Paul Van Dyk is one of those DJs I never tire of seeing. He has always put on a good show, been gracious with fans, and kept his sets fresh. Earlier this year, he came not once but twice to Texas. His first appearance was in Dallas for Dreamstate’s debut in Houston’s sister city to the north. We here in Texas were very fortunate to have the outstanding lineup we were given. Each city on Paul’s North American Tour had a different assortment of guest artists and some faired better than others. Poor Phoenix and Montreal only had Alex M.O.R.P.H and Heatbeat. Calgary only had Alex M.O.R.P.H. and San Diego only had Simon Patterson joining PVD. Of all the tour stops, Dallas had one of the most impressive lineups with Heatbeat, Alex M.O.R.P.H., and Vini Vici as guests at the South Side Music Hall. The news was a shock to my system. How would Dallas handle so much trance I wondered? I was more than willing to drive over three hours to find out.
It just so happened that on the night of Dreamstate Dallas Lil Wayne was also having a concert in the same venue so our hopes of parking at the venue was quickly deflated. Our hotel wasn’t very far from South Side Music Hall so we ended up just taking an Uber. It ended up being a good choice because parking was very scarce and very much a clusterfuck as people slowly rolled up in vehicles, dropping off women wearing skin-tight, above-the-knee dresses accenting their back ends. A few of them ended up going to the entrance of the Dreamstate Dallas event and quickly made a retreat for Lil Wayne. I could only shake my head, as I felt they were missing out on the better show.
Entry was smooth and painless. The staff that scanned my ticket and the security personnel were professional and friendly. I had no problems at all. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I stepped inside. It wasn’t the NOS Center, so I didn’t think there would be any large scale production the likes of which I had seen at Dreamstate in Socal. The room we were in for Dreamstate Dallas ended up remaining relatively dark throughout the night. Above the dance floor hung LED orbs that changed color periodically. They added a nice, intimate ambiance to the show.
Dallas is always a hell of a drive, so, unfortunately, we didn’t make it in time to see Heatbeat open the night, due to needing to rest for about an hour after we got to our hotel. We were able to make it right on time for Alex M.O.R.P.H., a DJ I had never seen until that night. He mixed in some psytrance into his set and I thought it blended well with everything else he played. The video below from Jennifer Lopez captures the intensity of Alex’s set.
Next up was Aviram Saharai of Vini Vici. He was just okay. If you are a fan of Vini Vici then you would have been pleased with the tracklist. Don’t get me wrong. I do like much of Vini Vici’s work, but the mixing wasn’t up to par. I took a bathroom break and walked around to socialize during the set. It allowed me time to rest before Paul Van Dyk. There was a considerable number of people in the room by this point in the night. The crowd was very diverse and older than the typical EDM club goer. The bars stayed fairly busy, but I didn’t notice anyone that was unable to handle their liquor or stumbling around due to ingesting too many drugs. The people surrounding me were there to come together for the love of trance and to mark an important night in Texas nightlife. After attending the very first Dreamstate in Southern California it was my hope that Dreamstate would expand to other cities beyond San Bernadino. Now, before my eyes were DJs playing nothing but straight trance.
I was beyond ready for Paul Van Dyk. A hush fell over the room after Vini Vici’s set came to a close and the lights were turned down. Cheers and yells could be heard from all around the building as Paul Van Dyk emerged to an enthusiastic welcome but when Paul began his set, all was quiet again, save a few whistlers and cheers. In that moment, Paul Van Dyk, the phoenix of trance, stood up and gave one of the best performances I have taken in. Check out this video captured by Youtube user Annonymous S of the opening of Paul Van Dyk’s set.
A few weeks later in Houston, Paul Van Dyk showed up at Stereo Live Houston for his North American Tour, alongside Heatbeat, Alex M.O.R.P.H., and Simon Patterson. Paul van Dyk was his authentic self in both Dallas and Houston, but it looked like he was having a lot more fun in Houston, dancing and punching the air as he played. In Dallas, lighting was kept to a minimum. In Houston, both lights and lasers were turned on for Paul’s Houston tour stop. It made for a fun, invigorating night. I ran into quite a few familiar faces at Stereo Live Houston. People came out of the woodworks to see the master do what he does best.
I actually arrived early enough to see Heatbeat once again kick the night off. Agustin Servente was there to represent the duo and he did an excellent job. Over a decade ago Argentinians Agustin Servente and Matias Faint merged their respective talents and now they tour the world. Agustin performed as if he was in an arena of thousands.
A repeat performance from Alex M.O.R.P.H. lacked a lot of the psytrance he played in Dallas, but it was still a good set. While I thoroughly enjoyed his set in Dallas, I found myself dancing around more to his Houston set. There’s little to say about Simon Patterson except that he executed a flawless set as always. The VII label member dropped bomb after bomb, preparing the crowd for Paul Van Dyk with an onslaught of trance.
Throughout the night, I expected to hear Robert Miles’s “Children” at some point. Paul Van Dyk teased it once in his set but didn’t play it out until the very end. The moment can’t be described, but it can most assuredly be felt. Below is a video captured by our friend Mir Shoaib from when Paul Van Dyk dropped “Children” to mark the passing of one of the genre’s greatest influencers.
Paul Van Dyk’s comeback has been one that has moved me and motivated me to be at my very best. This man fell and could have been paralyzed or died. He went through months of therapy to regain some sense of normalcy of his life. To think that he is once again playing shows and back in the studio is a testament to the human spirit. I was honored to be in his presence and look forward to many more nights dancing to Paul Van Dyk. For a recap of my time in Dreamstate Dallas, peep my video!