Since I was a bit lazy in 2003 writing party reviews, I figured I'd do a review of the whole year, so here you go.
Well, if I thought 2002 was a pretty heavy party year that couldn't be topped, I was wrong. Just the sheer number of parties alone was as unexpected as it was insane. No less than 80 in 2003, compared to 64 in 2002. But I didn't let quality succumb to quantity and the year afforded me some unbelievable experiences, including several first-time ones (like WMC, Mayday, Nature One).
Despite an impression that the party year started on a rather slow note (not counting the insanely banging NYE party at U60 with Adam Beyer, Cari Lekebusch; Umek, Gayle San), I ended up going to no less than 5 in the month of January alone, although most of them were house, i.e. more chill than rave. Nice nonetheless.
February was an early highlight of the year with an amazing 2 week trip to and through the jungles of Costa Rica. As luck would have it, my flight to and from was through New York, so I was able to stop over on the way back to catch Gaafar El Mallah's first gig at a major club, Arcspace, no less! That was the first totally off the hook party, with Gaafar putting to shame Talla 2XLC, who he was opening for. What an fantastic party crowd me made and watching Gaaf having a blast behind the decks was priceless. Talla pretty much sucked, but Victor Dinaire made more than up for it, totally tearing the place apart. Only a week later I was back in New York for the first Paul van Dyk party since the Vandit Night in December. After the absolutely stunning show at the Roxy and the twilolike special party at Arc back in November, this gig was obviously highly anticipated. It was a fantastic party and I did have a blast partying with everybody, yet musically it just didn't reach the level of the November Roxy gig, IMO (though he did play Face to Face, one of my all-time favorites). Friday night came and went, and to make the most of the short weekend in the city I went to Arc on Saturday to check out Danny Howells and Bill Patrick at Arc. Got there very late, ran in to some other die-hards from the night before and had an excellent time, Danny being crazy and Bill Patrick playing a really good house set which I simply can't get in Germany.
March brought the unusual opportunity to see PvD right here in my home town, no travelling needed for a change. Alas, it was almost made impossible to attend due to a business off-site, but at long last I was able to pull it off. Though that off-site did deprive me of the pleasure to see Adam Beyer the night before. Well PvD happened and as I had expected it was a sub-par affair. First the crowd was downright weird, much worse than that proverbial B&T crowd. Second the sound system at that particular club is about the worst on the planet. On a positive note, I met a bunch of people form the TA board for the first time. The following two weeks had "regular" parties at my home base, the U60311 in Frankfurt, featuring Sven Vath and Chris Liebing, good as always. But then the month came to a serious climax in the form of a trip to the WMC in Miami. Only at the last minute had I managed to find a reasonably priced non-stop ticket. Real hotel rooms were out of the question at this late stage so I settled for a bunk bed in a 6-man dorm room, correctly assuming I wouldn't spend much time there anyway. Good planning had me buy online a 3-day Space pass for what would be some unforgettable parties. In fact, the WMC held one of the biggest party surprises of the year. It was the morning hours of the Sasha & Digweed party at the new Space 34, featuring Sander Kleinenberg and, most notably, an insanely off the hook Steve Lawler outside on the terrace. While S&D didn't do much for me, Lawler, from about 8 am till noon, played a set that was, captivating, relentless, plainly out of this world. The day (what day?) passed mostly unnoticed to give way to the much aniticipated show of PvD, again at Space 34. Anticipated as it was, this time PvD delivered! What an amazing set, banging it really hard, just as I like it. Da bomb. Well, if that was not enough, I was in for yet another treat the next night: Deep Dish at Space 34. Again I was full of anticipation, having experienced a stunning night with the duo the previous summer at Space, Ibiza. And again, my expectations were more than satisfied by a set of dark, very danceable progressive. That Space hat-trick was not the end of it, though, the huge Ultra was still on the agenda. Getting there rather later than planned (why was that....?), I missed the likes of Sasha, Oakenfold and others. Somehow I didn't get that much out of the festival musically (including the so-so PvD set, closing the night), but it was a great experience nonetheless with the warm open air ambiance.
