Swedish House Mafia concert is the ‘antidote’ for worry

Alex Burnham, Writer

Promoting their commercially successful sophomore album “Until Now,” released October 2012, Swedish House Mafia is embarking on the final tour of their career. The international group performed in Chicago on Feb. 20, forging a confluence of impressive showmanship and musical talent.

The show’s venue, the United Center, had thousands of fans crammed into multiple tiers of rowdiness. Even in the upper levels, viewers fist pumped, danced and shouted with the vivacity of those on the floor.

However, the select few lucky enough to procure general admission tickets were rewarded both with proximity to the stage and to other fans. A throng of chanting attendees pushed one another through the concert, resembling a bunch of sardines.

Once Swedish House Mafia climbed onto the stage, the throng of fans convulsed with elation. Above the stage a silver curtain dropped, revealing a wall of electronic equipment and lights. Then the upper half of the wall began to ascend, which exposed the trio.

Immediately, the beat to “Greyhound” bombarded the audience with blasts of low-resonating frequency. Chanting exploded throughout the auditorium. Music blared for an eternity, reverberating off the walls and cascading across sections.

Flames flashed from the stage, erupting in unison to the song’s beat. The pattern continued throughout the chorus and then ceased.

Eventually frontman Axwell took the stage, thanking the members of his crew. He congratulated the pyrotechnic genius, the laser wizard and the magician who controlled the lights on the screens above and below Swedish House Mafia. But Axwell also extolled one more contributor — his Chicago fans. At this, the crowd went wild. Fans screamed and shouted, stomped their feet and pounded their fists against the metal grating in the upper sections.

The group performed classic hits, such as the aforementioned “Greyhound,” “Kidsos” and “Antidote.” They even had the audience sing the lyrics to “Miami 2 Ibiza,” due to Tinie Tempah’s absence.

Then a hurricane of excitement swept through the building once Swedish House Mafia slowly introduced the music to their breakout single “Don’t You Worry Child.” Everything rattled. The general admission throbbed with fervor. Audience members sung intervals of the chorus at Swedish House Mafia’s command; elated attendees jumped and raved to the incredible resonance.

And then it appeared finished. The electronic screens above and below Swedish House Mafia faded and crackled, as if an internal malfunction disrupted their capabilities. Music warbled and faded in and out of key.

But just as the last echo faded into nothingness and the empty, black screen offered no more entertainment, music returned. “Save the World” blared from the speakers and an incredible array of lasers darted across the arena. The collection of green lights and powerful tunes disrupted any thoughts of a finale. This network of web-like radiance continued to shine until balloons and confetti blasted from unknown origins.

Finally, after an incredible climax sequence of dramatic stagecraft, the music did end. Axwell climbed the stage once more and thanked Chicago for an incredible show. The silver curtain descended. Swedish House Mafia came, they loved, they raved.