As Josh Davis, aka DJ Shadow, hit the stage to the applause of the crowd, he mentioned that he was nervous. An odd feeling for an artist 20 years out from his first release and who has toured and collaborated with many incredible artists.
However, tonight was different. San Diego was the first stop in North America on the tour for his new album, The Mountain will Fall. Armed with a new record and a new set of visuals following the retirement of his Shadowsphere, DJ Shadow wants to make sure he gives the loyal fans a show they won’t soon forget.
The show starts off slow with the title track, “The Mountain will Fall,” before going deeper into his collection with “Walkie Talkie.” The more up-tempo drum beat and frantic scratching met the audience’s anticipation and got them moving and nodding to the beat. The thunderous bass kicked in and shook everything in the room, including the merch table.
As Shadow seamlessly mixed old and new tracks for the energetic crowd, one fan brought out some glow sticks. The fans’ frantic dancing was no match for the lighting set up. Lights 1, glowsticks 0. The new visuals were as impressive as Shadow’s skills. Three large screens were placed wrapped around the back of his set up and varied from shots of nature, to abstract lights zooming by the screen, to serene visuals of outer space. They matched the mood of the songs and definitely added to the experience.
Shadow hopped on the drum machine for “Bergshrund” to play along live with his track before he played more including “March of Death,” his politically charged collaboration with former Rage Against the Machine frontman Zach de la Rocha. Very fitting for an election year.
Before the next song, a very thin net was lowered in front of the stage and another projector roared to life. The projection on the net gave an illusion of objects floating in front of the crowd without blocking the view of the other screens or DJ Shadow.
The most memorable part of the show was one of his most recent singles, “Nobody Speak” featuring Run the Jewels. The music video featuring politicians starting a brawl played in the background as Killer Mike and El-P go back and forth at each other on the track.
Maybe it was the debate that took place the night before that prompted cheers after the line, “Flame your crew quicker than Trump fucks his youngest!” His three song encore ended with “Organ Donor”, a song off his first release, completing the journey from his latest album to his very first. At one point in the show, he mentioned that he made two small mistakes. Though a bit of a perfectionist, it’s clear that DJ Shadow genuinely wants to put on the best show possible for his fans and feeds off of the crowds’ energy and excitement. Mistakes or not, this was definitely a perfect night for many.
Post by Mauricio Gonzalez
Have you or will you be seeing DJ Shadow on this tour? Comment below.
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