By: David Saunders
After hosting Dirty South, Hardwell, R3HAB, and countless other DJs this summer playing bangers and top Beatport hits, I'll admit, I was curious to see how EDM culture's purveyor of 138bpm trance would do on the infamous island venue. Having been to Governors Island nearly every weekend this summer, I've seen and listened to some great talent, but I'd also become increasingly aware of the influx of scenesters looking for the festival vibe without the hassle of astronomical ticket prices and lengthy commutes.
The majority of DJs who have played there this summer have given these new attendees exactly what they were looking to find, but Paul van Dyk is different. He doesn't play the massive bangers with repetitive drops (no judgment here, I enjoy it all), rather he sticks to his guns and plays the faster paced trance we've come to know him for.
Let's just get this out of the way: Paul van Dyk did not disappoint. After arriving to the ferry and walking directly on (if you've been to Governors Island this summer you know this is not usual) I was semi-concerned that no one would be in attendance. As the ferry approached the island my concerns were immediately allayed; the tent was packed.
While the attendance was no where near the insanity of R3hab three weeks earlier (where the island hit capacity!) the crowd had filled the tent and was pouring over onto the beach. The token kandi kids and tutu-clad ravers were not readily visible. The crowd was slightly more mature and clearly not the neon wearing tweens that we've become accustomed to seeing (again no judgment).
While I struggled to find IDs of tracks that he played, the music was mixed and selected perfectly. As any DJ knows, a 6 hour set is not something you blindly walk into. It takes preparation for on-the-fly track selection to create the narrative that all the best DJs are known for. Paul van Dyk blended so many different tracks in such a perfect order that the 6 hours went by in a flash. There wasn't a single time during the short 6 hours where the crowd wasn't dancing wildly on the beautiful concert island. While sitting on the ferry, all we could remember was the euphoric feeling of dancing with our hands high over our heads and the thumping bass line ringing in our ears.
All photos credit: Acoustic Space