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Paul Van Dyk@Avalon
by Raven: 08-10-2001

Saturday 1:54 am….

…and the main auditorium at Avalon is throbbing. Crystal, clear waves of sound continuously envelop the packed, multi-leveled dance floors. Several thousand bodies packed tight, locked in the rhythm of an irresistibly thumping kick. Kinetic energy flowing from the music and through the crowd, bass-lines and synth riffs commanding you to move, to lose yourself, to take yourself higher as Paul van Dyk sends pure sonic sorcery spiraling from decks to system to synapses. The bass is intense, you can feel it slamming into your chest to the point where speech becomes difficult, but this crowd doesn't care because talking is the last thing on their minds right now, there is just 15 minutes left until the mammoth speakers fall silent - and they know it.

So does the DJ.

He already has the crowd frothing with the shimmering power of Nu NRG's "Dreamland", the supple piano melody caressing everyone with smooth pleasure. It flows into PvD's ageless classic "For an Angel" which elicits a unanimous cry of joy from the clubbers with its recognition. The song ends, and the music fades ever so slowly and in return the chants of the crowd fills the club…."PvD, PvD, PvD!!!". The beat pounds anew as Paul releases the needle on the next record. A hedonistic tidal wave sweeps the dancefloor as the lights shine bright and sparkling flakes of snow pump out of the tanks. Solid Sleep's "Club Attack" has it all, lush melodies and lurid emotive trance. The encore sighs away and the crowd erupts in relentless screams and pleads for this night to continue. Ironically, the answer to this calling is the undeniably amazing track, "Into the Night" by 4 Strings. It is the definition of quality deep trance. The track grooves along with a little promise, squelching through with a hint of pleasure, then the beat fades and an intense spine-tingling riff ensues. A melancholy melody weaves its way around your ears and then subtly breaks into synth washes and gyrating percussion with pounding bass. Minimally rhythmic and deep, this tune is as beautiful as can be. Abruptly, Paul ends the track with a deft little scratch and lifts the record, spinning it freely in his hand. We yell our appreciation….he smiles and waves.

This may have been one of the most musically trail-blazing nights to hit Boston this summer. The dancefloor was sweaty and heaving for the entire night and the only time a person ever sat down in the lounge areas is when they could dance no more. There wasn't the atmosphere of pretension that you might expect. Just thousands of devout followers, come from long and far to pay tribute to the master. On a day plagued with thunderstorms, torrential downpours, power blackouts, relentless traffic, they persevered with one driving thought, the only motivation they needed, experiencing a set by Paul van Dyk.

For many like myself, the closing of superclub Twilo, felt like the death of something so integral to my life. A hole had burrowed itself inside me, as the idea of the loss of this institution became a definite reality. No other venue in the US brought so many A-list DJ's and attracted such dedicated crowds. No other venue delivered unforgettable events week in and week out and conveyed the DJ's musical journey on a system with quality sound second to none…the Phazon. We were spoiled, we took it for granted. And when the realization that Paul van Dyk's bimonthly residency there is no more, we began to experience withdrawal symptoms. Taking this into account, it's a little easier to explain how some of us endured an unbearable near 9 hour drive from Philadelphia to Boston, with the morbid knowledge that there is a blackout at Avalon and possibly a cancellation to the event. After receiving a call from a friend that the power is back we hurry to the club only to find a mob of a few thousand people crowding the street outside the club trying to get in. The club had oversold tickets and thousands of frustrated patrons holding their tickets couldn't help but crowd, push, yell, bullshit, and even bribe to get in without missing the first beat. We stood there with a look of utter consternation. Everything had gone so wrong on this day to the point that it was almost humorous. We finally make it in and meet up with the rest of our entourage with 5 minutes to spare before the first break-beats of PvD's "Movement" start to pound through the speakers. At that moment I realized I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Donning his signature black Vandit T, and sporting newly died blonde hair, Paul van Dyk took to the decks with vehement concentration…a man determined to deliver a powerfully unforgettable set. He began with a progressive edge, dropping tunes like the Starecase remix of his own "Vega", and Timo Maas's new cut under his Orinoko monicher, "Island". The crowd went crazy with delirious screams when the sweet sounds of Vaiio's "Rapture" floated through the club. While vocals are shunned by many of the progressive elite, "Rapture" has been greeted with open arms. Its haunting vibe blends perfectly with the raw underground nature of the track. It left us all gaping.

