I arrived at CODA late into the evening and saw a stationary line of people waiting to get inside. Many looked cold and were shivering; it was a wake up call that summer weather is officially gone and warm coats are a necessity to comfortably survive these long, slow lines. Lucky for me, the guestlist line was empty, security was quick, and I was inside in under two minutes. On my way in, I noticed a few printed signs posted outside the door – cannabis had been legalized across the country two days earlier but according to these signs, CODA wasn’t allowing any to be consumed on its premises. I made a quick stop to coat check ($3) and the bar for water ($4) before assessing the situation on the dance floor. The Anjuna Family had taken over the club and the room was packed! Everywhere you looked you would see the Anjuna logo splashed on t-shirts, hats, and wristbands. Some of these items were homemade while others showed off their concert merchandise (including Above & Beyond‘s most recent epic Anjuna event, Group Therapy 300: Hong Kong). Having no desire to battle the crowd yet, I started my night off staying at the back beside the right speaker, doing my best to hold down my tiny bit of dancing space. At this distance and at my height, I couldn’t see the stage at all; I could only assume the opening DJ, Ben Böhmer, was still playing based off the deep, melodic tunes filling the room. Böhmer, a recent addition to the Anjunadeep label, did a good job warming up the crowd, playing tracks such as Jan Blomqvist’s The Space In Between (Ben Böhmer Remix).
Everything changed around 1AM as our headliner Andrew Bayer began his 2-hour set with high-energy tracks. I didn’t have to wait long for one of my favourites to be heard – Bayer’s 2015 hit Nobody Told Me had the entire room moving! He kept with this style of music for the first half hour of his set before beginning to intermittently include the iconic “feelsy” tunes, such as Above & Beyond’s Always. It was around this time when I finally got fed up with my spot. The space between the back right speaker and the bottle service booths is only one of two passageways to get to the main dance floor, meaning there was a near continuous stream of people coming and going through this space. That, plus not being able to see much of anything, meant it was time to relocate. The crowd was dense but I managed to find a spot much closer to the stage on the right hand side that still had a little bit of a view. I could finally see Bayer in the flesh, happily dancing along to the beat of his own tunes.
“Since I announced my album dates, a lot of people have been asking me how I intend to tour ‘In My Last Life’ as a DJ and I have two words for y’all: club mixes. My twin loves for trance and more downtempo, reflective music – whether folk, indie or electronica – has been no secret, but bringing them together has been a challenge that has defined my journey as an artist… I actually started on this album with one part of my brain already thinking through the club mixes, and there is also the benefit of these eight beautiful songs to play with (thank you Ali and Ane!!). Since the album’s release, I’ve been busy in the studio reworking a number of the tracks for ABGT300 and the following tour…”
– Andrew Bayer, via Facebook (September 17th 2018)
Bayer commented on his downtempo new album “In My Last Life” and he prepared remixes suitable for a club setting prior to the tour kicking off. He’s cleverly named these reworks as the “In My Next Life Mix.” The first one of the night was In My Last Life (In My Next Life Mix). It is a lovely track featuring the heavenly vocals of Alison May. Bayer followed it up with another vocal track from May titled Open End Resource (In My Next Life Mix). This was one of my most anticipated moments of the night. I had heard this version of the track in his ABGT300: Hong Kong set posted back in September and I recognized it almost immediately. During the slower melodic portion of the song, the room filled with bright blue lights bouncing off the disco ball. Bayer moved away from his new album (for now) and played popular Anjunafamily favourites, including From The Past, Sun And Moon, and Celestial.
The crowd thinned slightly around the 2AM mark but it was clear that everyone remaining had come to see Andrew Bayer’s set in its entirety. Hearing high-energy tracks such as Signs Of The Fall kept the room bouncing late into the night. Bayer followed that up with Superhuman, one of my favourites and the mega-hit from his “Do Androids Dream” EP. So many cameras shot into the air as the crowd sang along to the beautifully melodic piece – it’s one of the songs I’ll never tire of hearing live! The crowd had another wave of energy few tracks later when Northern Soul rang out. This song was released earlier this year from Above & Beyond’s newest album “Common Ground” and its success has found it mixed into many artists’ sets (even across several subgenres of trance). Bayer returned to playing club mixes of his album toward the end of his two-hour performance; Your Eyes (In My Next Life Mix), featuring vocals from Ane Brun, was followed by Immortal Lover (In My Next Life Mix). The original version of End Of All Things brought the set to an end as the encore track.
As expected, Andrew Bayer put on an amazing show for us! The “In My Next Life” versions of his “In My Last Life” tracks have been reworked perfectly for a club setting while still letting the beautiful lyrics of love sing through. CODA is a good venue with a great sound system, but there was no personal space on the dance floor and ultimately it struggled to hold the entire Toronto Anjunafamily. This event sold out several weeks prior and there were many looking for ticket resellers through the official Facebook event page. CODA did announce they had a limited number of rush tickets available at the door when the club opened (and I was thrilled to find out my friend managed to snag one and be a part of the experience!). I’m not surprised at all see the great support and demand for the Anjunabeats artist and I sympathize with those who missed out!
It is obvious Andrew Bayer is as fond of us as we are of him – check out the recap video he posted:
“IN MY LAST LIFE” TRACKLIST:
Andrew Bayer ft. Alison May – Tidal Wave
Andrew Bayer ft. Ane Brun – Love You More
Andrew Bayer ft. Alison May – Open End Resource
Andrew Bayer ft. Ane Brun – Hold On To You
Andrew Bayer ft. Alison May – In My Last Life
Andrew Bayer ft. Alison May – Immortal Lover
Andrew Bayer ft. Ane Brun – Your Eyes
Andrew Bayer ft. Alison May – End Of All Things
Andrew Bayer – England
Andrew Bayer – Nobody Told Me
Above & Beyond ft. Zoë Johnston – Always (Above & Beyond Club Mix)
Gabriel & Dresden ft. Sub Teal – Only Road (Cosmic Gate Remix)
Andrew Bayer – Only You Boy
Andrew Bayer ft. Alison May – In My Last Life (In My Next Life Mix)
Andrew Bayer ft. Alison May – Open End Resource (In My Next Life Mix)
Andrew Bayer – From The Past
Above & Beyond vs. Andrew Bayer – Sun & Moon vs. Once Lydian
Andrew Bayer – Celestial
M.I.K.E. pres. Push – Strange World (Andrew Bayer Remix)
Andrew Bayer ft. Alison May – Signs Of The Fall
Andrew Bayer & Asbjørn – Superhuman
Above & Beyond ft. Marty Longstaff – Flying By Candlelight (Above & Beyond Club Mix)
Above & Beyond ft. Richard Bedford – Northern Soul
Andrew Bayer ft. Ane Brun – Your Eyes (In My Next Life Mix)
Andrew Bayer ft. Alison May – Immortal Lover (In My Next Life Mix)
Andrew Bayer ft. Alison May – End Of All Things
Ashlyn Doughty – EDM TOR