On Sunday night, when Deadmau5 took off the mau5head in the middle of his debut performance in Delhi, few would have anticipated what he was going to say. The Canadian progressive-house DJ invited musician Daler Mehndi on stage and for the next five minutes, the thousands gathered at the Buddha International Circuit in Greater Noida, were the loudest. From the intoxicated fans, to the boys behind the bars, and the cops, who were doing the rounds, everyone broke into a bhangra jig when Mehndi sang Tunak tunak tun and Deadmau5 mixed it with some thumping beats. Keeping the Holi spirit alive, Mehndi — wearing a glowing turban — also sang Rang barse and Ho jaayegi balle balle. Even the “EDM elite” gave in.
After playing the Tunak tunak tun mix in Mumbai on Saturday night and the constant chatter about meeting Mehndi, we had expected this from the DJ. But to actually watch Mehndi alongside Deadmau5 was surreal — after all, we grew up on bhangra beats of the turbaned popstar before moving on to Deadmau5. For a ’90s kid growing up in north India, this was a special moment, no doubt.
And it was with this collaboration that the hyped debut tour of one of the world’s most popular DJs ended. Brought in by event management company, Percept, 33-year-old Joel Zimmerman aka Deadmau5’s set lasted less than two hours, leaving many unsatisfied. Of course, he played his well known tracks — from Strobe to The reward is cheese — that had his fans swaying and dancing. He finished the performance with Raise your weapon, a perfect pick; but it ended abruptly and even as the crowd chanted “one more”, we knew it was time to head home.
Also, what happened to the visuals? Deadmau5 gigs across the world are known for being edgy with his signature cube visuals adding the trippy factor to his performances. Sunday night didn’t see anything exceptional.
Though he did manage to set the right tempo, and there were thousands of happy faces when he played the unrehearsed Mehndi mix. In fact, his contemporaries could learn a thing or two from him, as he mixed things up by playing different setlists in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. But a hardcore mau5fan can’t help but feel a bit unloved and disappointed.