April started just the way March had left off, with a major festival, though not spanning several days. It was the huge Timewarp rave, a mostly techno event of approx 20,000 people. Though they had several floors, including a trance floor featuring PvD, I spent all night on the two huge techno floors with line-ups that left no other choice: Adam Beyer, Sven Vath, Richie Hawtin, Alter Ego, Speedy J, Chris Liebing, Marco Bailey, Umek, Dave Clarke. Beyer unfortunately delivered a decent, but clearly sub-par set, that was followed by an excellent one by Speedy J. However, Beyer redeemed himself much later that night, when he played a battle on 6 decks with Chris Liebing in the morning hours. OMG, they again showed that when playing together there is just no match. And only 2 weeks later it was Adam Beyer again at U60 with a special "Sweden meets Brazil" night with Adam Beyer, Cari Lekebusch and Renato Cohen. Absolutely superb, techno at its very best. After a good few local parties, the next megaevent was already approaching fast, the legendary Mayday. The sets of Chris Liebing and PvD were nothing short of superb, yet the single best moment of the night was brought by DJ Dero, hitherto unknown to me, when he played a spectacular remix of Renato Cohen - Pontape and a bit later completely out of the blue dropped DJ Rolando's Jaguar! I was plain awestruck.
The month of May provided somewhat of a breather, though it had its fair share of smaller, yet good parties. Starting out with a good night with Chris Liebing's monthly residency at U60, the highlight of the month was a few weeks later at the "Robert Johnson", one of my favorite clubs, typically dedicated to house. That night it was top-notch techno, though, with Michael Mayer and Tobias Thomas of the Cologne based 'Kompakt' techno label. A different style of techno than my usual U60 fare, but nevertheless nothing short of phenomenal. The next day had one of PvD's rare gigs in Germany, in a somewhat obscure club in a city otherwise more or less a party desert.
The year shifted gears in June which brought to less than 8 parties and including the likes of PvD and Sander Kleinenberg (both at yet another amazing Vandit Night, Berlin); Thomas Krome; again PvD (in Amsterdam, his first use of final scratch); Richie Hawtin (U60); Adam Beyer (at an open air festival). June's culmination at month end was also the opening of insane July, being this year's trip to Ibiza!. While it was good (how could it not be), this year's trip did not reach the level of the "10 days of insanity" last year's did. There were some highlights though: Cream at Amnesia, of course, with Tiesto and PvD, where Tiesto sucked but PvD delivered reliably as ever; the second of the 2 Cocoon Nights at Amnesia with Marco Carola, Adam Beyer, Danilo Vigorito, which was in fact one of the best parties of my entire party life. The music was beyond phenomenal and the atmosphere boiling with energy, fuelled by the presence of Sven Vath and Richie Hawtins as guests, not DJs, mingling and dancing with the crowd on the main dance floor. Then I did my usual, almost daily visit to Space with the ever amazing sound system inside. And last not least for the first time I made it to DC10 on Monday morning/afternoon. Back in Germany from Ibiza there was no time to rest, as the Loveparade weekend was only 3 days away, opening as usual with PvD's very own Love from Above party, this year graced with the presence of no other than translucent and Olga as well as Metro from London. The debauchery pretty much continued non-stop that weekend, where I spent the parade day comfortable on a float with Chris Liebing and others, saving me the exhaustion of walking miles and miles following the parade. At night it was Chris Liebing again, delivering an absolutely stunning set, blowing our US and UK visitors away. After some sleep, Sunday afternoon offered the extremely relaxed, but musically superb outdoor party at Tresor, the legendary Berlin techno club that, during Loveparade week, has its 4 days where "Tresor never sleeps", meaning it being open 24 hours. Hosts that afternoon were Heiko Laux and Alexander Kowalski. Then at night inside Tresor it was another encounter with, you guessed it, Chris Liebing, from where I had to leave directly to the airport to return to Frankfurt, work and the real world. However, once in full swing I wouldn't stop here and the next weekend brought another 2 parties and the weekend after that another one with Adam Beyer and Monika Kruse.
