Suddenly it is 2013. A great year that seemed to fly by was brought to an end by ETD POP NYE 2012/2013, brought to you by the Bay Area’s leading production company, Skills Events. We had very high hopes for this evening after ETD POP 2012 that Skills threw at the Oracle Arena earlier this year. The lineup was stacked with trance superstars. It is not often that you get W&W, Above & Beyond, Andy Moor + Lange, Dash Berlin and Ferry Corsten all in the same evening, unless you are attending one of Armin’s ASOT parties. The venue, the Oracle Arena, is top notch as it is easily accessible via public transit, is spacious, has good temperature control and all the other amenities you would expect from a stadium that generally hosts NBA games. Everyone we were with was very excited to close out 2012 in epic fashion. Off we went to all become stars. Biggy and Kiwi will be guiding you through their views of the evening.
Wow!! That was fun! I cannot think of one thing that upset me throughout the whole night. My group of friends got through the gates and were greeted by friendly security guards, who did their jobs efficiently, and with big smiles on their faces (HARD, please take note of this). Once inside, it was easy to get around. Our whole group made it onto the floor before it was closed off (I am pretty sure). When we were all situated, we got to enjoy some of the best production, sound, and of course… MUSIC that the electronic music scene has to offer. If you have not attended a Skills event at the Oracle Arena, you are going to want to put that on your to-do list.
We headed to the venue just after 6pm from our nearby hotel. After a brisk walk, primarily because it was freezing cold, we got up near the stadium where we were directed to the proper entrance. Security was helpful and the lines were quite short. We got in quickly, which is such an improvement over POP 2010, to the point where I must point it out to you. Once we got in, we got our wristbands for GA tickets and took a quick bathroom break before heading to the main dance floor. Or so we thought. Once the girls were done in the bathroom, we walked toward the entrance to the floor area. We ran directly into signs that said ‘Floor Closed, At Capacity’ which seemed a bit strange this early. We wandered down the steps to see that in fact they were not letting anyone on the floor, which was a major issue since our entire group was down there. After observing the fact that there seemed to be no real waiting area to get on the floor when people left, we were very confused about how we would be able to join our friends at all. Thanks to an extraordinary amount of luck and a bit of magic, we found ourselves on the dance floor, which seemed to have a lot of empty space, even considering the people who were in the back using the restroom or getting water.
Apparently Spookfest had issues with too many people on the floor, so I can understand them being cautious. However, when Skills was notified of this issue they should have immediately cut off the sales of GA floor tickets and only sold lower level tickets. Because they continued to sell the GA Floor tickets until late November even though they knew this would result in at least 66% of the people who purchased them not making it on the floor they are fully culpable for this issue. This number is based on their statement on their FB page that they sold 9k GA tickets but the floor was capped at 3k people. This set up had its own problems as well. No one would leave the floor to go up into the stands, since there was no way to get back on, and as a result no space opened up on the floor. I didn’t feel like the floor was that crowded at POP in April, so it seemed like a really poor policy. Also, the crowd for this was very different then that of Spookfest, overall friendlier and more responsible. This does set up future events very poorly, because if you want to sit during the event and you are on the main dance floor you cannot, or if you want to visit friends who are not currently on the main dance floor you will not be able to do that either.
When we did get on the floor, we ran into some friends immediately and we were very surprised, because they had upper level tickets however they were on the main dance floor. Our friend told us that they got there early, and that people in charge of wristbands were giving them to everyone, not just people with GA tickets. If you are going to sell different tickets for different prices but not enforce said tickets, especially when people are not allowed on the floor because it is at capacity, there is a major problem. No one knows how many upper level people managed to grab wristbands and take floor space that people who purchased GA tickets rightfully paid for. Even more so considering people with GA tickets were not even able to get wristbands at all later in the night according to multiple posts on the event facebook page. Very poor work from Skills on this one. It either needs to be communicated to security and staff much better, or those who are ignoring said instructions must be dealt with appropriately. It just isn’t fair to those who purchased the GA tickets.
