The magic of togetherness
Written by pepo on November 21, 2016
As I write this article, my second editorial, I still think about the best way to deal with all the emotions and feelings I’ve been having since my first one in September. While the summer season was ideal and the summer vibes were absolutely amazing, I now feel confronted with the fact that autumn is quite a different story to tell. Also the fact that middle of the season I’ve got really sick with the flu for longer than 3 weeks, thus unable to put my spirit into the writing mode.
Anyway, September and October have been two amazing months full with huge events, and I was glad I could join many of them.
To start with ABGT200, first time having the pleasure of enjoying British trance DJs Above & Beyond with a spectacular show thrown up in a full-packed Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. An amazing way to start the new cultural season, with Anjunadeep sounds. I really liked Yotto, he was a great surprise and Grum too. Then it was the turn of Ilan Bluestone & Andrew Bayer; 2 hours set AB and a fantastic closing with Jason Ross. What to say about it? Well, first of all, AB they KNOW how to bring the best out of the crowd and how to tap into the feelings of their fans. And they know how to put a quality show on. Of course, not all Anjunadeep resident DJs were my favourite; as a trance lover I remember thinking to myself ‘I miss a bit the trance sound’, still there was something magical about the whole show, the fact I was there with my friends and entwined with a mixed crowd where many EDM lovers came from all around the world specially for the occasion. I was happy to see many familiar faces, sharing the power of sound in a blissfully sense of togetherness. Indeed this was real group therapy, baby!
A week later I was packing my hand-luggage and flying to Manchester for the first and only FSOE450 ‘Kingdoms’ in Europe. Some days before the event I was feeling doubtful about the whole trip, knowing October was already a too busy month for me with upcoming ADE and Transmission by end of the month. I guess my mood was somehow coloured with anxiety and some stress before leaving. It was quite an adventure, leaving on Saturday and returning on Sunday and main reason was not missing the experience and of course, reuniting with my trance family, many of them I had not seen since the summer time. The line-up was amazing, but we didn’t get the timetable until the last moment, when we were already standing at the queue in the cold night. Victoria Warehouse is a huge venue, with an industrial style, which looked too big in my eyes. I remember feeling cold at the beginning, with the high airco by mainstage and a poor quality sound, which made me feel uneasy since I could not tap into the vibe of the moment and enjoy Darren Porter’s B2B with James Dymond. In any case, there were 3 stages and enough choice. I personally enjoyed the most the sets of Simon O’Shine and Aly & Fila, Ferry Tayle, Pure NRG and Ferry Corsten with Gouryella. Quite a shame that the timetable was given so last moment, I felt kind of lost in this big venue, was lucky to meet many of my trance family friends but still had moments I could not just stay where I was, no matter who was playing at that very moment.. I sort of missed the general vibe, this rushing from one stage to the other, sometimes getting lost, meeting people here and there, but somehow missing the ‘togetherness’ feeling. The after-party was full gas, in a sort of box-shaped room in a more intimate style. Solarstone at decks was amazing with his exclusive producer’s set, followed by Sam Mitcham and later on, Dark Fusion. Event in general was good, although I missed a better general organisation and yes, the ‘cloakroom mystery’ will remain a weird story to tell… with some friends not being allowed to take back their own jackets, having to embrace the cold morning with mixed emotions, happiness and frustration all at once.
The best of Manchester for me was the day after the party, Sunday, when we finally had time to catch up with our friends. For me it was more about quality time; having lunch together, sight-seeing the city and most of all, sharing good moments. This is what will always remain priceless for me. Way back to the hotel, what a surprise meeting many DJs who were also staying there. Nice pics with Dan Stone and specially, Ferry Corsten.