If by now you got the idea that I'm addicted to Adam Beyer, you are right: the next party featuring him along with Stanny Franssen, Gaetano Parisio came on the first day of August at an unlikely location, a house bar. Accordingly, it was somewhat unusual, yet very relaxed as the DJs were hanging out like it was their own private party. The next day brought another long awaited highlight of the year, my first appearance at the huge Nature One open air festival that has ravers form all over the country and Europe camping there for 3 or 4 days. Day one I wasn't able to make because of work, so I missed PvD, but I wasn't too disappointed, having had my small Adam Beyer party in Frankfurt. Day two was laden with a techno line up that had expectations and anticipation at peak level: Renato Cohen, Hardfloor live, Monika Kruse, Andre Galuzzi, D.Diggler, Marco Remus and, surprise surprise, Adam Beyer. Arriving in the afternoon at the huge campground, almost stretching to the horizon, was an experience in itself. Techno freaks everywhere and techno music coming from sound systems ranging from small to gigantic at every corner. Being surrounded by thousands and thousands of like-minded party animals got me in an elated state of mind immediately. As the night fell, we moved on the the actual party grounds featuring a large open air floor, a huge techno tent, the large Cocoon tent and countless smaller floors scattered around the outer perimeter in what used to be bunkers. Obviously, I spent most time in the techno tent which had, among others, Renato Cohen, Monika Kruse, Adam Beyer and Marco Remus. Renato started out absolutely banging at the early hour of about 10 pm, and that was in fact an indication of what was to follow ? one of the best techno nights of the year which left me speechless almost all night. That was not enough for the month, of course, and the following weeks sent me around the globe again. The week after Nature One was the Streetparade in Zurich, these days eclipsing the Berlin Loveparade in size and atmosphere. In contrast to Berlin there is more of a focus on trance rather than techno, though. Both the parade and the largest after party, the huge Energy, featured PvD. A week later was Richie Hawtin at a small outdoor party in Cologne and another week later PvD at Summerstage in Central Park, New York, which I didn't want to miss for its very special location. It was a good party with the good board turnout, though most agreed that musically it was clearly sub-par.
That was no big deal, as the first two weeks of September provided two more opportunities to see PvD in top form, at the 'Reflections' release parties first in Berlin and then in Frankfurt. Both turned out to be absolutely awesome, the Berlin party featuring a live performance of PvD's 'Time of our Lives' with John McDaid of Vega 4 and the Frankfurt set being banging exactly to my liking.
October started with a party hat trick, Laurent Garnier at Robert Johnson on the 1st, Adam Beyer, Cari Lekebusch, Marco Carola, Umek at the 5 year anniversary party of U60 on the 2nd, and a special back-to-back performance by Richie Hawtin and Ricardo Villalobos, again at Robert Johnson. All of those were excellent. From the small back to the gigantic it was again at the 'I Love Techno' festival in Belgium, which, needless to say, headlined Adam Beyer in a 6-deck back-to-back battle with fellow Swede Cari Lekebusch as well as Renato Cohen, Chris Liebing, Richie Hawtin, to only mention the names I managed to see at that extra large event. The month closed with a night with techno godfather Sven Vath at U60.
While the year was drawing to a close, the partying continued unabated. Chris Liebing's 4 year anniversary party of his regular party at U60 was of course a must and included Adam Beyer and Speedy J live. From there I left early straight to the airport to catch my flight for my week-long vacation to the US, which in a lucky twist of fate concluded with PvD's superb performance at the Roxy in New York. Back in Frankfurt there was still no shortage of good parties with another intimate Richie Hawtin night at Robert Johnson and a musically superb 'Kanzleramt' label night at U60 with Alexander Kowalski live, Heiko Laux, Funk D'Void.
