Together as One was a chance for everyone in the So-Cal rave scene to come together and spend an evening with most of the world's top DJs, which made me wonder what the rest of the world was listening to that night. This event had what must have been the best DJ lineup of all time, and the sound system in every area was much much much more than adequate.
But those are just the cold hard statistics of this event. Let me tell you what it was like to be one of the 45,000 people who had the best night of their lives.
We will skip the same last minute confusion about who is going, who is driving, how to get there, where the San Diego people are going to meet the Orange County people, where to eat, where to park, etc...
The venue is in sight, and we are so excited that we are literally running to get there. Minutes after getting in line, we are in. We are in so fast that it was both anticlimactic and disarming. Getting into the party this fast threw off our timing, we now had an extra hour or so to enjoy the party. After picking a "home base," where we could meet up later, Ingrid and I split with the others, and started to enjoy what was going to be the most enjoyable night.
Right away you could tell that everyone was in good spirits. Walking from our Jungle room "home base" to the Area 1 Coliseum took about ten or fifteen minutes, depending on how many times we made the trip and how bad we wanted to hear the DJ spinning at our destination. On one trip I noticed a Security Guard taking a picture of a group of party people, and it reassured me that this was going to be a night full of good vibes.
We reached Area 1 as Mars started his set. I began to get lost in the repetitive drone of trance when Richard "Humpty" Vision took to the tables. I striped off my Grey scale Junglist hoodie to reveal an orange and blue Kikwear T-shirt that matched my tightly laced high performance orange and blue Adidas cross trainers. I was warmed up, my body ready to be jacked, and jacked it was by Humpty's hard Chicago House. In the middle of his set he threw in one of Aphrodite's favorite Jungle tracks, which instantly transformed me back into my natural state. Some seemed surprised by my Junglist ways, while other showed that they were more than meets the eye by springing to Jungle only a few beats after Kande Stepping. The Jungle track ended abruptly, and it was back to the freedom, flavor and feeling of House again. So flavorful and free that I felt myself restrain an Ab muscle which I injured a month ago dancing to Hardcore at Elements in San Diego. (Thanks again for mixing Hardcore into Trance, Dino). The pain went away, and it was time for Ingrid and I to take our first break and get some sustenance. After all, Donald Glaude was going to start his set at 11, and midnight was not far away.
We walked back to the Sports Arena where Ingrid bought us hotdogs, drinks, and King-size Snickers bars. I pounded the Hot Dog (protein/carbs) and the LARGE Coke (caffeine/ water/ sugar), but stored the Snickers bar in the chest zipper pocket of my hoodie for when I would really need it. Back to Area 1, security was not letting anymore people onto the Coliseum floor due to over crowding. "Hold my water Ingrid." I felt supremely agile when I jumped over the guard rail, six feet down onto the Coliseum floor. I held my arms out for Ingrid, thinking that she would need my help, but when she jumped made the same jump, I felt like an clumsy ogre in comparison.
Go ahead and tap two fingers on the desk in front of you right now. (I am waiting) That was exactly the sound I heard when Ingrid stuck her Olympic grade landing. Feeling a bit heavy, I grabbed Ingrid and dragged her away from the security guard that was about give her a safety lecture sure to end with her promising not to do it again. But who cares? Glaude was spinning, and it was time to kiss Y2K goodbye forever, or for that matter put the final nail in it's coffin. God Damn, was Y2K a mother fucker or what? All those people who were talking about how the world was going to end, and Armageddon was coming they were right! Politics, Energy, Economy, Music, all reformatted and revised. And I know, since I have asked enough people about it already, regardless of who you are, Y2K has been full of personal drama as well. I can't think of one person who has not agreed that this last year was full of emotional ups and downs, lifestyle changes, and the stress that goes with them. Well, anyway, 10.9.8.7 the rest is history, it is 2001.
