If you look back through past posts to this blog, you will see that I have seen Aly & Fila more than any other DJ over the past couple of years. This is partly down to fortuitous circumstance and partly down to my determination not to pass up any opportunity to see my favourite DJ. As a result, travel plans have been altered twice this year, so that we could see Fadi (the Fila in Aly & Fila – Aly doesn’t do any of the DJ’ing) playing in Singapore and in London – and we chose which week to visit Ibiza this year so that we would catch his set on the Driftwood sunset cruise (and thus happened also to be in Ibiza when he played at Space). But my familiarity with Aly & Fila’s music does not lead to any lesser sense of anticipation when another gig comes around and I was excited as much for the show at Sydney’s Metro Theatre on Saturday as I had been for any of the other times we’ve seen Fadi play recently.

In contrast, it was more than 18 months since we’d been to an event at the Metro – a venue I’ve always criticised for poor sound: my concerns about this were the only dampener on the high expectations I had for the night.

As it turned out, my worries were completely misplaced and I can only say that the sound system on Saturday night was fantastic – deep and rich, yet clear and not muddy or distorted. So much better than before and something to really congratulate the production team at Genesis for having resolved the problems.

And to go with the really good sound was a wonderful display of visuals, lights and lasers (provided by Man Lie) to match. It’s difficult to find the words to describe the visual spectacle, but hopefully some of the pictures and videos help do justice to what our eyes were treated to.

The show was sold out and we managed to negotiate a long queue deftly, by finding a friend near the head of the line. As a result, we got in early and started off listening to the tunes that Tonto was playing in the side room. He was mixing tunes like Simon Patterson feat. Sarah Howells – Dissolve and Push – The Legacy, while we caught up with our friends and grabbed some drinks.

Soon it was time to make our way into the packed main room and find a good spot to enjoy the night’s headline act – Aly & Fila. You would think that having seen him four times already this year, I’d know what to expect, but I was utterly unprepared for the way the first hour of the set developed.

Fadi opened the set with Betsie Larkin & Giuseppe Ottaviani – Toys, a great tune from 2012, dark and melodic, with Larkin’s fabulous vocals at their very best. But before long, he moved into psy-trance territory, something that very few in the crowd can have been expecting. Throughout the night, he mixed uplifting trance skilfully with psy-trance and what a vibe this created! It truly was an exceptional set, beautifully structured as a journey, and I loved every minute of it.

Mixed in with the psy tunes were classic tunes from the Aly & Fila back catalogue, such as FKN feat. Jahala – Why? (Aly & Fila Remix), Rapid Eye – Circa Forever (Aly & Fila Remix), Aly & Fila feat. Jwaydan – We Control The Sunlight and tracks like Nubia (with Ferry Tayle), Full Throttle (with Sneijder), Altitude Compensation, For All Time (feat. Jaren), Running (with Skypatrol and feat. Sue McLaren) from the new album, The Other Shore, released only one day earlier. We also heard more great tracks such as John O’Callaghan feat. Jennifer Rene – Games (Standerwick Remix), Andain – Beautiful Things (Fady & Mina Remix) and Luke Bond feat. Roxanne Emery – On Fire (Aly & Fila Remix).

Not only were we being treated to fantastic music, there was also a really friendly atmosphere among the crowd. Sometimes at busy events, there can be an element who are a bit pushy, unfriendly and rather too drunk. But not here – the PLUR vibe flowed strongly through the room and contributed to making the night special.

The music seemed to get better and better and Fadi kept mixing up the psy-trance tunes with the uplifting trance he’s more noted for and the crowd simply couldn’t get enough of it all. With daylight savings kicking in at 2am, this meant that the 4am closing time was coming round all too soon and, as he brought things to a close with Aly & Fila and Solarstone – Fireisland (Aly & Fila Uplifting Mix), Aly & Fila and Roger Shah feat. Sylvia Tosun – Eye 2 Eye (FSOE 350 Anthem) and Oceanlab – Satellite, the Metro was still packed to the rafters.

What happened next will stay for me for a very long time. Fadi picked up the microphone to say thank you to Sydney, and proceeded to beg with the venue management to let him play not just one more song, but one more hour and offering to pay himself any penalty that might be incurred. I’m sure that if they’d let him, he wouldn’t have played just another hour but longer still than that. His last club performance in Sydney, at Home nightclub in late 2012, had been billed originally as a 90 minute set, but had turned into well over three hours by the time he was dragged off the decks. But, sadly, the Metro’s management was unrelenting and we had to be satisfied with just one more song: Aly & Fila feat. Ever Burn – Is It Love?

And once he’d finally stopped playing, he spent almost three quarters of an hour chatting to his fans who waited patiently to speak to him and have photos taken. What a legend … and what a sensational night this was! Without any doubt, one of the best nights of the year for me and definitely the best I’ve had in Sydney all year. Days later and I’m still buzzing from it. This was a five star night and the only negative was that it had to end. Let’s hope Fadi comes back to Sydney soon and next time he’s allowed to play for as long as he wants!



Many thanks to Luke Davids Photography for the awesome photos! The shaky videos are my own.