After Manchester I caught the flu and was sick for really long, which was really annoying knowing ADE was soon to come. I needed my full power to bridge both parties I would be attending during this crazy week. ADE was from 19th to 23rd October and there was a trance party listed for every day of this amazing week. Friends from all over the world were coming to join. Of course I would have wanted to attend them all, but not possible for my budget and also because this week was school holidays. I started the week on the 19th with ITWT at Wester Unie, with an amazing line-up. My planning was to see as many DJs as I could, so it was kind of running a marathon! Started with Alex Ryan vs Madwave at Mental Asylum’s stage but I also wanted to see James Kiedis at Grotesque stage, upstairs. So I did that, a bit here a bit there.. Then it was time for mainstage with Swiss psytrance DJ Liquid Soul, one of the best sets of the night for me. Stayed a bit there too and saw John Askew, but then went to enjoy some of Tempo Giusto and still on time to enjoy the last part of Andy Moor & Lange. After that came RAM with a powerful set, he was at his best! Later was the time of Darren Porter and still I was on time to catch the last part of Menno de Jong’s set.
Then Irish DJ Bryan Kearney showed up, with an amazing set which blew up my mind! After Bryan went to see Sied van Riel, also with a good performance and finally, Artic Moon. I wanted to see them all, so I was running upstairs and downstairs from one stage to the other, sometimes missing important parts, or just going with the flow… such a pity when you don’t know all DJs and you can’t experience them all as you would like. It’s a matter of choices, of course. Sometimes I wish I could clone myself! Anyway, I’ve enjoyed my time, greeted as many friends I could, jumped and danced as much as I could although my health was still not top. Talla 2XLC was a great closing, with Fadi (Aly & Fila) dancing among the crowd. Was awesome!
Friday many of us decided not to join any party and we arranged dinner all together in some Italian restaurant at Red Light district. Was a really great time, we were around 15 people sitting all together and enjoying the most touristic part of the city of Amsterdam. It’s amazing how trance can unite people from diverse cultures and nationalities and this people become your friends. It’s pure bliss.
Saturday was the last trance party, and my favourite. Starting with the warming-up pre-party at Jaz Hotel, close to the Arena, we had some beats & bites, and there was also time for some chit-chat with DJs and enough moments to take pics, the best way to prepare ourselves for an awesome Pure Trance night. With the feeling of a private party, Driftmoon took charge of the decks and the ambiance was in full-mode for party. I’ve really enjoyed Robert Nickson and Ciaran McCauley’s sets. At 22 hr it was time for major event, I personally liked how Gai Barone introduced us into the pure progressive sound. Jaz Hotel is a small venue, which made it pretty warm upstairs with the room packed with trance lovers, and sound quality was not at its best. Nevertheless, when the mood is good, nothing can alter the vibes. And indeed, the vibes were really high this night. It was a special one, with one solely stage and all DJs performing at their best. I personally loved the sets of Orkidea, Solarstone, Giuseppe Ottaviani and even Sneijder was at his best. The revelation was the Australian Factor B, who knew how to keep the mood up until the end with his set of trance classics. It was a perfect pure trance night.
A week later I was heading to beautiful Prague to join my friends for my second time Transmission. I was really enthusiast about this edition ‘The Lost Oracle’, since last year being my first had completely blown up my mind. Immediately after arriving, went to meet my friends at the flat we were sharing at the old centre of the city and together we went to meet the rest of the trance family at a Thai restaurant. After dinner we headed all together to Mecca Club, where the pre-party was being hosted. Fully packed, with a sauna-like feeling, was kind of difficult to enjoy while people were crashing and stepping on me the whole time. By second stage downstairs you could catch your breath better, so I sort of spent some time there. Was lucky enough to follow some friends upstairs to the VIP room without knowing where I was going and that I needed a special wristband for it, but nobody checked my wrist so, there I was, dancing as a VIP in a more comfy and free space. Pre-party for me was all about Simon O’Shine. He was superb, as he always is. One of my favourites DJs ever! Also caught some glimpse of the last part of Exis’s set, an Australian DJ and producer who was giving some climax to the warm public. That was Friday, we left a bit earlier; we needed to catch some good sleep before main event at the Arena the following day.
Saturday we left with a friend full with excitement and enthusiasm, dressed in fancy style both with cat-ears matching (it seems cat ears are really popular among the male public). It was time for fun and enjoyment. Transmission is also about spectacular lasers and graphics, the whole staging with beautiful and talented Kim Kiona as main role player was astonishing.