Fireworks are going off over the Coliseum and the Olympic torch is lit. EVERYONE is hugging EVERYONE and we start to wish each other a happy New Year, which everyone would do for the rest of the night. I am hearing all my favorite DJ's for the first time this year, and I feel ready to party, instead of all partied out. Glaude's set is interrupted a few times because there is simply too much energy on the Coliseum floor, compounded by too many people. This happens a lot when Glaude spins, I have noticed. Time for a break. On the way to the vendor village, we briefly visit the Trance room in the Sports Arena. We do not have the time to get into the mix, but we do spend a minute mesmerized by the pulsating crowd and music. Walking through the Hardcore Area, I briefly smash into some guys that are smaller than I, as well as one that is way bigger. Ingrid seems sketched out, so I exit the hardcore Area as quickly as I entered it. Dan is spinning in the Coliseum, so we walk back again. We groove to Dan for most of his set, but I have had enough House and Trance to last me for a little while, and Diesel Boy is spinning in the Jungle room.
That snickers bar I was saving was called into service, and I have to tell you that it tasted soo good after smoking that chronic, which I was also saving for the world class Jungle sets that were coming up. In the Jungle room, I could literally feel the music reverberate through my chest, so you can just imagine what Diesel boy was thinking when he heard the bass in this concrete Junlglist stronghold. He was thinking "I am going to destroy your conception of what music can do to your mind and body with some state of the art Y2.001K noise!" Through two channels, hearing and feeling, the music direct me through the next hours. My body was doing things it has never done before, and others reported the same phenomenon. I did not have to think, I just had to find someone in open field to battle, and that was not hard. Junglist were everywhere, springing and popping and breaking like mad to the universe's Jungle Mecca de noir. Next came another Jungle God, Aphrodite himself. Aphrodite got a perfect score in my book, but Diesel Boy got one too while playing only state of the art tracks. Aphrodite threw in some old sentimental favorites, which I enjoyed, but Jungle should be as close to the future as possible.
What had to be the highlight of my night was when I battled fellow Kande Junglist Sterling (Kande Junglist: Junglist who holds on to some Kande styles and ideals) during Aphrodite's set. On one hand it is a shame that you have to be able to battle Sterling on a dance arena for her to respect you (most guys simply kiss her ass) but on the other hand, I would not want it any other way. After the battle, we compared Kande/ Jungle outfits and accessories over bottled water, debated who has been to the most parties, and non-verbally gave it up to one another's styles.
Going through Diesel Boy, Aphrodite, and Flux (minus Rinse) consecutively made me dance to the point of such complete exhaustion that my body was starting to lose coordination. Sadly enough, I was in such need of sleep, nutrition, dry clothes, and rest that my body could no longer perform the way it did earlier. Until I realized that there were tons of space and tones of bass in the deserted area in front of the speakers! Deep into the reserves of my body I got my third wind, and explained the bass for one last time. My body was in perfect accord with the air around me, and I felt a rush go through my head. Somehow I was magically rolling, although I was sober.
Everything in my life was perfect for that one moment. My job, art, friends, apartment, car, health, money, everything. Not only was I having the time of my life, I could not have been happier with my life. The music stopped, and it was time to go back to my car, a 5 month old 2000 Honda Civic SI.
Which was not there since it had been stolen. On the 35-minute 52-degree ride back to my friend's apartment, in the bed of his pickup truck my flesh and mind were numb. I kept my arms and legs out of sight and I tried to look into the sky, but water got into my eyes every time I opened them. The air strafed my skin and sliced through openings in my clothes. I had lost my car, Palm Pilot, pager, camera, micro cassette recorder, glass pipe "Cheetara" (who smoked out AK1200 during his set at Catwalk 8 months earlier) my keys (except for the now moot car key), CDs, credit cards, and driver's license, not to mention my friends' stuff.
The wind whispered in my ear that this year was going to be more turbulent and tumultuous than the last, and it seemed like the universe was asking me if raving was really worth it. Raving, my source for exercise, spirituality, self-expression, socialization, and subject of my art (writing). So I considered the state of my life after going to 41 parties this year, and answered "Rave on..."