As the rhythmic barrage at the top of “Pon De Floor” rang out and a corps of dancers marched onto stage sexy military style, pretty much everyone under 30 in Zilker Park stormed toward the Honda stage. This was clearly where the party was at.
Here are seven things that happened at Major Lazer’s Friday night turn up:
1. The dancers destroyed. “We’ve got the best dancers in the world!” one of the chanters declared near the top of the set. He wasn’t kidding. While the dance directives lobbed at the audience were pedestrian commands like “Jump!” and “Run!”, the onstage dancers whipped their bodies, high kicked and performed astounding gluteal acrobatics. Visual content for DJ-based acts can be a little iffy, but Major Lazer came with a full on stage show.
2. Ten percent of the audience possibly lost their shirts. Last time Major Lazer demanded ACL Festers strip down, the result was a raunchy bosom-bearing bonanza. This time the vast majority of the audience didn’t obey the command to remove their shirts, wave them over their heads, then throw them in the air. Hey, it was kind of chilly. And dark.
3. There was a sly Donald Trump dig. “This is what America’s about, not about building a wall to divide people, but everybody from every nationality having a good time.”
4. They worked the college angle. There’s a reason Major Lazer is one of the biggest acts in America right now. They know their audience and they feed them right. Not only did both the chanters rock burnt orange jerseys and direct the crowd to throw up their horns, UT mascot Hook ‘Em joined them onstage. Twice.
5. They brought (some) fire. Last year’s explosive Drake set probably set unrealistic expectations for ACL pyrotechnics, but at various points through their set — most appropriately, during “Blaze Up the Fire” — reasonably-sized balls of flame erupted around the stage.
6. They took us back. They revisited their own early dancehall fusion days with “Get Free,” one of their first hits, but they also took us back to last year’s ACL 2015 with a quick remix of “Jumpman,” a song Drake and Future debuted live in Zilker Park last year. Other quick cuts they threw in included Rihanna’s “Work” and Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us.”
7. They called for unity. During the afore-mentioned Macklemore jam, the audience was instructed to put their hands up and grab the hand of the person next to them. Then they began to close the set out with “Lean On” while a graphic of clasped hands with the words Major Lazer unity splashed across the stage. While there was still top-notch twerking aplenty onstage, the set felt less like it had evolved from boozy bacchanal they brought last time they hit ACL. This time, it was a super lit dance party infused with a message of peace, love and togetherness.