The last time we joined our hero, Stasis, at Avalon, was ironically, Halloween 2002 for, who else, but Paul van Dyk. Perhaps one may even remember me for writing an obnoxiously long review of that event, and well, here we go again. My friend and I arrive at Avalon just before 9 PM, for a number of reasons:
1) We didn't have tickets, and being slightly paranoid, cautious, etc, we didn't want to take any chances.
2) We saw John Debo there last time, and that opened our eyes up to his completely banging brand of progressive. So we definately wanted to check his 3 hour opening set out.
3) On a personal note, I've been DJing for about 2 years now, the vast majority of that time being spent in the bedroom, but very recently I've been getting asked to do more and more gigs. So, I really wanted to check out exactly what Debo did during his opening set: How he progressed through his songs, how he watched the crowd, etc. Just to get a sense of how a great opening set could potentially be put together.
Anyway, so we get into the club, and head upstairs and watch John Debo. We're there the first half of the evening, and it's really cool to see how everything transpires throughout the night. Debo's playing these "Bedrock-esque" banging progressive tunes, you know the style. Very grooving, very interesting, with lots of cool little sound effects and samples. One thing I liked a lot was that for a good half hour to an hour, the floor is basically empty, regardless of the quality of music Debo's playing. However, where I would panic at an empty dance floor, wonder what I was doing wrong, and probably try to switch gears to something I thought was more friendly (read: crappy) in an effort to lure the people onto the dance floor, John is totally confident in his music, and just keeps on building and building, all the while knowing that it just takes one song to get the people on the floor. Anyway, so John's set ramps up in intesity greatly and he plays some completely earth shaking tunes that, once again, blow my mind. Had the evening had to end there, I would have been totally satisfied.
It's just before 12, the time having flown by through Debo's set, and I'm still standing behind the DJ booth watching the crowd from above. Paul van Dyk comes running up the stairs surrounded by people and he quickly ducks into the booth. The people on the balcony are going nuts and it's awesome to see Paul up close. A few minutes later, Paul van Dyk starts with a CD-R of a newly remixed "Nothing but You" that's just packed with tech-like sounds and energy.
Describing Paul's set brings a number of mixed emotions to me. If John Debo's set was a progression of songs which raised in energy from 0% to 100%, Paul's set was basically all 100%. Every song was completely explosive and epic in every sense of the word. Epic breakdowns, epic build-ups, epic piano's, even epic vocals. For a while, though, I was starting to get a little cynical; I was like, "Isn't this just a little too much? Can't we hear something a little more edgy? Can't we hear something a little more underground?" I thnk this stemmed from standing on the balcony. While Paul was creating a euphoric vibe and filling the room with a genuinely beautiful atmosphere, I was surrounded in every direction by people who were pushing and shoving their way around to get a better view at Paul van Dyk, or at the least, pushing to get to the bar for another drink. It then occurred to me that I was just being way too self-conscious, and that in my haste to see the workings of the DJ's and looking down on the club, I was missing out on what I really should have been doing: dancing without a care in the world on the floor. My friend and I quickly found our way onto the dance floor (politely, mind you, only moving when space made itself available) and we were greeted with what else but "We are Alive." Now, yes, this track is very old by dance music standards, but seeing as this song totally decimated the crowd last time at Halloween, I couldn't blame Paul for playing it. Still an awesome tune to hear at club sound volume levels, and it still blew the audience away this time, plus, it completely fit in with the epic vibe Paul had going. Paul started closing up with some other huge gushers, such as Three Drives - Carrerra 2 (NU-NRG Remix), and closing off his set with quite possibly Paul's next "For an Angel," the wonderful, "Nothing but You." It just made me so happy to hear this song, and I think it was easily the high point of the evening for me. Paul then played a one song encore of "Circ - Destroy She Said" which so gracefully walks the line of cheesiness and beauty and pulls it off amazingly well.
In conclusion, lesson learned from tonight: no matter how crowded it may be, stick to the dance floor for the real fans. Also, don't take this stuff too seriously, and enjoy yourself. I know as soon as I started thinking too hard, I lost sight of the awesome positive vibe Paul was putting out, and I just had to get out on the dance floor, close my eyes and let it rip to remedy the problem. Paul played a classic epic set filled with euphoria which I loved in every way. John Debo is one of my new favorites DJ's and I will make every effort to see him play more in the future. Thanks for a wonderful night.
The only darkspots on the evening were, right after Paul ended his encore and the lights came on, a few guys broke out into a full fledged fight, and had to been pinned to the ground by security. I hope there's someway that the fighters could be banned for life or something. I mean, seriously, Paul just plays this amazingly beautiful track, the audience is going nuts, he's giving the "Peace sign" to the audience, God's in his heaven, and all is right with the world. Then two minutes later, people are fighting! What's going on? Did they learn anything tonight? Did they miss out on something? Oh well, that sucked, but I'm glad it didn't happen during the the set, and I'm REALLY glad no one panicked or used pepper spray or something like that.
Well, thanks for reading this if you did, and I hope you all had a wonderful time also. Take it easy and make sure to always know where the fire exits are when you're in Avalon next time too." />
Groovanauts.com is a public message board protected by the First Amendment of the United States of America. Groovanauts.com's owners and its operators take absolutely no responsibility for the actions, claims or statements made by any of our members. Our members and moderators are neither employees of Groovanauts.com nor its legal representatives.