We arrived on time for Orkidea, and although I really like his sound, his set sounded quite similar to the one a week before at ADE Pure Trance event. But oh well, then came MaRLo with a banging set with some psytrance moments I really enjoyed. Was really a surprise! Markus Schulz was also banging and brought even some techno and variation. But the best for me was John O’Callaghan, the best amazing vibes. The Irish DJ knew exactly how to catch our breaths away and felt the general vibe as no one else that night. Finally Vini Vici did a great performance, but minutes before them closing we left. We were pretty tired and wanted to avoid the huge mass of people and sit a little while downstairs while waiting for our friends. The whole experience was great.
Back at the airport that Sunday was lucky to meet a friend and stayed talking until boarding and first person I see when I get into the plane, Ferry Corsten sitting in first class! I greeted him still with a smile in my face. Trance has also that: DJs are mostly down to earth and kind. It’s a big trance family after all.
Finally, two weeks ago I went with a good friend to Quest4Trance – the Winter Edition at Dhoem Dhaam Warehouse in Amsterdam. We were one of the first to arrive; venue was a bit empty at the beginning of Driftmoon’s set and it wasn’t until Simon O’Shine appeared on stage that people starting to fill into the space. I must say Simon is one of the only DJs who never disappoints me. Every set is different from each other; he is always really passionate and seems to be enjoying to the max. It’s always a pleasure to see him playing live. Then the serial uplifting came with Italian DJ Manuel Le Saux, it was an awesome set with plenty of beautiful moments. The rest of the DJs that came after him were a bit disappointing, too much hard style for my state of being, which made it less emotional and I seriously missed the general vibe. But I guess that’s something personal too, because it depends a lot on how you are feeling at that right moment. In any case, it was a nice party and I was happy to meet good friends.
All in all it was an amazing experience to be part of so many important events. I realize now that it is such a privilege for me to be part of this trance family feeling. The moments when everything seems perfect: location is good, DJ performs at his/her best, general mood is harmonic and the music brings the best vibes. When all these factors collide, you get an awesome experience as result. I feel indeed really lucky to have the opportunity to experience this. But most of all I treasure the moments of happiness and the magic of being together, because it’s not all about trance after all, it’s about togetherness and the feeling that we are sharing something special with a huge amount of people whom no longer feel like strangers. Even when the music is too mellow, or less trance, or more EDM, I think the beauty of it all are the special moments shared with the people you love and care for. And of course the new ones who come to integrate the family.
With so many trance events lately, also sold-outs and lots of parties being hosted in different cities here in the Netherlands and lately also in countries such as Germany and Switzerland (like the Synergy events) at the moment, it’s clear that there is a trance movement building on. For this reason I feel a bit more selective about my next events, it’s not just about a certain DJ or sound, it’s about quality over quantity and I rather prefer to go to an event where there are less stages or big names in the line-up, experiencing precious memories together. Because sometimes going with the flow has to do with creating your own magic world with the people you feel at home with.
And, we are really lucky having the possibility to listen all sets recorded live in the comfort of our own time and space. But yes, the togetherness feeling will remain alive so long we make the time for it and want to gather.
2017 awaits me with fewer parties. I feel somehow tired of reviewing events, mainly because I think it’s pretty personal how my own experience is. Main focus for 2017 will be about writing other sort of (trance related) articles and interviews. I’m glad to be part of the great Trance-Energy Radio staff, as editor in chief, coaching & editing as main task within my team of authors.
Still, the year is not finished yet, and next week I’m happy to be joining Special Touch – Tribute to Tiësto at club Panama in Amsterdam. And next month my last party of this year, amazing indoor winter festival with a new formula, Grotesque, in Maassilo in the city of Rotterdam. All great events I will review by end of December in my next editorial to close this amazing year.
And please, don’t forget our special edition of Lisa Owen’s radio show with an amazing program featuring DJs from all around the world in a unique and special day on 29th December ’16.
With so many events coming next year, I’m sure we will meet somewhere out there! Always keeping trance alive!