Madison Square Garden has been the scene of some of the most incredible talent and performers of recent times. Last week, however, it was the site of a grown man in a leather jacket in 30 degree weather, sobbing uncontrollably in front of a passively immobile 300-strong crowd.
Anyone but Hardwell could have known that things were not boding well when his entrance to the console was greeted by a lack of hand waves. A lesser artist might have carried on, played his or her set like a professional, and merely tweeted about the hipster dance move of arms rigidly folded across the chest, but not Robbert. After an awkward pause, Hardwell began spinning tracks off the new album while expectantly gesturing to the audience to raise their hands. They did not.
It might be the twelve vodka-tonics, or the three redbull whiskies talking, but this reporter would swear that it was the pantene-pro hair that broke down before Hardwell; layers and layers of product fleeing in disappointment. Stomping his feet after failing to elicit the response he was hoping for, Hardwell proceeded to play “Everybody Is In The Place” seven times while frenetically waving his hands like an soon-to-be-out-of-work aerobics instructor, while pointing to the crowd, presumably to confirm that everybody was indeed in the place. Receiving no further encouragement from the crowd, Robert left his console to update his facebook status to: ‘ ’, which is not to say that this wasn’t well-received.
If my memory serves me well, I may have let loose a, “Woo,” or “yeah,” of my own; more than enough to mollify any other DJ. 30 minutes into this set, Hardwell proceeded to wail and cry, even threatening to throw a cat at the crowd.
The remaining hour was spent in a similar manner, making it one of his best performances of the year.