When Porter Robinson and Madeon announced “Shelter,” their collaborative single, my heart skipped a beat or two. After they revealed there would be a joint North American Shelter Live Tour, it stopped altogether. The Shelter Tour took to Washington at Echostage on Thursday, and got my heart going again.
Some backstory for those of you who don’t know — Porter Robinson is one of my favorite producers, and since I saw him for the first time five years ago I have seen him five more times. His transformation from the 19-year old boy prince of complextro to the powerful and emotive musician that he is today has shaped the music I listen to now. Madeon also has a special place in my heart. Back when I first started DJing, his track “Icarus” was in every set I ever did, and the raw energy in it always charged up whatever else I was playing.
The Shelter Live Tour is a victory lap for the two, who met in online forums when they started producing music under very early 2000s DJ names like Ekowraith (Porter Robinson) and DJ Deamon (Madeon is actually an anagram of this). Robinson has been touring his phenomenal Worlds show for the past two years now, and Madeon has been performing his Adventure setup since spring 2015. As the two live shows began to come to a close, it seems only appropriate for the pair to get together to play live and have some fun between close friends.
Worlds was a highly emotional show (I’ve cried at three out of the four times I’ve seen it, don’t judge me) that took viewers to another dimension. With the mixing of Worlds and Adventure, it seems that Robinson needed a break from the heavy feelings his tour brought about, because Shelter is 100 percent pure fun.
Watching Robinson and Madeon up on stage, you can tell the two are having the time of their lives. They’re smiling the whole show, and often you can catch them stealing glances at each other, grinning ear to ear that, yes, this is real.
Set apart on stage, the duo have their own setups, with equipment mostly borrowed from their respective tours. Madeon still has his iconic launchpads on stage, and Robinson is still rocking his Gaia synthesizer. Added for this tour are cymbals to provide real analog crash sounds, and because who doesn’t like hitting things on stage?
“Shelter” is the only official song the pair have released together, so most of the performance is made up of mashups (Madeon’s specialty) and live remixes of their songs. Have you ever heard Madeon’s “Beings” and thought, “this would sounds really cool if Porter Robinson sung on it?” Because you’re in luck. Robinson and Madeon switch off vocal duties throughout the set, allowing each artist to showcase a part of their talent that has not been heard as much in their respective careers.
Near the end of the show, Robinson left his table, joining Madeon’s station as they played the song “Fellow Feeling” off of Worlds. It seemed to be a fluke in Robinson’s equipment that caused him to leave his own keyboard, but the image of the two of them, closer than ever, playing side by side was a very cool thing to see.
The duo return to Echostage on Wednesday, Nov. 16 for their second Washington stop.