The tagline was a stop-in-your-tracks event to even the most experienced of trance enthusiasts: Markus Schulz Open-to-Close set at Ruby Skye in San Francisco. So much so that we sent a crew from all over the state to cover the event. Boarding a flight from Los Angeles at 1pm on the Friday of the show saw groups in “Markus Schulz” and “TranceFamily” t-shirts, waiting to experience what Markus had in store for his fans in the City by the Bay. It was clear that this was more than just another stop on the tour- this was a Markus Schulz experience that couldn’t be missed by fans from all over the country. Marking San Francisco as one of his cities to mix live for his 2015 City Series compilation and tour, the buzz was palpable as fans lined up outside Ruby Skye to be one of the first to hear what Markus had planned for what was promised to be a very special night. What ensued for the next 9 hours was nothing short of transformative.
The doors opened promptly at 9pm and people streamed into the main room. They were welcomed by two walls of LED screens: one behind the DJ booth and one right in front of the stage, stretching from the bottom of the booth to the floor. Both had rolling blue and white lights resembling ocean waves tossing and swirling behind the everpresent MARKUS SCHULZ logo. With low and driving beats pulsating in the background, Markus appeared on stage to the roar of an already packed crowd and within minutes launched his show with his new “doors open” mix. Complimenting the historic décor of Ruby Skye, Markus opened with an eerie beginning, rife with sounds that reminded us of his early days as a DJ and his 2007 album Progression, but also set the tone for the entire journey and the unique experience of an open to close set. For the devoted fans that made sure to be there right at the open, you experienced one of the most invigorating starts to a DJ set that we have ever experienced. Markus promised a new opening track, and it delivered in way that stays with you for a very long time. Those that made the new doors open moment were personally greeted and thanked by Markus, but were also offered a challenge… “the question is, will you be here at the end?”
After the opening track, Markus wasted no time keeping the pace running. Playing new tracks like “Golden Gate” and “Torque”, he assembled a line up of songs showcasing his true commitment to the night and to the fans. Classic favorites like “Scream” and “Romper” electrified the crowd and brought every fan to their feet and rushing to the center dance floor. Lyrics of Zhu’s “Faded” and Tove Lo’s “Habits” mixed with Markus’ own “Destino” glowed on screen as the tracks in true Markus style became fresh additions to the lineup. The three tracks that so far have made up the 2014 City Series played a huge role in the night. Markus called on “Bayfront” twice during the night to stir the crowd into a frenzy, and the hard hitting “Bine Facut” dedicated to Bucharest was a masterful live track that filled the room with it’s overpowering presence. An attention grabbing mix of show stopping classics, creatively structured new favorites all wrapped up in a journey down the trance rabbit hole for more than two hours at the end of the night, made this show a thing of legend instantly within the world of not only trance, but the history of dance music in the city of San Francisco forever. The flow of the show was consistently energetic and only got more so with the anxious anticipation of each song. With every progression and every beat, the journey got more intense and more focused and released the crowd into a world of Markus Schulz’s pure trance expertise.
The fans were just as dedicated as Markus who did not leave the stage the entire course of the night. As much as people bobbed and weaved through the upper and lower floors, Markus stayed steady on the stage and got as visibly wrapped up in the music as the crowd. There was no entourage on stage to back him up, there were no hijinks or gimmicks thrown into the crowd, and the accompanying dancers graced the stage at only a few very specific moments. This was Markus exposed for 9 hours on the stage alone, with only the decks in front of him and a packed house of San Franciscans and Markus fans from around the world to support him. He pushed the limits of what was possible to achieve a journey of epic proportions full of new songs, classic mixes, old favorites and contributions from other artists; all weaved into an open to close set that everyone at Ruby Skye couldn’t possibly forget- not this night, not this time.
Standing outside the venue at 6 in the morning, watching small rays of light peak through on the horizon as morning fog starting to envelope Union Square in it’s morning routine, you realized just how encapsulated in music Markus makes you feel. The amount of work that goes into these productions is not lost on a single soul, and it becomes amazingly clear just how consistently worth it Markus Schulz shows will forever be. It is no surprise that he is voted America’s Best DJ and it is no surprise that his City Series is consistently one of the most anticipated compilations every year. Markus promised something special for San Francisco on this night, and together with this magical city as his backdrop and the relentless energy and support of his fans, everyone delivered on their promise.
Words by Jen. Photos were provided courtesy of Ruby Skye, San Francisco.