Kiwi – W&W was just what I needed to get my night kicked off. Their set covered so many genres of trance; tech, vocal, and melodic trance, as well as a few necessary bangers. I heard nothing but good things from people who had seen them before, and they did not disappoint. Those hot little boys were tossing up those W’s and destroying everyone on the D floor. I was extremely jazzed when they played the Tom Fall remix of “Nowhere to Go.”
Oh that’s not all the hot boyz did. They played their hit “Lift Off” straight into “Cannonball” by Showtek, and I think that I speak for everyone when I say that I pooped my big boy pants!
Biggy – Yeah the tallest duo ever, W&W brought it hard. This is the second time I have seen them, and they are the sort of trance I can get behind. We missed part of their set with the whole floor snafu, but at this point I think they are good enough to close an event like POP with all the fire they brought.
Above & Beyond played a harder set then I had seen of late, dropping classics like Thing Called Love, Sun & Moon plus Alchemy and Small Moments Like This along with a lot of new stuff straight from the Anjuna Beats kitchen if you will. They brought a great, consistent set just like they normally do. That moment when they bring someone up on stage is just spectacular and full of emotion. I’m always jealous of the person, even more so on this night. I don’t think the crowd was ready for them at such an early time which was a bit of a bummer.
Kiwi – A & B delivered as usual. They always do such a good job of mixing in their new tracks with their classics. It’s like they can ALWAYS predict what the crowd wants to hear. This is the first time I have heard “Sirens of the Sea” played live, and it is awesome. Paavo was absent for this set, and as a result, it lacked a bit of emotion (compared to the other time I have seen them), however their energy was off the charts. Another track that got me fired up was the Gennix remix of “Home.”
Of course, I cannot go on without mentioning their uncanny ability to control a crowd. They really are geniuses.
Finally… this is something that nobody gets tired of hearing/seeing live.
Andy Moor vs. Lange brought it with some classics! Above and Beyond is a difficult act to follow, but I think that Moor and Lange did it perfectly. At festivals with so many super star artists on one stage, it is easy for some sets to blend together. After listening to some songs that they played, their amazing set is really starting to come back to me. One that stood out was definitely the Antillas remix of Andy Moor’s “Trespass.”
Any set with John O’Callahan’s “Big Sky” is absolutely massive. Moor and Lange played the Ben Gold festival remix and it was perfect.
Orjan Nilsen was one of the most overlooked artists in 2012. When Andy Moor and Lange played Endymion, I was all kinds of fired up. On a large festival setting, this song will make the crowd absolutely lose it.
Dash Berlin played probably the cheesiest set I have ever seen. He started off his set with Ummet Ozcan – The Box, and the usual “Fire Wire” acappella to go along with it. That was really the only thing that got me fired up about his set, and it was over in about 2 minutes. The rest of his set made me think of him as the Steve Aoki of trance. He kept prancing around the stage, dancing, and waiving around different props that he eventually threw into the audience. He probably stood there holding up a record with his face on it for about 5 minutes. Okay Jeff, stop showing us your record dude, play a Dash-up or something… Big fart noise to Dash.
Biggy – Stache Berlin was a bit of a struggle on this night. I liked him at POP earlier this year, but this set just wasn’t doing it for me. I wasn’t really in a sing along mood, so I’m sure this didn’t help. He also spent a ton of time on his iPad or whatever he uses on stage. Probably my least favorite set of the night.
The Countdown was awesome. After a bit of lack of attention last year at White Wonderland, I was hoping for big things. Skills delivered hard. Lazers and confetti and streamers and lights OH MY!
I have waited a long time to see Ferry Corsten and he was quite good! He opened with this banger:
He went hard with Cannonball and other bangers for the first part of his set. Eventually he brought out Betsy Larkin to sing with a couple of the tracks he played and that sequence seemed to kill his groove, sucking out the energy he had built up. Not for long though, as he closed with Live Forever, a rework of Fire, and finished with Brute was awesome. Would see Ferry again for sure.
Overall, ETD POP NYE was a great way to ring in the New Year. Skills has their work cut out for them before POP 2013, but I think they can get it figured out. Happy 2013, especially to any of you who managed to read all of this!