sexy Bitch.” He mashed it with “Resurrection” while the words “sexy” and “bitch” flashed on the wall. He continued to play some of his biggest hits; “Turn Me On,” “Love is Gone,” and his newest, “Rest of My Life.” When “Don’t You Worry Child” exploded through the surround sound system, it was clearly an anthem for the crowd, as they passionately sang the familiar lyrics. I got worried around 1:45, an hour into his set, when he played “Just One Last Time.” It sounded like a goodbye, and I wasn’t ready to stop dancing. Everybody must have also been thinking “it’s getting late but I don’t mind…” because “Memories” came on next and reenergized the crowd. Upon playing “Metropolis,” Guetta climbed up onto the booth, threw his hands in the air and asked the crowd to make some noise…and get low. As the crowd complied, he played some dance-inducing electro. He ended with “Turn Me On,” “I Can Only Imagine,” and “Without You.” With a great sincerity, he thanked the crowd, and the lights went out as he left the stage. The show had ended.
A single spotlight shone upon Guetta as he put his headphones back on and gave us an encore. Afrojack’s “Pacha on Acid” was the song, but it was sandwiched between verses of “Wonderwall” by Oasis. Once again, he stood up on the booth to jump and dance.
Throughout the concert, it was impossible to not catch Guetta’s infectious energy. He has been an integral proponent in bringing electronic dance music mainstream in America, and it was clear from this show that he and his music are continually gaining popularity and deserved respect. His hits can be heard on any radio station you turn to and, after all, he is known for always putting on an unforgettable show. This was no exception.
–Marisa Bianco for EDMNYC