Our long stay in Europe was coming to an end and we were booked on the 10pm flight out of Heathrow on Saturday, but that gave us time to enjoy one more night out in London before flying away until next year. And it could hardly have been a better prospect than my two favourite DJs, plus the DJ who had been top of my “must see” list ever since I’d downloaded and listened to the ASOT650 set he delivered at Utrecht in February. It was also a perfect opportunity to say goodbye for another year to many of our London trance family friends.

With the night being broadcast live and a long roster of DJs, it was an early start and we were inside the Ministry before midnight – Ruben de Ronde had already opened proceedings in the Box. We were busy catching up with friends and chatting, but the music was building nicely – with the room filling up and the tunes warming everyone up on an unseasonably cold night for August in London. Among the tunes I noted were Above & Beyond feat. Zoë Johnston – You Got To Go, Armin van Buuren – Ping Pong, Super8 & Tab – Elektra, Armin van Buuren – The Sound Of Goodbye, and Above & Beyond – Small Moments.

Next up was Hazem Beltagui – a DJ whose name I had heard in connection with the Future Sound Of Egypt label (indeed he comes from Alexandria), but whose music I wasn’t familiar with. With the stellar line-up of the rest of the night, we decided to take a break from the Box and retreated in search of drinks. Hopefully we’ll get another chance to catch him soon, as I heard he played a great set.

Regular readers will know how big a fan I am of Solarstone, the DJ behind the Pure Trance movement. I never miss a chance to catch him playing, and I listen to his weekly podcast avidly. He took over from Hazem and soon had the dance floor buzzing as he opened with Solarstone – 4 Ever (Pure Retouch). The next 60 minutes were a wonderful exposition of what Pure Trance is all about, as we heard a succession of Solarstone productions and Pure remixes: Solarstone & Orkidea – Slowmotion III (Solarstone Remix), Solarstone feat. Lemon – Lovers (Giuseppe Ottaviani Remix), Solarstone – Voyager, iKo – Heart Of Stone (Solarstone Pure Mix), closing with London Grammar – Wasting My Young Years (Solarstone Pure Mix). This was another superb Solarstone set: great music combined with the wonderful sound in the Box and a lights and lasers show to complement it perfectly. And on a personal note, it was really nice to meet and chat to Rich himself and his manager Paula before his set.

Now it was time for the night’s headliner, Aly & Fila, and the anticipation levels in the room were at bursting point it seemed. We’d seen Fadi twice in Ibiza recently, but he is never predictable and in a different setting, I didn’t know what to expect – only that it would be 90 minutes to remember. Yet again, it was fantastic from start to finish as he dropped tune after tune in his signature uplifting style.

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Opening with Aly & Fila – Key Of Life and playing tunes such as Luke Bond feat. Roxanne Emery – On Fire (Aly & Fila Remix), Aly & Fila & Sneijder – Full Throttle (from the forthcoming album, The Other Shore), Delerium feat. Leigh Nash – Innocente (Paul Denton & Alex Ryan Rework), Giuseppe Ottaviani & Aly & Fila – Brilliant People (Mark Sherry Remix), Reflekt feat. Delline Bass – Need To Feel Loved (The Thrillseekers Remix), Will Atkinson – Victims, Aly & Fila feat. Sue McLaren – Where To Now (Will Atkinson Gold Mix) and Randy Katana – In Silence (Omar Sherif 2014 Remix), he finally brought his set to a close with the FSOE 350 Anthem: Aly & Fila & Roger Shah feat. Sylvia Tosun – Eye 2 Eye. The packed dance floor in the Box seemed to love every minute of the set and my impression was that there were a higher proportion of true trance fans and a lower percentage of “tourist clubbers” than is normally the case at the Ministry Of Sound.

It’s a tough act to follow Fadi, but John Askew with his darker style is one DJ who can take on such an assignment. Sure enough, the energy level was maintained by tunes such as John Askew – Giving You Acid (Harmonic Rush On Salvia Remix), Nero – Satisfy (Talla 2XLC Inf3rno Rework), Commander Tom – Are Am Eye (John Askew Remix) and John Askew – Mechanism. We needed a breather before the next and last set, but we caught most of Askew’s set and he is the perfect DJ for that time of night.

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Last but not least was the DJ who we’d been longing to see ever since we’d heard the set he’d played on the Who’s Afraid Of 138?! stage at A State Of Trance 650 in February – Standerwick. 2014 seems to have been a breakthrough year for him and with some great productions and collaborations (in particular with ReOrder and with The Thrillseekers) for him to include in his sets, I think he is definitely one to watch out for. His DJ style is uncompromisingly uplifting, hard and driving – just what is needed at the end of a great night like this. He mashed up Standerwick – Valyrian with Ørjan Nilsen – Between The Rays, played Vincent De Moor – Fly Away (Sean Tyas Remix), John O’Callaghan feat. Jennifer Rene – Games (Ian Standerwick Remix), Armin van Buuren feat. Aruna – Won’t Let You Go (Ian Standerwick Remix) and drew the night to a conclusion with Aly & Fila – Laily (Photographer Remix). It was certainly a contender for set of the night, against some very stiff competition!

We said our goodbyes and left blinking into the Saturday morning light and set off home ready to spend the day preparing for the long flight back to Sydney. It was the perfect way to end our visit to London in 2014. Time to make plans for next year. And to hope we will be lucky enough to catch a Future Sound Of Egypt 400 show somewhere!