And finally, December concluded the year with my two favorites, PvD and Adam Beyer. PvD's last Vandit Night of the year was a very special event as it was a requests-only night, where people could send in requests prior to the party for Paul to play that night. Unsurprisingly, that brought out tons of PvD classics, almost each track known to the crowd and it was great to hear those tracks again live. At long last, NYE came to end the year as banging as it had begun, with the 'Space Odyssey 2004 - 18hoursoutofspace' party at U60 with Chris Liebing & Adam Beyer, Cari Lekebusch, Gayle San, Chris Zander where the clearly best sets were delivered by Cari Lekebusch and the always amazing Liebing & Beyer 6-deck back-to-back.
As a new experience and in contrast to 2002 this year had me attend several of festivals, outdoor and indoor, small and large. I still haven't made up my mind as to which I prefer, the large festival or the smaller, more intimate club setting. I guess each has its own merits and given the fantastic experiences I had at some of them I will most likely do some festivals again in 2004.
And here is my complete 2003 party list:
1/11 Kemeticjust: Justin, Paul David @ Robert Johnson, Frankfurt/OF
1/17 Space DJs, Bandulu live, Jesco Schuck / RiCO!, Josip, S.L.A.M. aka GRILLE @ U60, Frankfurt
1/18 Tiefschwarz, Sebastian Kahrs @ Robert Johnson, Frankfurt/OF
1/25 Cess, Chris Zander, Ingo Boss, Josip, FM @ MTW, Offenbach
1/31 Roman Fl?Heiko M/S/O @ Robert Johnson, Frankfurt/OF
2/15 Gaafar El Mallah, Talla 2XLC, Victor Dinaire @ Arc, NYC
2/21 PvD @ Roxy, NYC
2/22 Danny Howells, Bill Patrick @ Arc, NYC
3/01 PvD @ MTW, Offenbach
3/07 Chris Liebing @ U60, Frankfurt
3/14 Sven Vath @ U60, Frankfurt
3/20 Sasha&Digweed, Sander Kleinenberg, Steve Lawler @ Space34, Miami
3/21 PvD, Edgar V @ Space34, Miami
3/22 Deep Dish @ Space34, Miami
3/23 PvD, Sander Kleinenberg, Junkie XL @ Ultra, Miami
4/05 Adam Beyer, Sven V䴨, Richie Hawtin, Alter Ego, Speedy J, Chris Liebing, Marco Bailey, Umek, Dave Clarke et al. @ Timewarp, Mannheim
4/18 Adam Beyer, Cari Lekebusch, Renato Cohen "Sweden meets Brazil" @ U60, Frankfurt
4/25 Baby Ford, Zip @ Robert Johnson
4/25 Sven Vath @ U60, Frankfurt
4/30 Marco Remus, Chris Liebing, PvD, NuNRG live, Blank&Jones, Vanguard live, Bad Boy Bill, Jack de Marseille, Dero @ Mayday
5/02 Chris Liebing @ U60, Frankfurt
5/10 Heiko MSO, Ata, Captain Comatose live @ Robert Johnson, Frankfurt/OF
5/17 DJ Tandu, DJ Elb @ index, Frankfurt
5/23 Michael Mayer, Tobias Thomas @ Robert Johnson, Frankfurt/OF
5/24 PvD, Moguai @ Departure@Sixx.pm/Thierbrauerei, Dortmund
6/06 PvD, Sander Kleinenberg @ Casino, Berlin
6/08 Thomas Krome, et al. @ Palazzo, Bingen
6/14 PvD @ Hotel Arena, Amsterdam
6/20 Richie Hawtin @ U60311, Frankfurt
6/21 n/a @ index, Frankfurt
6/21 Spektrum live, Sebastian, Heiko MSO & Ata, Needs vs Liquid @ Robert Johnson, Frankfurt/OF
6/28 Adam Beyer, Tomcraft, Tom Novy, Hooligan, Afrika Islam @ Nordsternpark, Gelsenkirchen
