By Adam Kargenian
Robert van de Corput might not be one of the most household names in America. When asking concertgoers outside of Madison Square Garden where I might find Mr. van de Corput on Nov. 15, most answered in wild bewilderment.
“Who’s that?” “Never heard of him, sorry mate.” “No clue dude.” But when asked about the show they were about to see, most responded in sudden ecstasy. “I can’t wait for tonight! I fricken love Hardwell!”
Little did they know the two personas I questioned for were the same exact person.
Taking the main stage at Madison Square Garden, Hardwell capped his “I Am Hardwell” Tour to a crowd approaching 30,000 attendees.
When asked about what these shows differed from seeing on the festival circuit, Hardwell told Dancing Astronaut, “It’s more like a Hardwell showcase of everything I’ve been working on in the past, like a musical journey – a Hardwell journey.”
The words “musical journey” are the key in this phrase. Rather than a usual 60 or 90 minute set found from the likes of the Electric Daisy Carnival or Miami’s Ultra Festival, Hardwell has given himself three hours to spin at each of these shows: 180 minutes of consistent house drops and tunes.
The Garden might not appear to be the most welcoming of environments for electronic music; most festivals are entirely general admission, and thus the surrounding seats in the Garden’s floor are not exactly rave friendly. Yet fans didn’t seem to give a single damn as Hardwell took the stage following his opening act from Dannic. From 9:00 pm to midnight, there was constant movement both on the floor and in the seats above.
As for the music itself, Hardwell seemed to constantly incorporate other artist’s hits to get the crowd going. Although van de Corput’s own “Sky Full of Stars” remix was met with great enthusiasm, there was even more hype when when Armin van Buuren’s “Ping Pong” led into Dmitri Vegas, Like Mike, & Martin Garrix’s “Tremor.” Despite being what seemed to be the millionth time this season, Cedric Gervais’ “Summertime Remix” reared its head, with everybody seemingly loving it.
Perhaps it was the production. Love or hate his music, Hardwell knows how to put on a show: lasers, lights, pyro—anything was put into play here. Three gigantic LED screens flaunted behind van de Corput at all times, and multiple confetti blasts accentuated the sets.
From the floor, I could give a damn less about the set in front of me. Yet from the ecstatic cheers and faces from those around me, I might have been an oddity in the Garden that night.
Adam Kargenian is a contributing writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org