2nd September 2000

@The Drome, London bridge



Now, after my, er, shall we say, rather bad experiences the day after meeting the USH lot in Namcos in London I wasn't meant to be allowed to go to this rave. As you can imagine I was truly gutted at this prospect, and was to do everything in my powers to rectify the situation! So after returning from a short holiday in Yorkshire I finally had the show-down with my parents, and to cut a long story short, at 7:00pm I finally got the train into London. A painless journey later and I was at Waterloo station 

just in time to meet some of the USH crew for their now obligatory Pre-Rave Meetups. I met here people like Kev, Jamie, all the Maidenhead crew, the up-and-coming producer DJ Happs (for his first rave!!), and plenty others. Then it was off to London Bridge station to meet yet more people, and then to finally join the queue at the Drome.

We did get there rather too early, guaranteed, but I felt secure in the fact that we were well near the front, and first up in the Hardcore arch was the 

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fantastic Ponder and Happy Bounce. So, search completed (found nothing again) I made the necessary purchases of my white gloves and a bottle of water and stumbled into the Hardcore arena, for what was to be the first of many pleasing shocks on the night. I had never seen such a construction for a DJ booth at Raindance before. Scaffolding holding banks of speakers, multitudinous lights, lasers and smoke machines, as well as housing the DJs, in full view of all the ravers - nice! 

Then came the music. Once again our boys Happy 

Bounce and Ponder put on a wonderful show. With Elmo on the mic, they once again probably deserved the set of the night. The arena was rocking by 10:00pm - just after it opened! A wicked set, full of nice older tunes interspersed with banging new breakbeatey tracks. Tunes like Incognito (tuuune), the new SSU tunes, and others were mixed with perfection, and scratched over by Ponder superbly. Then someone somehow managed, due to no fault of their own, to mess the mixer up so no-one could plug headphones into it - so the first few tunes of Bosha's set were characterised by not actually being mixed! 

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So, I decided to check out the rest of the venue, and have a little sit down. 

The venue was already fairly full by this time - and more were queuing outside still. By the time everyone was in, the venue was packed to the rafters. But the good thing about a venue like the Drome is that the venue can be packed, but there is always room to move, there are always arches with room to dance, and there's always somewhere to sit! There was a noticeable difference in temperature throughout the venue, however, which should be 
rectified at the next Raindance. The Jungle arena and the main chill-out arena were boiling. It was so hot that my sweat was simply not evaporating, it was boiling off my skin! The Hardcore and Old Skool arches were OK though - with good use of air-conditioning fans and open doors keeping a nice breeze throughout the arch.

After a quick meetup with friends at the USH meetup point, my mate James finally arrived! Missed his train was his excuse - more like played too many games of ISS on the computer beforehand! Anyway, 

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after getting him kitted up with the raving paraphernalia we were just in time for Vibes - but sadly for many, not Livelee. All the same, Vibes played a set above his sadly rather low average lately. Way above! A 95/96 set this time - with some nice old classics thrown in, but not the anthem-fest some were imagining. And not the clag-fest most were expecting after some of his recent sets which didn't appear to have much effort put in to them. No, Vibes, you've done us proud with that set - mixing was seamless and seemingly effortless - and tune selection was very nice indeed! A bit of a pity (for 
some) that Livelee didn't turn up as advertised though.

The pace of the night was getting quicker and quicker by this time, and the lightweight that I am, I decided to have yet another rest, and chat to all the people who were congregating in the huge chill-out rooms. One of the best bits about raving, for me, is perhaps all the wonderful happy ravers. Raindance, as usual, was packed full of them - and I really enjoy having a good chin-wag now and then whilst recovering for my next dancing session!!

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My mate James at this point decided to come and fetch me in time for the last 15 minutes of Jimmy J's set in the Old Skool arch. Now, it might seem a bit strange to you, but in the last three Raindances that I have attended I have not once been in the Old Skool arch for any major length of time! What met my eyes on this occasion was a magical explosion of lights and lasers never before experienced by myself. The arch is huge, and the production was mind-blowing. Raindances just keep getting better and better. Jimmy J was spinning some top-quality old skool tracks, and only the prospect of Billy Bunter in the 
hardcore arch tore me away from this place.

