On Thursday September 13th, Virtual Self brought us to the Utopia System for an unforgettable tour. The night was truly a smorgasbord for old-school techno fans and new ravers alike, bringing the best of every genre to hit the stage. We had an absolute blast dancing the night away!
Raito’s opening performance set the tone for the entire night, with his four-on-the-floor sound getting the whole dance floor moving. His set was extremely dancer-focused, evoking vibes reminiscent of the underground raves of the 90s. Though subtle, his DJing demonstrated incredible technical mastery, with the set slowly unfolding layer by layer. Raito really felt like a natural fit for a Virtual Self show. Of course, Eprom didn’t disappoint, either, as his set immediately increased the crowd’s energy, while still maintaining his downtempo style.
After both our amazing openers, we reached the pinnacle of the night: Virtual Self’s set. The crew pulled out all the stops to enhance production, with a plexiglass floor as the centerpiece. The introduction featured Virtual Self walking on stage while the lighting created a phasing effect, immediately signaling that we were now in the Utopia System. Flurries of lasers and incredible graphics continued throughout the set, perfectly framing the music.
The hour-and-a-half slot was cleverly divided into two 45-minute sets, each representative of the alter-ego’s within Virtual Self, Pathselector and technic-Angel. Pathselector kicked it off with an eclectic mix of early trance sounds that washed over the venue. Of course, Ghost Voices and a.i.ngel (Become God) both made much-anticipated appearances, but the set’s structure and timbral palette seemed to be more closely tied to the DDR soundtracks that Virtual Self loves so dearly. The inclusions of SySF’s Look to the Sky was just one of the songs to reflect those vibes.
Other old school favorites like Ian Van Dahl’s Castles in the Sky, brought the audience right back to some of their first encounters with electronic music. And of course, Virtual Self had to include some other nods to video games and anime. The crowd’s favorite nod had to be the edit of Planitb’s Simple and Clean remix. Every Kingdom Hearts fan immediately recognized the iconic theme by Utada Hikaru, and the crowd erupted in cheers. The addition of on-screen graphics reminiscent of the game’s scene and the original music video only enhanced the effect of this portion of the set.
After 45 minutes of trance heaven, on-screen graphics and a voice announcing a “tempo increase” signaled the arrival of technic-Angel’s set. This set was hard-hitting from the start, with a hardstyle ID setting the tone. This half of the set certainly brought any energy that might have been missing from the vibey first half, with up-tempo beats that anyone could get down to. One of the highlights of this set was definitely the Virtual Self edit of Concord Dawn’s Take Me Away, leading into Angel Voices, the technic-Angel remix of Ghost Voices.
Overall, this half featured much darker, bassier vibes befitting the technic-Angel persona. The tone was again highly reminiscent of the Y2K theme behind the entire Virtual Self project. A majority of the beats and tracks mixed together were relatively minimal, but entirely satisfying in the context of the performance. The finale was truly the perfect cap to the night, proceeding out of Particle Arts, venturing through even more hard-hitting tracks and beats, into a glorious end with Eon Break.
Virtual Self offered attendees the full concert experience, providing something for just about any fan. The level of thought and skill behind the tour was definitely on the level that you’d expect. We came with high expectations, and left completely satisfied.
What were your favorite moments spent in the Utopia System? Let us know!
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