There are not enough words to describe the beauty that was Porter Robinson’s set at Second Sky. The main act of the weekend lived up to all the anticipation. All of the excitement. This, the definitive edition of the Worlds Live set was the most amazing concert experience I’ve ever had. Made even more special due to the fact that I missed out on Worlds Live back in the day.
This show is the pinnacle of everything that defines Porter as an artist. With music from all of his past projects including Shelter, Worlds, Language, Spitfire and even ‘Say My Name’ this show has everything you could ever want and so much more.
The songs we all know and love are handled so delicately in the live version. They blend and flow into each other. It’s a flawless hour and a half of music. And with each song are specially crafted visuals and lights. The timing of the music with the visuals is something so coordinated between Porter and his team (shout outs to Ghost Dad) it’s unbelievable.
Each moment of this show was special. Hearing Porter sing live on ‘Sad Machine’, and all of the other times he sang throughout the show. There’s a moment that was hard to catch live, but I’ve listened to it a few times in the recording, where Porter actually sings “Loneliness, melt this curse away” before ‘Fresh Static Snow’ ever plays. It just illustrates the interconnectivity of this entire show. The songs aren’t one and done, everything builds on itself.
It’s hard to pick a definitive “best part” but ‘Fresh Static Snow’ was certainly up there. He played his usual “evil” edit of the song. Where it’s menacing. Dark. The visuals are red and ominous. Our deer-headed friend looks downright demonic. And there are actual flames that shoot out from the stage. It’s terrifying. But beautiful. We’re experiencing an actual curse. And as it builds and builds, there feels like there’s no way out, but to explode. When it feels like there’s about to be a drop, the music melts away into the most beautiful and melodic synths. The colors lighten up and we feel okay. But the darkness is trying to force its way back in. But these angelic notes are fighting it off. There’s a literal war on the stage between the darkness and the light. And in the end, the beauty wins out.
The show is full of moments like that. Secret narratives hidden behind the music. It all adds so much depth to his already pretty deep discography.
Porter has performed Worlds Live in many iterations throughout the years. It changes every so often. This version is what he called the Definitive Version. To create this show, he went back through everything throughout the years. Old live edits, old visuals, everything. It filled him with an intense nostalgia and put back into his 2014 mindset.
“I had this dream of making this album that would allow people to escape into another world. That was one of my dreams. To create this music and this show that could kind of bring people to another place. And my other goal was…I think I really wanted to feel understood. … But what I want to say is…2014 me, that kid, his dream really came true. And it’s all because of you guys.”
As the final notes of ‘Goodbye to a World’ played out and we all thought it was goodbye, Porter proved that he had some tricks and surprises up his sleeves. He came back to play a beautiful version of ‘Language’ (full disclosure, I’m intensely biased, since ‘Language’ is my favorite Porter song). And then he left us once more. But the lights still weren’t up, and people were calling for ‘Shelter’ as there had only been a fleeting moment of it during the set.
After Madeon got announced for Second Sky, there were a bunch of fans pleading for the return of a Shelter Live Set. How could you not want that? Both of them would be there. It would be the perfect opportunity. But the more cynical fans argued that that would never happen. And it didn’t. But we did get something at least.
After ‘Language’, Porter comes back on stage, but he’s not alone. He has none other than Hugo Leclercq with him. They wave to the cheering sea of fans, and walk to the table, hand-in-hand to perform ‘Shelter’. It was so evident that they were having the time of their lives up there performing again. They have such a strong and beautiful friendship. They feed off of each other’s energy. And the performance was magical. It’s clear that Hugo’s singing has definitely improved, since he’s been practicing for Album Two. ‘Shelter’ has never sounded so good.
They parted ways with a hug as Madeon exited the stage so Porter could play the end of the song. It was the perfect ending to a perfect performance.
This show felt like a goodbye to Worlds. Calling it the Definitive Version, and the fact that he’s already hinted that he’s making new music. What better send off for a groundbreaking album and live show than your own festival?
It was a privilege and an honor to get to experience this set not once, but twice. To finally feel the beauty and power that Porter’s music has in person, it’s cheesy to say, but it was life-changing.
And though we don’t know what Porter will bring to next year’s Second Sky, it’s guaranteed to be just as moving and extraordinary as this was.
So thank you Porter, for inviting us into your world, and sharing its magic.