When Insomniac decide to venture to Australia you best be believing that the curiosity was aroused as to just what that would hold. It came in the form of their Trance event Dreamstate. Melbourne was the preferred location at Hi Sense Arena in our premier sporting precinct, and all Melbournians do love winning a major event over their counterparts in Sydney. With Armin Only rescheduling to the Harbour city Melbourne rejoiced in one of the USA’s premier electronic event companies choosing them as the first festival held there outside of the United States.
Insomniac joined forces with the reformed Totem One Love company Symbiotic to host the debut of Dreamstate Aus. HiSense Arena holds a good 15,000 people so the prospect of a big attendance loomed. While slightly down compared to Atlantis earlier in the year I’d hazard a guess at around the 10k mark for the night and the cause for that could be for the diverse line up that some Melbourne fans were unaware of. The pairing of Genix b2b with Sunny Lax began the night with the bass pulsating through the walls before anyone had even entered the venue. I managed to miss almost half this set because of a one person cloak room attendant and the very odd idea of only having one side of the arena open for entry which meant a long walk from where we entered to the opposite side of the venue. While aisleways are ample they are not designed to take a flow from entry and exit in a constant stream from the floor section to the stands and out into the foyer area’s. This persisted until well into Mark Sixma’s set where wiser heads prevailed and both sides were opened to allow a quicker and calmer flow of people.
Genix and Sunny Lax provided a pure unadulterated old style Trance set with BPM ranging from 138 to 160 thumping Psytrance, it proved a popular opener to warm the Melbourne crowd up with after a fairly miserable Spring day of cool temps. Black Water had the crowd vibing to them and the fast remix of Willem De Roo’s Hyperdrive sent the crowd into overdrive. While Dreamstate had their US company staging and lighting design with them I could say I was fairly underwhelmed with the set design and lights. I had expected more with the size of the two large rings emanating in front of the decks into the crowd. The visuals on the rear projections were great as were the voice overs but the lasers and pyro was laissez faire and perhaps due to the venue’s smaller scale having an effect on what they could provide. The side views with good professional camera’s make the visuals look a lot more than they were to the naked eye. Mark Sixma provided the stereotypical trance set scattered with everyone’s favorites from Above and Beyond’s A Thing Called Love to Armin’s Who’s afraid of 138. His penultimate song of Vini Vici’s Free Tibet had me dancing my butt off. He’s always been a Melbourne favorite and the crowd responded to him throughout the slick set.
The set I was most curious to watch was Rank1 and their classic trance and set and he did not let anyone down though I sensed the crowd may have been fairly young during some songs which had a fairly subdued effect on them until he broke into the old Tiesto we all knew and loved with Obsession and Elements of Life saw the crowd basically surge into ecstasy. While most were still musing over the classics, I soaked it up and will remain forever impressed by the set.
Of course what everyone was waiting for was Paul Van Dyk and when he took to the decks the roar was deafening which brought a smile to my face and his and no doubt was a double edged welcome of him returning from the brink of his life threatening injuries from falling off stage earlier in the year and the sheer joy of another returning Melbourne favorite. The maestro behind the decks with his free flowing live set with him choosing songs as he went according to his and the crowd’s mood to his blending of playing his loops and the almost conductor like way he has of commanding the deck and crowd was sheer delight. When Let Go and Only in a Dream echoed through the arena it was sheer trance heaven and Van Dyk orchestrating every heavenly move. When he moved into his 2000 hit We Are Alive it almost symbolized the joy both he and the crowd were experiencing in having him back behind the decks.
Totally impressed with Irishman Sneijder debut global set, unfamiliar with the performer he certainly did not disappoint although following Paul Van Dyk isn’t a thing most would want to do and perhaps the crowd thinned a little which was a shame as they missed a newcomer doing his thing and it was highly entertaining. His single with Christina Novelli Love of My Control was quickly added to my list to buy. The crowd filtered back in for John O’Callaghan and the big time trance producer did not disappoint, I was into it quickly with the likes of Big Sky, while his mashup’s of classics of Simon Patterson, Askew and Ottavianni were enough for you to know there was a true trance master up there to end the event.
As the crowd filtered out into the early Melbourne morning there was that look of complete satisfaction on faces of the trance fanatics and the walk through the park still humming tunes made the journey back to the hotel a pleasant affair even if the possums were not enamoured of my singing voice! Hopefully Insomniac keep bringing the talent to our shores and dare we hope for the extravaganza of EDC Australia? We can only dream can’t we? #winkwink
(credit to Nathan Doran Photography)