Swedish House Mafia tear down a pair of stadiums in their long-awaited return to the West Coast after nine years [Review]

Swedish House Mafia tear down a pair of stadiums in their long-awaited return to the West Coast after nine years [Review]

The last decade of Swedish House history has been defined by a journey of ups and downs. Axwell, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso first called it quits back in 2013, with one final West Coast outing at Los Angeles State Historic Park, followed by an emotionally charged farewell at Miami’s Bayfront Park shortly thereafter. Then came a stretch of five long years that found Angello working solo while Axwell and Ingrosso took their two-man show on the road. By 2018 came a momentous reunion in the same place where it all ended, at the main stage of Miami’s Ultra Music Festival, but since then, COVID and other operational delays extended the Mafiosos’ hiatus even further. But now, after nine grueling years, droves of fans by the thousands have gotten to experience Swedish House Mafia live, many for the first time. With a new album, Paradise Again under their belts, Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Steve Angello appropriately commenced their monumental comeback where things once ended, now nine years in the rearview—Miami, Florida. While early on high ticket prices may have been met with some skepticism, it wasn’t long before footage of the shows reached the internet, and ravers near and far realized that Swedish House Mafia’s glorious return to form wasn’t just some reunion concert, but rather a can’t-miss event that would leave its mark on dance music history.

With the first half of their North American dates for the Paradise Again tour behind them, the trio decided it was time to shake up the tracklist a little bit for their long-awaited return to the West Coast. Dancing Astronaut was on hand to experience a pair of stops at both Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena and Los Angeles’ Banc of California Stadium. The atmosphere leading up to the two shows was charged, and well before the Swedes took the stage each night, the energy was palpable. By this point in the tour, Swedish House Mafia had simply reconfirmed what the revelers from previous last decade already knew—arenas and stadiums are where they belonged, and they can masterfully command a space unlike many others.

Credit: Michael Drummond

Opening in Las Vegas with the recognizably dark undertones of “Can U Feel It,” the crowd knew they were in for a spectacle that night. In terms of a tour concert, Swedish House Mafia performed to what had to be one of the most engaged pit crowds in recent memory. The crowd seemed to be familiar with the lyrics of both Paradise Again tracks and the Swedes’ esteemed catalog hallmarks alike, all with the same collective back-of-the-hand comfortability. The gratitude was reciprocated back at the audience that night as Axwell took to the microphone a handful of times to express his gratitude for those that were able to be in attendance.

Credit: Michael Drummond

While the first half of the Las Vegas performance followed a similar framework as prior tour stops, the trio did treat the loyal crowd to a brand new ID, sending attendees into frenzied mayhem. A completely new sound for the group, the track revealed yet another ace up the venerated producers’ sleeves. Whoever said old dogs can’t learn new tricks obviously didn’t know what Axwell, Ingrosso, and Angello are capable of.

Axwell unearthed his now 10-year-old “In My Mind” mix, featuring the seldom played track’s original break. While the bygone version of “In My Mind” may have been the sleeper highlight of the show, it was simply hard to contend with with the iconic finishing crescendo of “Don’t You Worry Child” matched with “For You” and “Save The World.”

The next stop on tour for Swedish House Mafia would be none other than Los Angeles, harkening a range of emotions that stemmed from their 2013 farewell performance. The evening was expected to be the largest of their North American run. And on the day of their performance, Swedish House Mafia announced on Instagram that the Banc of California Stadium was officially sold out, with upwards of 22,000 people expected to be in attendance. A sell-out felt like the most apropos way of picking things back up from where they had left off at LA State Historic Park nearly a decade before.

Credit: Michael Drummond

But all in a day, the journey of ups and downs raged on, culminating in dramatic, grandiose effect. In the midst of a heat wave, the show was put into question as a thunderstorm rolled into downtown Los Angeles. After originally moving the set times up by two hours in hopes to precede the storm, the rain caused an additional 30 minute delay to properly cover up equipment. As management and the venue urged the Mafia to cancel their show, the boys decided the show must go on. Risking millions of dollars in equipment, almost cinematically, a black-clad, rain-soaked Swedish House Mafia put on the show of a lifetime in a torrential downpour. The rain added a beautiful effect to the show as the lasers glistened in the sky over beloved hits like “Calling,” “Miami 2 Ibiza,” “Antidote,” and of course many more. With fireworks shooting into the night sky on nearly a third of the songs, and pyrotechnics scorching at least 100 feet over the middle of the stadium floor, Swedish House Mafia put thousands of Californians in awe.

It was cinematic; poetic even. The inimitable mix of rain, lasers, and pristine electronic hits that still hold up a decade later, was a spectacle to behold. Minor technical issues, and perhaps a trace amount of hyperbolic fan bias aside, it felt like a moment in US dance music history—the night Swedish House Mafia came back to LA.

Featured image: Michael Drummond

Tags: axwell, banc of california stadium, Paradise Again, sebastian ingrosso, steve angello, Swedish House Mafia, t-mobile arena

Categories: Features, News

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