What a great year it’s been for trance. As well as some fantastic music, I’ve been lucky enough to attend festivals, boat parties and club nights around the world in six countries and three different continents! It’s really hard to compare a night out in Sydney with a festival set in the Netherlands, so there’s no ranking or order to this selection, but I have managed to whittle it down to ten fantastic nights/sets/experiences that will linger in the memory for many years. Actually, on a quick recount, I’ve only narrowed it down to 11, but that will have to do, as none of these deserves to be left off the list.

I’ve written about them all before, of course, so I’m not going to go into detail about each one. Rather, I’ll quickly summarise something about each that made it special.

In chronological order:

Simon Patterson at Voodoo, Home, Sydney – 21 February
This was the best Voodoo night so far. They’d fixed the sound, there was a great turnout and Simon Patterson delivered the goods in a three-hour tour-de-force late into the night (this was before the ludicrous new curfew law was introduced in Sydney). 

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Aly & Fila at Club Zouk, Singapore – 12 April
This was an unexpected, last minute treat, made possible by Ste and Ellen, and by Stuart – so big thanks to all three. Casting around for something to do at the end of our five-week SE Asian holiday, we discovered that Fadi would be playing in Singapore and all we had to do was get ourselves there from Kuala Lumpur. Thanks to fantastically cheap flights, we had a brilliant night and made new friends. And of course the music was sensational.

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Orkidea 1991-2000 Classics Special at Luminosity Beach Festival – 6 July
The whole festival could be listed here, as there is really nothing to compare to Luminosity Beach Festival for trance. But Orkidea’s set at the start of the third day stands out above all the others (and there were some amazing sets played). From Saltwater to Unity, it was goosebumps all the way and, without question, the best set I’ve ever been privileged to bear witness to.

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Aly & Fila on the Driftwood boat party, Ibiza – 28 July
Driftwood boat parties are the best thing about Ibiza and Fadi is not the kind of DJ to dial up the same set for sunset as he does deep into the night, so there was a completely different feel to his set from the one we heard in Singapore. As the overcast afternoon cleared up into a glorious, brilliant sunset and We Control The Sunset filled our ears with joy, there wasn’t a better place to be, anywhere in the world.

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Pure Trance Ibiza with Orkidea, Solarstone & Giuseppe Ottaviani at Sunk, Privilege, Ibiza – 29 July
I’m a huge fan of Solarstone and his Pure Trance brand of music. So a night in Ibiza which also included sets from both the collaborators on the first two volumes of Pure Trance was the perfect follow-up to the previous day’s boat party, as well as the chance to make new friends with fellow trance fans.

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Future Sound Of Egypt 350 at Ministry Of Sound, London – 22 August
Our last night in London for the year and only possible because we’d extended our stay so we didn’t miss it. The awesome Ministry sound system in The Box, with Solarstone and Aly & Fila playing great sets and our first chance to hear Standerwick play would have made it a top night anyway. But getting a chance to chat to Rich Solarstone and Ian Standerwick as well, not to mention the set from John Askew, make this probably my pick of the year as far as clubbing is concerned.

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140 with Jordan Suckley and Allen & Envy at the Oxford Art Factory, Sydney – 6 September
Our first night out in Sydney after we got back and this was an unexpected surprise. I’d been disappointed by both Suckley and A&E when I’d seen them in Holland, so the fact that they both played really great uplifting trance sets in a lovely, intimate venue made it a real treat. I hope there will be more 140 nights to come.

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J00F Editions with John 00 Fleming at Chinese Laundry, Sydney – 13 September
I’ve seen John 00 Fleming several times over the years, but this was easily the best, at least for me. The Cave isn’t everyone’s idea of a great room for dance music, but it’s simply perfect for J00F. No fancy light show, no stage for the DJ to be worshipped from, nothing but a great sound system and, now, improved ventilation. I’ll never forget the moment when I realised he was dropping Tiësto – Suburban Train, one of my all-time favourite tunes.

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Aly & Fila The Other Shore Tour at the Metro, Sydney – 4 October
This is the fourth entry for Aly & Fila on my list, but probably my favourite. Having seen him four times already in 2014, I thought I knew what to expect. But I was wrong. Fadi played a wonderful set, moving through psy-trance into uplifting and tore a hole in the roof of the Metro. He wanted to play another hour and it was a real pity that the only people there who didn’t want him to were the venue’s management, even after he offered personally to foot any extra costs!

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Digital Therapy with Ferry Tayle at 122 Bar, Sydney – 8 November
A really small, but completely packed out underground bar was the perfect setting for another great Digital Therapy night, with Ferry Tayle making his debut appearance in Sydney. The intimate setting, allied to awesome uplifting trance and great mixing made this one of the best Digital Therapy nights to date.

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RISE with Craig Connelly, Photographer, Harmonic Rush and Binary Finary at the Oxford Art Factory, Sydney – 27 December
This night is still very fresh in the memory, as I write. But I think it deserves to be included as the mix of psy and uplifting trance worked so well in a great venue, with stunning lasers. It looks to be the start of something very good for trance in Sydney.

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Lastly, this is a chance to say thank you to all my readers and wish them season’s greetings. And a special thank you to the photographers who have so kindly given permission for me to use their photos – Luke Davids, Anne d’Antimi and Alan Donaldson. Not forgetting all the awesome DJs and promoters for making it all happen.

Now … bring on 2015!

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