On Friday, May 12, 2017, Webster Hall once again hosted an awe-inspiring ascending star’s moment to shine. Andrew Rayel, the Moldovan modern trance pianist brought the “Moments Tour” to New York City and, proudly, OneEDM was there to meet, greet and report. I knew it was going to be one of those nights when I was getting dressed because I was putting on my “going out” pants. Basically, I wear those when I want to impress people. I already began writing and documenting my experience that night before I even reached the venue, and that’s because your state of mind before and after a show is just as important as the show. The night felt like it was going to be a wild one right at the start. A line reaching the end of the block, people asking “Is this the line for Andrew Rayel?” and Manhattan drunks already starting a fuss. What more could you ask for? It’s all because of the awesome content the Armada “Moments” album has. I came to report but I also came to have fun. It’s like when you think to yourself, “Ugh, my underarms are gonna smell terrible, but its worth it.”
Entering the Grand Ballroom before the show starts is an awesome thing to witness. You say to yourself, “Man, I’ve partied hard and danced my heart out on this dance floor many times.” To see it bare with the house lights on alters it into a different place. As I walk by, I see Andrew Rayel running through soundcheck and Jonathan Mendelsohn warming up his commendable vocals. What do you say to a popular current talent that’s dominating in their field? Just be humble and be yourself because that is what you will receive. What you give out, you get, and that is exactly how Andrew was, a pleasant and genuinely nice person.
There’s not a track on the album that you’ll want to skip, and the live show elevated that. Four particular tracks I definitely came to hear and experience live were, “All Systems Down“, “Connected“, “My Reflection” ft Emma Hewitt, and “Tacadum” (pronounced “taka-doom”- please people, don’t embarrass yourselves). The songs have you wide-eyed as his Tetris-like visuals accelerate towards you.
Photo Credit: @Dailyeyes
To open the show, Andrew calls on fellow trance family member David Gravell. Makin’ em bounce’, David attacks the turntables with his heavy signature flair as a badass trance bass kid who paid homage to the genre. Spinning Armin Van Buuren’s “Communication” and Tiesto’s “Traffic” along with a handful of others. Treading nicely in a trance mix, Gravell pays tribute to the late great Robert Miles, spinning the track “Children“. David had the crowd hyped and ready for their favorite, Rayel.
The “Hay-Ho”‘s from the audience proved they were serious and on the brink. It’s very interesting seeing the differences in DJ’s, but also seeing the similarities of having that x-factor, that winning quality they all possess.
The stage was dark as the vibrations from the amplifiers slithered through the crowd, humming as the electric rays of Rayel emerged. The audience was swung into a robotic tunnel as Andrew took us on a never-ending electronic trance. He boomed instantly; big sounds at a big party. The crowd was pushing and the beats were thumping- it was a summer festival packed into a grand ballroom. The energy was insane, it was crazy in there and the crowd was intense. It became nearly impossible to try and squeeze through the array of Rayel devotees. “Miracles” (Andrew’s 2014 hit) blasts out the speakers as the steamers wail out. Right at the top of the show, I was blown away.
Andrew’s hands were up as he lead his audience through his thunderous spectacle. As he dropped “I’ll Be There“, everyone’s intensity went up a notch. The “Moments” album live is what we came for, with those mainstream radio-friendly tracks filled with electronic synths to more aggressive hardcore, and those sentimental piano chords that separate him from all the others. Other album treasures like “Heavy Love” and “My Reflection” filled the room from top to bottom. When I heard those trumpet-like pulses, I instantly put my camera up. As I watched the crowd and Andrew, I noticed he had just as much fun and energy as his fans did. I don’t know where he gets the energy from. Is it him feeding off our energy? Or is it simply the love for his craft? I would bet on a combination of the two. He said he created this tour to share moments with his fans, to create moments they will never forget, together. However, it was more than just moments that night- they were memories. Memories his fans were forming as the night went along.
“Raise up those hands” flashed across the screen (as if we needed a reminder), and out walks Jonathan Mendelsohn. Together, Andrew and Jonathan gift us “One In A Million”. Singing his heart out, Jonathan delivers striking pop star vocals atop the dance love melody. A rush continues and not a moment passed where you could collect yourself because Rayel was the trance energizer bunny that night.
When a sweaty faced raver offers you $5 so his girl can step in front of you to get a better view, you can’t help but laugh and think about what you’ve gotten yourself into.
Keeping the party going with hits from fellow talented DJ’s and orchestrating a sit-down, Andrew owned Webster Hall this past weekend. Closing the show with “Tacadum”, the crowd uses whatever stamina they have left to commit to him. Four hours after the show and my ears are stilling ringing- that, in my opinion, would classify as a successful night. If you plan on going to see Andrew Rayel, be prepared to be in a packed house, wear your least important sneakers, your Andrew Rayel t-shirt and get used to having your personal space invaded because the “Moments Tour” is colossal.
Lastly, I would like to thank Andrew Rayel personally for an amazing night, along with some of the best hospitality in the industry. It’s pleasant to meet easy-going artists who do it for the fans. You can find dates to his up and coming shows here.