Spring Awakening returned to Chicago's Soldier Field for its second year, and this time the festival spanned three full days, compared to last year's two-day duration. The festival consisted of four stages. Three smaller ones surrounded the outskirts of the stadium, and the main stage was right inside the stadium itself. Soldier Field swarmed with flocks of bright neon-clad festival goers, and smells of fried food and pizza filled up the stadium concession stands. Last year's Spring Awakening had been my first ever all-EDM Music Festival, so I was thrilled to revisit Soldier Field to see some new and returning artists perform this past weekend.
The Dutch duo fired up the crowd with some of their hits like “Cry,” “Out of My Mind,” and their remix of Dada Life's “Boing Clash Boom.” Their music almost had a remedial effect and got literally everyone up on their feet. A woman who had been sitting on a wheelchair stood up, and with a brighter look on her face, began to dance. And another guy, leaning against one crutch, raised his other crutch in the air to the beat of the music. Once Bingo Players played “Get Lucky,” everyone reacted with unrestrained excitement, and glowsticks and even rolls of toilet paper flew throughout the crowd.
R3hab's set spread good vibes from the front all the way to the back of the crowd. Fans chanted along with Skyler Grey's vocals to a remix of “I'm Coming Home,” and R3hab got the crowd more fired up as he dropped some Knife Party and Daft Punk's “Around the World,” which LED into “Epic.” The energy was infectious, with everyone clapping their hands, and even one of the event staff handing out drinks nodded his head along with the beats, which resulted in him receiving several high fives from the crowd.
Stage lights had a more visible effect as the sun set, and Nero took charge of the main stage with Flux Pavilion's “I Can't Stop” and his own tracks, “Promises” and “Me & You,” which served as major crowd pleasers. From the bleachers, the stage lit up and cast hues of orange, greens and blues upon the sea of ravers, which revealed a massive wave of hands moving up in the air. The stage lights and lasers worked with the music, darkening the stage right before a buildup, and exploding with a flurry of lights at the drop.
The main stage was completely packed in anticipation of Moby's set. Stage lights spun around like pinwheels, circling the stage with rising speed in tune to the music. During Alex Metric's “Prophecies,” green lasers created a net over the crowd, as if to capture their attention right before the drop, and lights flashed in a frenzy from the buildup to the drop. When Moby played “Infinity 2008,” everyone whistled and screamed in excitement at the unmistakable trumpet solo at the beginning, and lights were suspended in the air. Throughout Moby's performance, multiple glove shows went on, mesmerizing the audience around the glovers. Moby commanded the stage, beating both fists in the air in rhythm to the drums, and during Sharooz's “Get Off!,” he stood on top of the DJ stand with arms wide open as if to embrace the buzzing energy of the fans surrounding him.