So it was from old skool into more old skool as Billy Bunter got on the decks in the Hardcore arch for a trip back to 1995. Another blinding set from the man - the ravers were loving it. All that dancing - I needed another quick sit down to catch up with all my mates dotted around the various chill-out rooms. By this time even my flashing alien face on my T-shirt was getting a bit tired - but after a little chat I made my way, once again, to the hardcore arch in time for the last few minutes of Frisky's set. I saw this guy at 

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Future Dance 3 - and once again he played a wicked set, with many ravers in complete awe of Canada's number 1 DJ.

After Frisky, however, was what many people on the night had been waiting all this time for - DJ Energy. In my opinion, he is one of the most consistently brilliant DJs around at the moment, and he kept this up with one of the best sets I've ever heard him play. Many of the tunes were new to me - hard freeform style, less trancey than usual I thought. After a quick exhibition of Energy's MCing skills (!) 
shouting into a pair of headphones, a proper microphone was found and MC Ethos, the Go Mental resident, showed us how it should be done!! I was grinning from ear to ear by this time - loving every minute of it!!

I had danced so hard during the frantic pace of Energy's set that I needed to get my breath back! I wandered around the huge venue - smiley faces everywhere - checking out all the different rooms. Each arch was nicely packed with ravers - and every room was rocking. I have to say that Raindance had 

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excelled themselves yet again with all the decorations in the main arenas. UV backdrops, objects suspended from ceilings, wicked lights, mesmerising laser shows - enough to make you crazy!

So, with all this wandering and chatting I missed most of Herman and Storm's set - but the reports I heard from people who experienced it were all glowing! However, I most definitely was in the Hardcore arch for the one and only DJ Uplift. Showcasing a couple of new tunes written by himself, Cris-E-Manic and Lukozade, the whole 
arena was going crazy. In my opinion these new tunes are the dog's dangly bits - can't wait till they're released!! A banging set, with the icing on the cake being that the lovely Cris-E-Manic was there at the front of the arena dancing away!! I honestly thought all my dreams had come true(!). 

At 7am DJ Lukozade joined Uplift on the decks to finish the night Back2Back style. A superb tune selection made even better by wicked mixing and stupendously fantastic scratching by the scratchmaster Lukozade finished off the night in pure 

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ecstasy. Even though the sound man came and turned the sound down at about 7:40, we all raved on till the end!!

I honestly can't get over quite how mind-blowingly brilliant the whole Raindance experience was. I know that I say this every time (I'm a raver aren't I?) but it was quite honestly the most fantastic rave I have ever, ever attended. Everything was spot-on perfect. The sound, the music, the DJs, the MCs, the production, the lights, the lasers, the venue, the ravers, the security, the bars, the stalls! One slightly 
irritating point thought was that the venue is so god-damn DIRTY!!!!!! But that only adds to the whole underground raving experience I suppose - so I'll let Raindance off that one!!

Truly and honesty though, the standard has been set now. The hardcore scene just gets better and better. I only hope that it can be this good forever.

Shouts out to: James, Raver Jo, Kev, Twigg, Nemesis, Mupster, Jamie, Ed, Potfish, Androoo, Alieeeson, Denno, Happs, The One Like..., Phick, 

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SiMonDMA, Sophie, Becki, Jess, Barking Boy, Alister, Whizzkid, Ethos, Ponder, Happy Bounce, Sonic, Uplift, Lukozade, Cris-E-Manic, Sammy Sam, Chedda, Stix, Icekold, Erica, Nic and everyone else from One Love Magazine, Tony and Richard from Raindance, Grant from Epidemik, Scottie, SD, Doug, Craig, Oily, Delirious, Nick Spice, Dan and Joe Haynes, Danny, Joe Retro, Caine and his mate who's name I keep on forgetting, Miss Go Mental, Johnny Go Mental, Kevin Energy, all the DJs, all the MCs, everyone I met, everyone I didn't meet (hmm that's just about the whole world then)!

See you all at the next rave!

