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Stereosonic & Sublime pres. Satellite v3.0 feat. Paul van Dyk @ Home, Sydney (28/11/08)

This year, for the first time, the Stereosonic festival went national, and it wrapped up the Sydney leg of the tour on Friday night with Paul van Dyk at Home Nightclub, rounding out our series of ‘Satellite’ with Infected Mushroom and Guiseppe Ottaviani also along for good measure. DJ Mag’s #3, #10, and a trance veteran on the rise respectively, on a Friday night at one of Sydney’s biggest clubs: yep, it’s all looking pretty good. Surprisingly for some, and despite being a Sydney-sider for more than twelve months now, this would be my first experience at Home, and there were many keen to pop my Home cherry, so to speak. To an extent, so was I.

We arrived and after a quick course in ‘Home 101’ from one of my more seasoned campaigners, we settled in to listen to Infected Mushroom. Recently voted in as #10 on the DJ Mag Top 100 for their style of psytrance, to be honest, I don’t know what I was expecting. What we received, hell, I’m still not sure what it actually was either. Loud. Heavy. Rock infused craziness. Psytrance? Not so sure, but it certainly wasn’t what I would have anticipated hearing the same night as one of the world’s premier trance DJs. Big Day Out I could understand, but at a Sublime night, it just seemed ridiculously out of place. And while we’re at it, how can an outfit come 10th in a worldwide DJ poll when the amount of DJ gigs for the year can be counted on one hand? I do not get it. Maybe I never will. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t glad that we only had to endure 60 minutes of it.

Jumping Jack followed and as a precursor to the main act, it was just what was required after the unbridled chaos of Infected Mushroom. He got everyone back into the grove with a nice solid set of uplifting trance that got everyone in the mood for what I dare say, the vast majority had come for: PVD. And when the headliner arrived, he did it with absolute aplomb. For two hours, he took everyone on an uplifting trance journey that he appeared to be enjoying as much as those on the packed, and ridiculously hot and sweaty dancefloor. His work behind the decks was A-grade, dubbing versions of tracks, mashing together up to four tunes at a time, and even throwing in live keyboards. He absolutely nailed it.

He ploughed through a stack of his own tunes, Castaway, Let Go, Complicated and the feeling amongst what looked very much like a close to capacity crowd, at least down on the ground level, was absolute euphoria. PVD lapped it up and kept the ripping tunes coming one after the other, even sneaking in a preview of the DJ to follow him, in Our Dimension (arrogant or a show of support…? You decide), and while the overall tempo was perhaps a touch down on what some may have expected, it was entirely consistent with what he continues to say about his music; that it’s not just about trance or techno, but rather, what he prefers to just call “electronic music”. It matters little. On this night, it was two hours of absolute power from PVD, and as he wrapped it up, there were many happy – and sweaty – punters on the floor, and for many others, it erased the memories of previous visits to Australia where he may have left the punters wanting a little (or a lot) more.

It’s never easy performing on the back of such a high-profile DJ, but as Guiseppe Ottaviani stepped up to the plate and the crowd thinned out, those that remained behind enjoyed a solid 90 minutes from the big Italian, with plenty of trance and even a touch of prog thrown in for good measure. My crew and I enjoyed it so much that before we knew it, he was done too – and was throwing over to Archie and Amber Savage playing back to back, and with everyone that remained all huddled around the front, you could feel the love.

We’d all been on a journey, and as the crowd began to dissipate considerably, and only the diehards remained, we decided to call it a night. My cherry popped, we walked out into a miserable and wet Saturday morning, but we cared little. That had been one hell of a night. And the weekend had only just started.