Speechless and in a sea of goosebumps. What a beautiful, historic day for electronic music. As expected, and after a very strong speculation due to series of events, Swedish House Mafia made their long-awaited return/reunion. 5 years and a day after the set that closed Ultra Miami’s 2013 edition, we again heard the unmistakable sound of the Swedish trio. It was the day 3’s climax, but not the only memorable moment on the festival’s third chapter. Here’s the epitome of yesterday.
On third day, Resistance operated only in the “spider-stage” – the Arcadia Spider. In it, we had the presence of multiple preeminent folks of the underground scene, whether in solo or back 2 back mode. The day in the spider took of with a small surprise: Jasper James brought Jackmaster to the decks as a special guest to begin the action up. The afternoon was already not young, and the arena was quickly filled with ravers, putting the spotlight on Patrick Topping and Nathan Barato’s B2B, Better Lost Than Stupid, and in a negative way, in J.E.S.u.S. The DJ collective, consisting in Jackmaster, Eats Everything, Skream and Seth Troxler, gave their set without any TV broadcast.
The reason behind Resistance’s “one-staging” was A State of Trance’s takeover of the Megastructure in the final day. The ASOT Stage was set up, a place where Armin Van Buuren and friends gave a bash to remember, displaying trance’s magic to the world through a permanent radiostream oscillating between appearances on the main livestream schedule as well. Outside three household names who main-evented the party – Armin, Eric Prydz, and Above & Beyond – we have to highlight Vini Vici and Andrew Rayel. The first ones (or one, once only Matan Kadosh performed because of the duo’s production/performing policy) played both tracks from their vast repertoire and curious new productions, whereas the Moldovan DJ tested some new tunes of his and his recently formed label, InHarmony Music, in an awesome set. Also, a special mention to Gabriel & Dresden, that following their long hiatus, finally returned to the big stages under Anjunabeats’ quality seal. They already announced a follow-up album for the successful 2017’s “Only Road”.
— Andrew Rayel (@Andrew_Rayel) March 25, 2018
In what concerns to the big players in the ASOT league, Armin Van Buuren was the protagonist of one of this year’s biggest sets. After rocking the Mainstage on day 1, he this time left his mark in the stage he patronizes, in a show, as it’s obvious, less commercial and more devoted to trance. He mixed some classics with modern records (both IDs and, for instance, his new collaboration with Shapov), and even played a few Gaia tracks, giving a spectacular performance. Here’s a part of it.
The one and only Eric Prydz, curiously an ex-member of Swedish House Mafia, delighted (and, in a good sense, annoyed) the fans with an absolute Pryda and Cirez D ID shipment, closing his great set with the iconic “Pjanoo”, that turned 10 years old this month. The usual laser game was on point, as always.
And finally, Above & Beyond, with the hard task of having matched schedule with SHM, gave an extraordinary, emotional progressive trance performance. Closing the stage and preceding the Mainstage’s surprise guests on the livestream schedule, the patriarchs of Anjunabeats and Group Therapy Radio played some melodic masterpieces such as “1001 (Is It Love)”, and the newest “Northern Soul” and “Let Me Now”, the latter being a Ilan Bluestone track that was ABGT 275’s Record of The Week. They ended the performance with the classic “Sun & Moon”, with Richard Bedford’s epic vocals.
Let’s continue the journey to other stages. On the Live Stage, only 2 of 5 performing acts had “TV” time, namely The Wailers ft. Julian Marley, performance upon which the legendary reggae band, partly founded by Bob Marley himself in 1962, joined forces with one of the legendary Jamaican artist’s sons live in concert, and Modestep, a London-based group that mixes electronic rock with dubstep. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to see or hear both Infected Mushroom and Rabbit In The Moon.
On Worldwide Stage, the story repeated itself, or was worse. Basically, we only had access to a small part of two acts: Andy C and What So Not. Many fans were disappointed on social media because we didn’t get to see Kayzo nor Sub Focus’s performances, for instance. GTA, still, gave some sense into it by making their own livestream via Instagram, briefly removed.
And at last, we advance to the quintessence of the festival, Ultra’s Mainstage. Just like the show itself, we’ll save the best for the end. Anyway, practically (apologies to Matoma, Tommie Sunshine, and Kryoman) every Mainstage act of yesterday was broadcasted on this third day. Here they are, with further analysis.
Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano took the groove and funky rhythms to the grandest of stages through a set in which they played their new remix of Armin Van Buuren’s “Sex, Love & Water” and also Corey James’ newest release, “12 O’Clock”.
Jeffrey Sutorius from EDM group Dash Berlin, known for their Progressive reworks, did what every year he does at Bayfront Park’s main attraction: play a strong progressive house, commercial-ish set, replete of multiple reworks and edits of famous and trendy pop songs. He closed the shop with a very interesting ID remix of Post Malone’s “Fall Apart”.
Nicky Romero and KSHMR were also in the spotlight with solid performances. The Dutch artist was on a roll, presenting some nostalgia to the crowd. Excepting some more recent releases like “Champion Sound”, for example, Nicky took the audience in a journey throughout Protocol Recordings’ archives by playing, among others, “Harmony”, “Novell”, and “Next Level”. Despite his little time travelling, however, Romero also played his new collaboration with Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, “Here We Go”, and a new single featuring the vocals of the one and only Taio Cruz that wasn’t livestreamed as well. The American DJ and producer, nevertheless, won the “most IDs” game, playing 5 of his own books, one of them being a collab with Papi Gordo himself, Carnage. Kaskade followed Romero and KSHMR’s acts. Playing at home, produced a thrilling performance, playing the iconic “Atmosphere” and the two collabs he has with deadmau5, among many other stunning tracks.
Then, there was David Guetta. The legendary French artist started his performance with lots of Brooks’ material (even opening with “Like I Do”), but soon surprisingly took things to heavier sonorities (playing, for instance, Gammer’s “The Drop”), and mixed them with Guetta classics in a bold way. The outcome was very positive, as there was also time to call out Sean Paul and Becky G to promote one of his recent singles called “Mad Love”.
And it all lead to the Grand Finale. The moment we all were awaiting: the reunion of the trio that revolutionized electronic music in the beginning of the current decade. Despite everyone foreknowing the occurrence and the fact that the show was only streamed through a distant camera angle – much likely due to the agreement between the act and the festival’s organization -, the internet (and the audience at Bayfront Park even more) absolutely exploded. After all, it’s music that the thing is all about. 5 Years later, Swedish House Mafia came back with a fantastic, mega-emotional, nostalgic set, extremely rich both musically and visually. It’s not worth revealing details about it, in a way we are just post the link below: the ones who heard it certainly savoured every song of it, and the rest must give it a listen. We’re just going to mention two aspects: two Steve Angello-ish IDs, and the words “It’s Swedish House Mafia for life this time” that Axwell stated near the end of the reunion.
And another edition of Ultra Miami, the 20th one, comes to an end like this. A giant euphoria blended with a nervous feeling on the near future. In anyway, and not knowing if this was the beginning of “Something New” or just something that happened “This Time” solely, the only thing that’s left to do after this little “Rejoice” of ours is to congratulate Ultra Music Festival’s organization for the quality of this year’s special edition, and “Dream Bigger” so that, in some “Sweet Disposition”, we can become “One” for many years to come. To the beat of the Swedish trio, of course.