6/30 Pascal FEOS, Oliver Bondzio @ Amnesia, Ibiza
7/01 Manumission carry on @ Space, Ibiza
7/02 Namaste Goa party
7/03 Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk @ Amnesia, Ibiza
7/04 Salvacion @ Space, Ibiza
7/05 Matinee @ Space, Ibiza
7/05 DefMix - Satoshi Tomiie, Bobby D'Ambrosio, Hector Romero @ Pacha, Ibiza
7/06 David Phillips, Cassius, Steve Lawler, James Zabiela, Francois K @ Space, Ibiza
7/07 Tanja Vulcano et al @ DC10
7/07 Marco Carola, Adam Beyer, Danilo Vigorito @ Amnesia, Ibiza
7/08 Manumission carry on @ Space, Ibiza
7/11 PvD, Moguai, Tiesto @ Columbiahalle, Berlin
7/12 Loveparade Berlin
7/12 Chris Liebing, Dero @ Columbiafritz, Berlin
7/13 Heiko Laux, Alexander Kowalski live @ Tresor Park, Berlin
7/13 Chris Liebing, DJ Dero @ Tresor, Berlin
7/18 Dabrye live, James Cotton & Matthew Dear @ Robert Johnson, Frankfurt/OF
7/18 Gaetano Parisio, Marco Remus @ U60311, Frankfurt
7/19 Ewan Pearson & Losoul @ Robert Johnson, Frankfurt/OF
7/25 Adam Beyer, Monika Kruse @ U60311, Frankfurt
7/26 GTA party @ dEEkAy, Bielefeld
8/01 Adam Beyer, Stanny Franssen, Gaetano Parisio @ 190East, Frankfurt
8/02 Renato Cohen, Audiotechture, Adam Beyer, Hardfloor live, Monika Kruse, Andre Galuzzi, D.Diggler, Marco Remus @ Nature One, Raketenbasis Pydna, Kastellaun
8/09 Streetparade Zurich
8/09 PvD et al. @ Energy, Hallenstadion, Zurich
8/17 Richie Hawtin @ Pollerwiese & Suite 42, K?
8/28 PvD @ Summer Stage, Central Park, New York
9/05 Chris Liebing, Massimo @ U60311, Frankfurt
9/06 PvD @ 'Reflections' release party, Columbiahallen, Berlin
9/07 Sven Vath, (Richie Hawtin, Steve Bug, R. Villalobos) @ green&blue, Atlantis Waldschwimmbad, Obertshausen
9/12 PvD, Tillmann Uhrmacher @ 'Reflections' release party, Union Halle, Frankfurt
9/13 Heiko MSO, T.Raumschmiere, Paul Britschitsch, et al @ Robert Johnson & MTW
9/27 Yannick, Lars&Marek Bartkuhn @ Robert Johnson, Frankfurt/OF
10/01 Laurent Garnier @ Robert Johnson, Frankfurt/OF
10/02 Adam Beyer, Cari Lekebusch, Marco Carola, Umek @ 5 years U60311, Frankfurt
10/04 Richie Hawtin, Ricardo Villalobos @ Robert Johnson, Frankfurt/OF
10/10 Ellen Allien, Sascha Funke @ Robert Johnson, Frankfurt/OF
10/18 Adam Beyer, Cari Lekebusch, Renato Cohen, Chris Liebing, Richie Hawtin @ I Love Techno, Gent, Belgium
10/31 Sven Vath, Ingo boss @ U60311, Frankfurt
11/07 Chris Liebing, Adam Beyer, Speedy J live, Steve Rachmad @ U60311, Frankfurt
11/14 PvD @ Roxy, NYC
11/20 Richie Hawtin aka Plastikman, Magda @ Robert Johnson, Frankfurt/OF
11/21 Tiesto @ Unionhalle, Frankfurt
11/28 Alexander Kowalski live, Heiko Laux, Funk D'Void, Diego @ U60311, Frankfurt
11/29 David Duriez @ Robert Johnson, Frankfurt/OF
12/12 Michael Mayer, Tobias Thomas @ Robert Johnson, Frankfurt/OF
12/19 PvD, Stef Vrolijk @ Casino, Berlin
12/31 Chris Liebing&Adam Beyer, Cari Lekebusch, Gayle San, Chris Zander @ '18 hours out of space', U60311, Frankfurt " />
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