Tom Bennett / DJ U4EA

Raindance, Raindance, Raindance, what can I say, there's not many words that can describe how good Raindance events are and they keep on getting better, there last event was no exception, personally not as good as their previous one but that was down to me and not the rave (I was worn out (I'm getting old)), I don't think I've ever seen so many happy faces and pleased people right through to the end which was 8am, not a time you see very often now days and must admit find it hard going that long as 

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I'm not used to it. Maybe other events should start going a bit longer, not only is it what people want but it's better value for your money, it's less nuisance on the neighbors, and the trains are running by this time, anyway back to Raindance, this is how it went for me...

After arriving at the Drome at around 9.50pm and finding no parking except 1/4 mile down the road, it seemed as though everyone had decided to get there early and that there was a lot of people, but where were they, there was no one about, after waiting to meet some people and friends it was getting on for 11pm and still not many people around 

(now I was getting worried and hoped that everyone hadn't decide to go to dreamsacape instead (why they would do this I don't know)), time to queue up and go in, then it hit us, the queue was huge, even the guest list queue was pretty big but it still didn't take no time at all to get in (well done security) so you can imagine how many people were in the place already, and how many there was going to be. (it turned out to be their most popular event yet and totally sold out (and you couldn't of fit another person in the place, even at the end-8am- the place was packed (I haven't seen a crowd like this since Helter Skelter))).


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Once inside as always I headed straight for the hardcore arena which unfortunately was still in the slightly smaller arena and was pretty much packed out already, this was O.K as I like a lot of people (less chance to get paranoid) but no matter where you decided to stand or dance it seemed to be a walk way to somewhere, where I don't know as there are only two exits in the arena, thus you ended up being pushed and walked on way too many times??? 

Apart from that, this arena was pukka, as always, brilliant sound, brilliant lights, brilliant atmosphere, brilliant music/DJs, and loads of chics!

After spending a couple of hours in the hardcore arena I decided to have a wonder and see how the rest of the place was going, WOW, I couldn't believe how packed it was, every arena was full, all the chill out areas were full, were did all these people come from, raving must be on the up (I did find out later in the evening that desire got cancelled due to lack of people and Raindance let in anyone who had a desire ticket (now that was nice wasn't it). 

After going into the old skool to hear the whizzkick live PA I found out I had missed it and I wasn't too pleased, I was really looking forward to 

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seeing them again after seeing them last time and thinking they were tops, to make it worse I was told by everyone how good they were and how I should of seen them, thanks guys!

Time for a sit down and chill as it was starting to get a bit warm, but where? after walking around for 10 minutes we finally found a place to sit, and it was surprisingly cool and refreshing. Being the light weight that I am these days I ended up sitting down for at least an hour or so chatting to someone and everyone, it's amazing after all these years of raving I still go out and meet so many new people, especially at raindance, thing is I'm 

terrible for keeping in touch with these new friends I meet, sorry!!

Time for another wonder around and boy is it still packed, the night is getting on now and it seems as packed as is was at midnight, off to the house room for the first time tonight (unusual for me) and it's as tightly packed as a sardine can with everyone going crazy to DJ Al Jay, if you like hard house this is the place to be, especially when Al jay is on.

After alternating between the house room and the hardcore room for an hour or so listening to trancey house and stompin new hardcore, which 

Isn't bad at all (another reason it's getting popular again, not so cheesy) I needed to chill as I was soaked with sweat (and I wonder why I didn't pull!!), I found some friends and chilled basically till the end listening to DJ Cristo play the last two hours in the chill out area playing some excellent classic old, old skool, the stuff where it all began.

Overall (your probably getting bored of me saying this but..) it was a top top night, you couldn't off asked for more (except to go home with a girl) the production was 100% with an ear bursting sound system, eye blinding lasers and lights and the decor just seems to get better every time 

including dancing puppets (that's what raving should be about, entertaining the ravers and Raindance certainly does that) there were no problems at all, all night that I noticed, I did hear of a slight fight during the night but that's all. So hats off to Raindance yet again for another superb night of raving. I cannot wait till the next one and new years eve is a must.

see you all on the 28th October 2000

BIG BIG SHOUTS out to all of the Raindance crew (you know who you are!) Greg (the blagger), Steve, Dan (the man), Mike, The little blonde bird with white gloves (cool dancer), The Brighton crew, The Woking crew, and everyone else I met on the night