This past Sunday, a young 22-year-old from Chapel Hill, North Carolina brought one of his most coveted shows to Downtown Miami at one of the biggest electronic dance music festivals in the world. With his album Worlds being out for only half a year, Porter Robinson traveled the globe to share a brand new live experience with fans who had waited over a year to hear his new material (and boy, did he deliver). Although he brought this experience to Miami once before during his North American tour (which I caught), he now continues to keep the show alive by bringing it to the stages of music festivals. If you plan on catching his live shows at places like Coachella, Mysteryland, Outside Lands, HARD Seattle, or any other location he plans on doing his live performances and want an idea on how it’s different from his original tour, continue reading.
Porter Robinson performed on the Live Stage at Ultra Music Festival where he was playing at the same time as David Guetta on the Main Stage, Armin van Buuren at the A State Of Trance Stage, Art Department at the Resistance Stage, and the Magician at the Worldwide Stage. Up against some of the biggest names in EDM, Mr. Robinson starts off with his intro version of “Sad Machine” and captivated the audience to sing along to the live renditions of songs like “Sea Of Voices”, “Lionhearted”, “Years Of War”, and “Hear The Bells”. Then there are the harder songs that shock and awe the crowd such as “Divinity”, “Flicker”, and especially “Fresh Static Snow” entrancing the people to jump, shake, and dance. Even the remakes of pre-Worlds tracks like “Unison”, “Easy”, “Say My Name”, and “Language” (the show finisher) make remarkable appearances like they did during his original tour.
Unlike the time I saw Porter Robinson at The Fillmore in Miami Beach, his performance at the UMF level felt rushed. Because Porter Robinson’s set sits between different performances from other musicians, there are moments where the show doesn’t have the same intimacy as it would have if it were not bound by time constraints. For example, the shorter range in time sacrificed the live versions of “Natural Light” and “The Seconds” out of his Ultra set which add extra flavor to the original show (much like the other live versions during the show). Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that although there were enough LED screens around Porter Robinson for the fans to see the outstanding visuals, they were not the same gigantic three that were part of his first showcase of his new tour. I may be nitpicking here, but it makes the whole experience feel much smaller than previous installments of Worlds. However, first time viewers of a Worlds show and returning fans can still enjoy the show because it is still as fantastic now as it was for me back in October.
The crowd’s resonance was also something that I felt would not have been as intense as it was during his first Worlds tour. Holding a show in an indoor venue versus an outdoor one can be difficult for musicians to maintain a solid crowd, especially when they are given a set time against other musicians within a walkable distance. Considering that Porter was up against plenty of musicians, two of whom were once ranked as DJ Magazine’s top DJ, he retained a massive turnout that danced and sang with overzealous smiles on their faces. He swept the audience away with an opportunity to travel across many worlds conjured in marvelous music and solidified in breathtaking visuals.
What Porter Robinson offers at the music festival level may not be as personal or surrounding as his earlier touring. However, saying that, “it’s not as good as before” in this case is like saying, “this apple would have been better if it was peeled”. In other words, it’s still a top quality show packed with high-energy sounds and tear-jerking emotion. If you’ve never seen Worlds before, go check it out. If you’ve seen before and liked it, check it out again anyway. It’s a show that’s here now and once he’s done with the idea Porter Robinson will be onto the next big idea in his ever creative mind. Whether it’s Worlds 2.0 or something else entirely, catch it while he’s still doing it before it is too late.