A week after ADE and this life-changing event and I’m still gathering my thoughts. I haven’t been raving around for too long, just over 7 years, but I can genuinely say that I’ve seen a lot. Anything from major open air festivals, to indoor arenas, all kinds of club shows all around Europe and India. But Axwell Λ Ingrosso‘s night during ADE as part of this year’s Amsterdam Music Festival program was something else.
I feel the need to stress out that I come from a pure trance environment, where usually light-shows and lower bpm music don’t always excite me. So this was me trying something new and embracing something different. Although I can sing along to every single Swedish House Mafia tune, I knew that ‘Λ’ wouldn’t exactly be the same thing.
I’m always up for a challenge and I love it when I manage to go somewhere without having any expectations for the night, as usually those always result in the best experiences. Once again this theory proved to be absolutely correct.
Here was I stepping in through the doors of Heineken Music Hall for the first time in my life, only to be totally blown away from the very first moment of the perfection of their sound system. Although we were a little bit late, we managed to catch a glimpse of the last few bits of the new and highly-promising Axtone talent – Klahr. You could already notice the excitement of people, as the venue was close to reaching its capacity. Shortly after, another Axtone future star – NEW_ID stepped onto the decks. Having already identified the perfect central spot to experience the night, I already had myself dancing.
1.25 AM sharp everything went off. Background music started kicking in as people already expected it to be the intro of the two swedes. Another 6-7 minutes passed with nothing but complete darkness, raising up the tension level and driving the crowd crazy in their screaming, whistling and excitement.
A helicopter’s rumble slowly started taking over the crowd’s voices as lights start to kick in perfect harmony. Wall of lasers surround the decks as the specially-designed cyclo-laser accompanies the 2 highly-anticipated heroes of the night emerging from underneath the stage. The vibe at this point is absolutely indescribable. We now all see, Axwell Λ Ingrosso’s smiles as they absorb the room’s energy in a split second, while premiering for the first time their latest ID – “How Do You Feel Right Now”.
To be honest at this point I have no idea how I am feeling, I can just remember the goosebumps all over my body, the ecstatic crowd around me and my mouth wide open; but that was just the beginning.
The cinematic and ridiculously realistic visuals had the crowd trapped in a virtual reality. The perfect sync between lights, music, pyro and optical experience was perfected to the very last bit. In a recent interview, the pyro technician of the show shared some insights on the production:
“We had an incredible amount of lasers today. Usually at a venue of this size, 6 to 8 lasers suffice. Tonight we had no less than 106 of them! Another thing that was special tonight is the cyclo-laser in the middle of the Heineken Music Hall. That one just keeps going non-stop, so there’s lasers all around, all the time. And the pyro of course… Tonight’s show was extremely exciting for us. We used up an amount of pyro that usually lasts a whole day of events. Now we fired all of that in the air in an hour and a half! For us, that means that there’s no rest and zero room for error. These are the days we live for.”
106 lasers. That says enough.
Axwell Λ Ingrosso took us on a journey through time, sharing the best of current tracks, the best of old, a decent amount of IDs that I am now dying to identify and of course, the icing on the cake – the world’s favorite Swedish House Mafia hits. Ingrosso’s incomparable dance moves and energy kept charging up the crowd, as Axwell’s nearly confusing shout outs on the mic completely exposed the emotional rush he had to be going through.
Barricade, Sweet Disposition, One, Reload, Antidote, Dream Bigger, Can’t Hold Us Down, Levels, are just a few of the evergreen hits that rang through the night. Full tracklist can be found here.
I reached out to my colleague Petar, who joined me to experience the night. And when I asked him about what stood out the most for him, he hesitated as to what to put first. It was clear that he was in the same boat as me. He still had the difficulty to process the experience, the music, the production, all of it. But then he put himself together and firmly said:
“What stands out for me is their ability to – even at this high level, they are still able to top themselves”
And I couldn’t agree more. With electronic music taking over the world in the past few years, it is very difficult to stand out, to surpass someone else. But the biggest challenge is to overcome yourself. And these 2 – they’ve mastered the art.
I could continue writing about this night for days, while battling the goosebumps and teary eyes as I listen to the full set again and again. But I’d like to leave a piece for you guys to discover. So make sure 2017 has an AxIng date in your diary, because one thing I can promise you – it will change your perception of dance music for life.
Check out what Axwell Λ Ingrosso called “the show of our LIVES”.