Words and Photos by Andrew Rauner, AJRphotography

New Year's Eve is known to many as an overly hyped and generally disappointing night. Regardless, when I finalized plans to go see Deadmau5 at Pier 36 to ring in the new year, I was certainly hyped and hoping that this would be a night for the ages.

Joel Zimmerman (AKA Deamdau5) did not disappoint. Labeling the event Deadmau5 Unhooked, an exclusive engagement, was certainly a proper title. To those unaware, Deadmau5 Unhooked is a set, which deviates from his usual tour set list and without the gigantic LED cube from which he typically performs. However, this unique and rare performance definitely left the audience impressed.

At around 11:45pm the man of the hour (or three to be exact) took to the stage in true form, building the crowd up with his famous beat, "Sometimes Things Get Whatever." The crowd roared in response to Joel, who came to the stage sans-signature mau5head, which took many by surprise. As it was an "unhooked" set, it made sense that he came on stage in his usual T-shirt and black cap. As the dawn of 2012 approached, he filtered the music and swayed his hands as a conductor would to an orchestra as we all counted down. The song playing: "Get In The Cart, Pig," a song Deadmau5 himself said would "one up Strobe," his incredibly famous orchestral number.

Soon after that and a few yet-to-be-named songs, the crowd yelled with anticipation as the song "Limit Break" made its way into the mix. This build was the same way Deadmau5 opened up his headline set at Ultra Miami this past year. At the break, Joel turned around, ducked below the DJ booth and adorned his newest Mau5head, dubbed "the video game head." The crowd went insane as the opening notes to "Some Chords," the intro song on his recent Grammy Nominated LP, 4x4=12, were rolled out. Hearing this song juxtaposed with the famous EDM star's "proper" silhouette (with ears) kept the crowd entranced. Sadly, however the famous ears only stayed on his head for a little while, before finding a place on his table alongside the equipment.

The rest of the night progressed smoothly, unknown tracks with incredible beats and drops mixed with the usual favorites. Deadmau5 played his usual Moar Ghosts N Stuff // Ghosts N Stuff as the crowd sang, no, screamed along. Later in the evening the music bled into his dark electro beat "Cthulhu Sleeps" and of course, the famous and Grammy nominated "Raise Your Weapon." To my surprised however, he played the original version and not a remix by Madeon or Nosia (two of his Mau5trap label mates who's remixes he's known to play). He ended the night with his usual "Strobe," leaving the stage with a crowd roaring as loud as the one he walked on to.

I was lucky enough not only to be part of this amazing way to bring in a new year but to also snag some incredible photos of the event.

Check out more photos from Andrew Rauner here.

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