Gabriel & Dresden @ The Mid, Chicago

Last night, Gabriel & Dresden visited Chicago and put on an amazing performance that spanned genres, and eras. At one point in time, Gabriel & Dresden were my absolute favorite trance group. Their mixes were beautiful, melodic, layered, and sounded like nothing else, but I don't think they liked being restricted to a single genre.

Last year, I wrote a post about all of this: June 23rd, 2011. As time went on, they adapted their style towards the change in EDM. They always featured some of the best tracks, and presented them with their own sound. Their sound was as reactionary, as it was trendsetting amongst some Trance DJs. I had always viewed them as curators of EDM, with an added focus on Trance.

After a 3 year break, they reunited last year with a slightly different sound than what people were used to. It had a harder edge. There was mainstream Trance tracks, some popular "House" tracks, and Dubstep tracks filling in some gaps, which was mashed up for consistent flow. Plenty of fans complained about the change in style, but these people fail to realize that this is exactly what they've always done. They've never been straight up trance. (except for, maybe, at the beginning)

Last Year

Last year, they stopped by Chicago on July 9th, and performed a set nearly identical to others that had been broadcasted, recorded, and hosted online. It was exactly what I wanted, but it had no surprises. At that time, I think they were trying to get the word out there. They built up a fantastic cache of mash ups, and remixes, and were ready to use them effectively in a city near you.

Fair enough. They ended up using all those track to form an mix album, which was released on Armada towards the end of summer last year.

Today... It's been a year since they've gotten back together, and they haven't been nearly as self-promoting as they were after the reunion. I definitely wanted to see them again, and see what has changed, what they've learned, and how they've adapted to the rapidly changing landscape of EDM.

Last Night!

And they have adapted. Last night, Dave Dresden and Josh Gabriel spun for a little over 3 hours. And started off with some somewhat heavy tracks.

I caught the first 40 minutes on video, which you can find here:

They started off with a mashup of Beautiful Things, and went into some heavy tracks. 45 minutes into the set, they started shifting focus a little bit, and started playing a lot of their tracks from last year.

I definitely heard the following tracks:

- Andain - Promises (Gabriel & Dresden Remix)
- Motorcycle - As The Rush Comes (DJ Kue Remix)
- Clashback vs. Michael Woods vs. R.E.M. - Losing My Outset (Gabriel & Dresden Mashup)
- Josh Gabriel pres. Winter Kills - Deep Down (Josh Gabriel Remix)
- Arty & Mat Zo - Rebound (Gabriel & Dresden Edit)
- Gabriel & Dresden vs. Fedde Le Grand - Dust In The Control Room (Gabriel & Dresden Mashup)
- Afrojack vs. Way Out West - Replica Of Mindcircus (Dave Dresden Mashup)

The also played the Eric Prydz remix of M83 - Midnight City!! The crowd erupted as soon as that bass line hit. It's not as great the original, but it still captures the intensive energy that makes everyone hop in the air, no matter who you are. :)

A little after 2 hours into their 3 hour set, they started bringing more trance. They played the obligatory Sun & Moon track, but started going deep into their pockets to give us a full out fan service retrospective. And they even played James Holden - Nothing! I never expected to hear that one live again. I jotted down all the tracks they played in the last 40ish minutes of the night.

- Marcus Schulz - Without You Near (Gabriel & Dresden Remix) [2006]
- Above & Beyond - Sun & Moon [2011]
- Gabriel & Dresden ft. Jan Burton - Dangerous Power (Original Mix) [2006]
- James Holden - Nothing (93 Returning Mix) [2003]
- Armin van Buuren pres. Gabriel & Dresden - Zocalo [2005]
- Gabriel & Dresden - Tracking Treasure Down (Club Mix) [2006]
- The Killers - Read my Mind (Gabriel & Dresden Remix) [2007]
- Above & Beyond - No One on Earth (Gabriel & Dresden Remix) [2004] (video)

I think they play No One on Earth as their closing track to every set they do these days. <_<


This was the fourth time I have seen Gabriel & Dresden. I've now seen them twice after their reunion, and the other times were in 2004 when I was WAY into them. Oddly enough, the first time I saw them live was February 28th, 2004, almost 8 years ago exactly. And I wrote about that experience as well. Be prepared, as it is very horribly written --> Click!. I took a lot of pictures, too.

I met some people from the Trance Addict forum in real life, and we had a meet and greet with Gabriel & Dresden at a bar down the road. It was awkward, hilarious, and insightful. As that post states, Josh Gabriel explained that he thinks of sounds in the form of textures, and used the feel of a song for his composing and mixing.

I think that rings true today, as their recent sets continue to flow just as well as the ones back in the day. In fact, I think their sets from the last year are more cohesive than the ones they played leading into their break up. Sure, plenty of the tracks are popular, but it's never a jolting experience when it's mixed in. They've edited and mashed the songs to fit their style, so it's consistent with both the original track and their sound.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I'm glad to see these guys continue to dominant. I was a little scared when they hadn't been promoting as much these days, but they are far from dormant. I'm sure we just got a taste of their upcoming performance(s) at WMC next month, and I can't wait to see what they have down the road.