As midnight approached at the Palace of Auburn Hills Monday, it looked as though the new year would be rung in with “No Woman, No Cry.” Bob Marley music had been playing over the house speakers since German electronic producer Boys Noize wrapped his set at 11:20, and fans were anxiously awaiting both the new year and the arrival of electronic music superstar Skrillex, the evening’s headliner.
But with five minutes to go before the arrival of 2013, a countdown appeared on the big screen, accompanied by a video of Skrillex’s recent career highs. And at the stroke of midnight, Skrillex himself appeared, with canons of confetti exploding over the crowd as the party kicked into high gear.
In a stage set that looked like an X-Wing Fighter from “Star Wars” and backed by massive hi-def video screens and constant bursts of pyro, fireworks and confetti streamers, Skrillex brought non-stop energy and relentless headbanging beats in his 90-minute set. The massive production — screens were filled with images of menacing robots, video game footage and even clips of “Wreck-It Ralph” — was matched by the 24-year-old Grammy winner’s boundless energy, as he was constantly bouncing, bobbing and weaving while keeping the party at a peak for its duration.
The concert was the biggest electronic music event the Palace has hosted to date, and aattendance was spotty, with an eyeball estimate of around 5,000-6,000 fans. Those in attendance — a young-leaning crowd that came dressed to party like it was June, not winter — partied late into the night at both a side stage set up off the Palace concourse and at an afterparty that featured the debut performance from Dog Blood, the new collaboration between Skrillex and Boys Noize.