DJ Shadow

photo by Brad Bretz

Yep, he was inside of a giant fuckin’ sphere!

Park West was packed out. I’m not a big fan of the place with its yuppie booths, but if DJ Shadow is playing, I’m there, booths or not. The sphere was already on stage, evoking whispers along the lines of “is he gonna be in that thing?” and “is it, like, rotating?” Boy, was everyone in for a big treat.

I didn’t care much for the opening act. I’ll leave it at that. I’m sure Pigeon John (and his two female companions) did have enough (and probably make some new) fans among the 18+ crowd (especially its 20- part). It just seemed like an odd choice to me (style-wise) and went on for a long hour, by the end of which the crowd had gotten REALLY Shadow-hungry. The Shadowshere took a little while to “connect to server”. Or something. Which gave a chance for iPhone owners to lock and load their beloved digital friends, and for iPhone-less folks to get another round of Miller Lite. And then an hour and a half of audio-visual terror began. Shadow said later in the show that he wanted to do something different with the setup of the show, to give people more for their money. And more did they get. The freakin’ sphere was indeed rotating and turning into every ball-shaped object you can possibly imagine, from, yes, a basketball to, sure, planet Earth to (I bet you didn’t see that one coming) Death Star. Plus occasional projections of DJ Shadow inside the thing and Justin Bieber‘s head exploding. I’m actually surprised my head didn’t explode – so intense the visuals were, combined with Shadow‘s uptempo reworkings of the old favorites (the drum’n’bass “Six Days” anyone?) plus highly flammable new material like “Def Surrounds Us”. After a while his hand appeared from the top of the sphere – pretty funny/crazy. And then the sphere turned around and there he was, working his turntable magic with unearthly speed and accuracy, while the crowd was going berserk. He played only his own stuff this time, in the spirit of the strangely intimate atmosphere of the show. After Shadow-junkies finally got their hit of “Organ Donor”, he came out (should I say ‘emerged’?) from the sphere to give some friendly handshakes and even friendlier thanks to his Chicago fans. He said that he’s never on TV or the radio, yet people paid to see him and to show their support for progressive artform of DJ-ing. Something along those lines. Very touching. He gave back, big time. He says that he loves Chicago, and Chicago loves him back. Always welcome.

I’m not posting any videos, because they just don’t do the show justice. Gotta be there. Suckahz.

DJ Shadow Setlist Park West, Chicago, IL, USA 2010

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