Continuing with this driving pace, PvD played some progressive house of the highest quality from Saints & Sinners, half of which is prog giant Yoogie van Bellen. "Peace" is the newest release from the north London label Lost Language, baby brother to the hooj choons imprint. PvD plumped for the Oliver Lieb mix, which stamps the inimitable LSG style over this big trancer, complete with funky bassline, ominous melody and gated riff.

The tone of the set changed in an almost subliminal manner as the pace kicked up a notch and Mirco de Govia's new smash "Epic Monolith" poured from the speakers. Layer upon layer of wicked breaks and beautiful strings build and build into a towering sonic inferno. More ass-kicking breaks followed with "Central Impact" which then blended seamlessly into "Out There". Paul reminds us that his studio skills are every bit as impressive as his DJ'ing with the precision production of this track, a hard techno cut complete with metallic edginess.

Dancing in the booth, Paul van Dyk was the picture of happiness. A man intent on his work, yet LOVING every minute of it, he danced around with so much ardor and studied the crowd. Constantly moving and pulling records out mixing them with mellifluous accuracy. He smiled and pumped his fist and jumped back and forth as he dropped Lexicon 4's "Reach Me". Swooping strings, widescreen peaks and deep bass tones to make your eyes water. Seeing his reaction to the great tune, spurred the already hyped crowd to a frenzy of dancing and adulated yells.

Probably the most anticipated song of the night was Second Sun's "Empire". In our age of communication, most fans had already downloaded PvD's recent Gatecrasher Essential Mix, and this track made noise as the highlight of that already impressive set. It is painfully good as it builds perfectly, driving ever onwards, always exciting and always with the end of the journey in sight. The masses went insane with its recognition and we all huddled together screaming and jumping up and down. If the original mix wasn't great enough, then PvD provided his own signature style, and a tweaked masterpiece is the outcome.

That night, Paul van Dyk put together a collection of moodscapes that tantalise the ears with hot and cold flashes of chilling grooves and rolling basslines. His set had a space-age feeling - the next port call for frayed trance kids. As you listen to it, you feel as if all gravity has slipped away from under your feet and you're floating in a void. Combining subtlety and complexity with full on party energy, PvD delivered a set as complete as can be. His music sent emotions soaring, left adrenaline levels racing and launched the crowd into orbit every time his tunes hit the decks. A set as technically perfect as can be with a superb track selection that seduces you with its sheer elegance of digital dance, delivered with surgical precision by a true master.

Tracklist

1. Paul van Dyk - Movement
2. Paul van Dyk - Vega (Starecase remix)
3. Vaiio - Rapture (John Creamer & Stephanie K remix)
4. Orinoko - Island (Moguai remix)
5. Sipping Soma - Superconscious (So Alive) (Coast 2 Coast house mix)
6. Walter & Gelder - Section 0
7. RMB - Horizon (Resistance D remix)
8. Saints & Sinners - Peace (Oliver Lieb mix)
9. Sonorous - Glass Garden (Mirco de Govia remix)
10. Mirco de Govia - Epic Monolith
11. Mike Heart - Central Impact
12. Paul van Dyk - Out There
13. Lexicon 4 - Reach Me (remix)
14. Viframa - Cristalle
15. Blank & Jones - Cream (PvD remix)
16. Signum - In Progress
17. Guardians Of The Earth - Starchildren (Quasi Dub)
18. Second Sun - Empire (PvD remix)
19. Airwave - Save me
20. Cygnus X - Superstring (Rank 1 dub)
21. Nu NRG - Dreamland
22. Paul van Dyk - For an Angel

Encore 1:
Solid Sleep - Club Attack

Encore 2:
4 Strings - Into The Night (Original Mix)


NOTE: Tracklist is incomplete and may be a little out of order. There are about 8-10 missing tracks.

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