Best Sets Series: Eric Prydz


How to break down the best Eric Prydz sets? First you have to understand the Prydz experience. Imagine you are that dance music encyclopedia with a supercomputer for a brain that has unlimited hard disk capacity for a memory. Your brain virtually processes the identity of a track the moment it collides with your eardrums as it is played out in a concert or a gig. You are the messiah among your rave circle, the go-to person for the one seeking that ultimate nirvana they experienced with a track they never knew existed but do not know the name or identity. The electronic music superhero of this universe on the verge of being knighted, someday.

Then you decide to walk into an Eric Prydz concert, to watch it all fall apart.

Over the years, Prydz has carved this respectable niche for himself to play his own creations in majority of his sets that no one has ever heard before. It sweeps you off your feet as you neither expected nor heard many of the tracks before. Coupled with masterpieces from his famed techno alias CirezD and some lesser-known but influential ones like Tonja Holma (minimal tech), Eric brings surprising audio treat every time you hear him play. The massive swell in the numbers who adore the man is a major testimony of his capabilities.

Here, we try to compile a list of 10 sets that probably define the man and his mystery over the years. It is known there are loads out there with each superseding the other for this list to go on and on. What is to follow is not anyone’s individual opinion or preferential countdown, but formulated on the basis of certain yardsticks, majorly audience reaction & accolades over various audio, visual and social platforms. This is solely from a listening point of view without any visuals or holograms (heavily associated with Prydz’ sets) taken into account. To also ensure this list is not another victim of recency bias, we have tried to dig up some of his old sets as well that equally wowed audiences back in the time. Take a look!

BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix Of The Year (2013) – 21-12-2013 :

How many times in a mix have you heard the lead of the first track blending all the way to the third one? It happens here with the opening Liam running all the way to Tonja Holma’s ‘Spanish Delight’. This brilliantly crafted set highlighted Prydz’ sublime DJ skills across the globe to garner a massive respect and a huge chunk of worldwide fans.

This set is one of those legendary ones out there that has survived the test of time. Ask any hardcore Prydaholic, many of whom still swear by this as his best mix till date. No wonder, the legendary host of this global show, Pete Tong declared it the ‘Essential Mix of the Year’ for the year 2013.

EPIC 5.0 or EPIC RADIO on Beats 1 (Episode 11) – 27-05-2017 :

Dubbed the biggest EPIC (Eric Prydz in Concert) at that time, the show absolutely lived to it’s visual billing. However, what also accompanied the visual delight was 2 hours of absolute musical brilliance start to finish. This set contained a powerful ensemble of Eric Prydz, Pryda and Cirez D masterpieces that lit up the atmosphere with the holograms complementing.

EPIC is always considered as Prydz’ ultimate visual launchpad for premiering new Pryda & Cirez D material to the world. With this being the largest before HOLOSPHERE, it had all the scope for the powerful IDs and tracks at their absolute best. As usual, you have your opening EPIC 5.0 intro ID blending with the Lillo ID 02. Axis, Trubble, The Hoax lead into a CirezD mini-mix including In the Reds, Backlash and The Glitch. Pay an ear yourself to believe!

Eric Prydz at The Terrace, Club Space Miami, United States – 07-11-2015

5 hours of Prydz? Yeah, you heard it right!

This was exactly what revelers at Club Space got to witness on the night of 7th November in 2015. Back in the day, could be considered quite a coup. Almost 47 tracks were banged out seamlessly one after the other till dusk.

Because of its immense duration, what also characterizes the mix is a number of tracks from other artists making appearances as well, a rarity in a Prydz set. We have Deep Dish, Sander Kleinenburg, Meramek, Oliver Huntemann, &ME, Adam Beyer and others. Not to mention, loads of Eric Prydz, Pryda and CirezD including a couple of CirezD mini-mixes leading into the night if you love it intense. This one is a perennial favorite among Prydaholics as its tracklist, the other artists notwithstanding, spawns virtually most of the timeline of Prydz’ glittering career.

Eric Prydz @ ASOT Stage, Ultra Music Festival Miami – 29-03-2015

Fast forward to the pre-OPUS(the album) era. We have no clue what Black Dyce or Som Sas sounded like. For the very first time, Eric Prydz graced the A State of Trance lineup at Ultra. While this was controversial at first, all those technical concerns faded away when Eric took the decks. With the release of Eric Prydz’ debut album OPUS looming around at that time, expectations were understandably high.

What resulted in the next 90 minutes or so was arguably the best set of Ultra 2015. It was all bliss from the minute it was opened with Black Dyce, still unheard of at that point of time, till the end where he closes with Tether (featuring CHVRCHES). Though not as intense as his club sets, it was pure energy from the first beat, widening the spectrum to win him new fans worldwide.

