The Return of Sasha & Digweed with Jimmy Van M
@ Cipriani's 42nd, New York
Wednesday, November 21, 2001
The dynamic duo return to Gotham...
The return of Sasha & Digweed had long been awaited in Gotham. Much more than any other city in the world, we eagerly awaited this duo. Since their legendary 4 year residency at Twilo these two DJs have amassed a huge, loyal following that shared the common bond of music, dancing and sharing in the wee hours of the last Friday of each month. These were magic moments as together we created an experience that transcended any other club night in Gotham.
We arrived a little after 10pm to avoid the inevitable queue. After waiting on line for about 15 minutes we were led in by a sort of Disneyland-system - one line after the other - the only thing missing was the music and singing dwarves. We even commented on the professional organization outside not knowing the mayhem that would follow as the masses surged and complete chaos took over. Thank God we had the foresight to arrive early. NYC clubbing does not pay to be fashionably late.
Cipriani's on 42nd Street was the virgin host venue of the clubbing event of the year. Formerly, Cipriani's was the site of the Bowery Savings bank circa 1921, a national and New York City landmark interior. The cavernous bank featured soaring marble columns, a 65 foot ceiling, and magnificent inlaid floors. Across the span of the room these marble floors were carefully covered in cardboard pieced together to create a makeshift dancefloor. Upon entering into the space, everybody's eyes darted up across the entire span of the room in wonderment. The room was washed in red light against the marble columns as Jimmy Van M's ambient grooves provided the prelude to the frenzy that would take over Cipriani's in a mere few hours. It was social hour as old friends greeted each other from their wayward Twilo days, as well as new friends who have bonded in a rejuvenated NYC underground scene.
Sasha entered front and center near 12:30am. The crowd cheered as this moment marked the return of the prodigal son. We had last seen Sasha in December 2000 and our hearts ached to hear his signature blend of trance. He started off with some deep beats, as the night was only beginning. As the better part of an hour wore on Digweed stood by Sasha and as Sasha handed him the decks the projection screen announced "SD" in shiny, bold silver letters rotating and spinning in 3D - this was the most significant moment for me. The handoff from Sasha to Digweed felt like all was right. Finally SD reunited under one roof and two decks. This is what we had waited for and the room began to go mad. The Dynamic Duo back in Gotham. God it felt good. The magic and the memories of all the previous nights came rushing back as excitement for tonight reached a feverish pitch. The event was more of a reunion than a party. We were reunited with Sasha & Digweed and all the others who celebrated in their NYC residency. Month in and month out, we gathered and it seemed the whole world came back to hear them one more time.
The S&D devotees up in front held out a 15 ft banner that read "Welcome Home John & Sasha" with a British flag and American flag on both sides (not unlike Tony Blair's recent stance with the U.S.). Digweed's predominance over Sasha epitomizes the year 2001. After Sasha's unfortunate ear drum accident, Digweed kept it going for us at Twilo and New York had grown highly appreciative of Digweed's 6+ hour solo sets, including two highlights of the year: the infamous fire drill at the S&D 4 year anniversary and the now legendary 6 year anniversary with Digweed & his hero Danny Tenaglia. Our sentiments resonated in this heartfelt message. As Digweed pointed out the banner to Sasha they both smiled in gratitude.
Digweed brought it on full force with the Underground Sound of Lisbon's "So Get Up." As recent events remind us of the fragile world we live in we continue with the resolve to go on and as the deep commanding voice beckoned us, we obliged:
So get up
Forget the past
And have a blast
All through the night, Sasha & Digweed then Digweed & Sasha. The muddy sound throughout the room could be forgotten way up front. Even the lines for the bathroom could be forgotten if you found the secret VIP one. Even those who waited 2 hours outside forgot as they lost themselves in the music. The night passed by in a flash and specific tracks elude me as I was lost in the magnitude of it all. Breakfast Cipriani-style was served in the form of Krispy Kreme donuts. Not exactly proper food after 9 hours of partying, but some revelers could be seen delighting in the sweetness while others pushed them aside and opted for some freshly squeezed orange juice. The end was near as the remaining devoted rushed towards the front. Sasha stood at the decks as the familiar strains of Bedrock's "Heaven Scent" began and as security began milling about eager to bring this crazy night to an end. Sasha encored with the ever-stunning Cosmos' "Take Me With You."
As we walked off the dancefloor into the morning sun, we noticed the party people had literally torn up the dancefloor. As the pieces of cardboard lay in disarray, the party people had showed once again their love for Sasha & Digweed. It was definitely not the same. The small intensity of Twilo could not be recreated, but as the times have changed so must our expectations. We look forward to seeing Sasha & Digweed again. Hopefully in a true clubbing environment where Digweed will presume to bring it on dark and dirty and then Sasha to lift us into 7am bliss. We'll be back again…searching for the perfect beat that as we know time and again this duo can deliver.
Balance Promote Group
Cipriani's on 42
Photos by The Voyeur