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“Im not gonna lie: first shows [of a tour] usually suck,” deadpanned electronic music producer Joel Zimmerman, aka deadmau5, Thursday night, closing out the first night of his two-night stand in Dallas, the kickoff city of his North American “CubeV3” tour. “But this one actually was great.” The sold-out crowd at South Side Ballroom roared back in agreement, before Zimmerman launched into fan favorite “Arguru.”

True to Zimmermans nearly 15-year-long career, the latest iteration of deadmau5s “Cube” tour, in which the musician appears inside a lit-up rotating cube, represents further refinement of a singular and original vision, executed expertly … trends be damned. While several of Zimmermans peers over the past decade have chased production flavors of the moment, or said “yes” to any sponsorship opportunities that came their way, Zimmerman has always done things on his own terms, and hes still being rewarded for it by longtime fans who have stuck by his side.

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Thursday nights tour opener (which hits Los Angeles later this month via a five-night-stand at the Palladium) was evidence of continued fan approval, despite the fact that the outing still has a few kinks to work out; minor technical audio glitches beset the complicated production twice during the opener. But few concertgoers seemed to notice, and with a show as ambitious as his, its not surprising the evening didnt have a few hiccups. Thats what happens when an artist takes risks, and Zimmerman took notable gambles during the show, which only benefitted curious onlookers and longtime fanatics alike.

The show begins with Zimmerman hidden behind the carbon fiber rod-laced panels that make up the cube, yet communicating with the audience via computer in real time and messaging the audience, who see a lit-up blinking cursor as they “hear” Zimmermans voice via the projected texts. He welcomes all to the show by opening with a 2016 release, “No Problem,” before the production picks up steam as he delves deeper into his catalog and more of the graphical capabilities of the new cube are revealed. In the wrong hands, a show like this could turn Vegas-esque, quickly, but Zimmerman deftly mixes up the imagery so that things never turn too showy. At times graphics are otherworldly, celestial, humorous and, at times, dark, especially during “Avaritia,” where satanic imagery, flames, old Latin words and drawings of goats are projected onto the panels. The show is rarely dull, and only becomes a bit ordinary toward the middle of its two hours, when things start to feel like a “real” concert as longtime DeaOriginal Article