Eric Prydz @ EDC Las Vegas, United States – 17-05-2019

This set will again summarize what happens to a Prydz’ set every time an album of his gets announced. He digs up his vaults, hard disks, garages, pillow covers for any missing pen drives etc. searching all those tracks that were probably gathering dust over the years. The result, a strike of nostalgia for his fans who probably get a tear (or two) out of ecstasy.

With PR(15)DA just announced back then, the Prydz juggernaut rolled on to EDC in Las Vegas. What embraced the night left everybody in awe as the man virtually rolled back the years. Those speakers were belting out the likes of the NOPUS ID, Terminal 5 ID, Tijuana, Seadweller and yes, believe it or not, the Dukes of Sluca made an appearance as well. These were masterpieces people heard rarely in his sets, or years ago. The very fact that the set was closed out with his remix of Every Day instead of the customary Opus explains it all!

Eric Prydz @ Dance Arena, Exit Festival Serbia 15-07-2007

This was a glimpse of the years to come ahead. Earlier that year, ‘Proper Education’ was released to immense positive reviews. Number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Airplay chart in the United States in 2007 (the first remixed recording of an original song to reach the top spot on this chart) and would go on to get a Grammy nomination later in the year.

As expected, Prydz became one of the sought after names at that time. Those were still the years he was still trying to shrug off the ‘Call on Me’ hit-maker tag. Riding the ‘Proper Education’ wave, this was one of those sets where he intended to prove that point without much ado. With the evergreen dance music friendly Serbian crowd backing him up, this was where you could have heard ‘Muranyi’ ‘Sol’, ‘Europa’ beyond the doors of a club probably the first time. Rollback those years and witness this piece of history!

Eric Prydz  @ Creamfields UK, United Kingdom 27-08-2011 (BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix 03-09-2011)

Fresh from the heels of the first-ever EPIC (Eric Prydz in Concert) earlier that year, Prydz had already started making an influential presence in the dance music industry. The years before he moved to United States and was based out of London, Creamfields was arguably his favorite hunting ground. Most of his sets here over the years were laden with the coveted chart-busters that stood the test of time. It all started with this one.

Right from 2Night, Glimma, Juletider to Genesis, Muranyi and Pjanoo, this one had it all. An impressive roster of CirezD features as well. Again, old friend Pete Tong was impressed and included it in his next Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1.

Eric Prydz @ Freedom Stage, Tomorrowland Weekend 2, Belgium 26-07-2019

So what if there was no HOLOSPHERE?

The day was supposed to play host to the second installment of Eric Prydz’ groundbreaking show. However, an unfortunate collapse of the roof of the Freedom Stage led to its cancellation. There wasn’t enough time to build the massive structure that houses the breathtaking visuals, including the humongous sphere. This not only caused a major disappointment to Prydz, but scores of his fans, some of whom had traveled around the globe for the show.

But what was witnessed consequently was a very intimate set by Eric with one classic after the other belted out, something that was a virtual treat to his fans – both old and new. Right from ‘Spanish Delight’ by Tonja Holma to the classics ‘Reeperbahn’ & ‘The Gift’, majority of the track-list comprised of rarely witnessed stuff making a grand return after a fairly long time. It was indeed a true and mesmerizing payback for all the travelling Prydaholics.

Eric Prydz @ Steel Yard, Creamfields UK, United Kingdom 23-08-2019

Well, it’s Creamfields again!

VOID was apparently one of Eric Prydz‘ most secretly guarded shows. Announced for Creamfields 2019 at the beginning of the year, there was virtually no indication of what to expect leading to the build-up at the legendary Steel Yard megastructure.

However, once it took off, the track-list seamlessly blended with the special installations lighting up the night. Pryda classics like ‘The End’, ‘Rebel XX’, ‘Stay with Me’ and a few known and unknown Cirez D scorchers like ‘Voided’ contributed to the special night. Even with the visual spectacle taken out, the end result was an exceptionally crafted set that can be listened to over and over again.

Eric Prydz – Dans Dakar Stockholm, Sweden 26-05-2012

Straight from the legend’s hometown, this is a perfect example of how to leave a lasting impression in a mere 50 minutes. This is also probably the only Prydz set out there had the same scale throughout its entire running time. Consequently, dare to point out even a single second where the energy drops, the very reason it makes this list.

If there was a continuous Prydz mix under an hour that drops all his bombs at that time in one go, this was it. Sample this, SW4, Rotonda, 2Night, Juletider and Allein, how many times have you heard them play in the same set? The incredibly lucky Swedish crowd surely must have experienced the time of their lives those 50 minutes. Also makes it all that worthy to close off this list with a set from our man’s homeland, as a perfect tribute!