28 th October 2000

@The Drome, London bridge


Happy birthday to you,

Happy birthday to you,

Happy birthday to Raindance,

Happy birthday to you!!!

Can you believe it, Raindance are 11 years old and are still as strong as ever and their 11th birthday party was no exception, off I went...

After the last event selling out and word on the street that this event too was sold out I arranged to get there early and get in before the queues formed half way around London, wrong, I arrived at around 9pm and the place was buzzing, people everywhere, and huge queues forming already, after meeting some friends off we went to queue, we was in the guest list queue and still had to wait twenty or so minutes to get in but boy was it worth the wait.

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once we got inside and met up with everyone we decided to check out the hardcore arena, unfortunately because the queue was so long I missed my good friend DJ U4EA, who's set I was really looking forward too, but I am told it was the bo?*ocks (Tom I'm still waiting for my tape).

The whole place was still rather empty at this time, but of course the hardcore arena was packing out nicely (Raindance crew, this arena is just too small for all the 

hardcore fans out there), I must of stayed in here for a good few hours as blinding tunes after blinding tunes were played and it wasn't only me who was loving it, I just couldn't pull myself away, I decided to stay for DNA's set and then go for a chill and chat, DNA decided to play all new stuff including several of his own tracks and I must admit I was quite impressed with the new stuff coming out (more vocals would be nice though), I don't know if I could listen to it all night but mixed in with some happy is great. raindance28-10-00pic3.jpg (190704 bytes)
Time for a chill, NOT, could I find anyone? not anyone I knew was around, the place had got so packed by now it was a nightmare trying to find anyone you new, finally I found my good friend Greg in the old skool arena which was jumpin as normal, I tried to get him to come for a chill but no luck, he just dragged me into the drum & bass arena which by now had jam packed solid, now I'm not really into the drum & bass scene but this was great, the tunes they were playing made everyone in the place jump including me and the atmosphere was good too! what's 
going on!!! Now I was getting hot and knackered, I need a chill, even if I have to chill on my own and make new friends, luckily I bumped into Tom and persuaded him to come for a chill, bad idea, once there I got stuck there for hours, different people and different people just kept finding us and coming for a chat raindance28-10-00pic6.jpg (208546 bytes)
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Well, here it was - the time had finally arrived for the most awaited rave of the Year 2000. Yes, it was Raindance time once again - and smiles were definitely the dress for this occasion. After meet ups at Waterloo and London Bridge we all made our way to the venue. Myself and Kev carefully led the group of us in a large circle, professing to know exactly the way to the venue, but in fact having not a clue! Anyway, as soon as Dimi took control we found the venue, and also my brother, sister and all their friends in a nearby pub. After a quick drink 
we made our way to the venue, and after leaving my siblings in the queue I made my way into the Drome to get myself installed in the Hardcore arch. After a quick chat with Richard and the sound engineer I started to spin my tunes. This, you have to appreciate, was at about 8:45pm. I quickly got used to the system, and was pumping out the 96/97 hardcore flavors to a crowd of, erm, the sound engineer and a few of the lighting technicians! Anyway, the venue opened shortly after 9:30pm - I was actually glad of this, as it gave me time to get used to the system,  raindance28-10-00pic7.jpg (207453 bytes)
and get into the groove! I am in really no position to pass judgement on my own set - but a friend of mine said that he'd "never seen the hardcore arch rocking so much by the end of the first set" - so that can't be entirely bad! I hope everyone there enjoyed my set as much as I enjoyed playing it!!

By 10pm I was on such a natural high I had to wander aimlessly around the venue, catching up with all my friends dotted around, and having a quick chill in the eclectic 
arch. I missed most of Bosha's set, but I was sure going to be in the Hardcore arch for the one and only DJ Uplift! A wicked set of upfront tunes - a couple of top new tunes from Uplift et al in there too. The atmosphere was better than I have ever experienced at any rave - exemplified by the time when the power cut off momentarily during Uplift's set and the crowd were going wild - whistles, horns, shouting, smiles on everyone's faces - and when the power came back on the ravers went even wilder!!! Absolutely amazing it was!
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After Uplift's set on came DJ Breeze. I had never actually experienced a set from Breeze before - but quite honestly his set was, in my opinion, one of the best in the night. Breeze played a wide selection of tunes - ranging from the old to the new, the happy to the trancey - I just couldn't stop dancing! The mixing was spot on, and the tune selection superb.

A quick word about the production now. All through the venue the production was perfect. The lights and lasers in 
the hardcore arch were mesmerizing and the sound crystal clear and extremely loud. The market stalls were superb too - I really should do my weekly shopping at the Drome in the future! The venue was well and truly full to capacity - but I reckon this was no bad thing, as unlike in other raves I've been to there was always room to move, to dance, and to chill. Whenever you wanted to have a sit down there was always room somewhere, and getting to arch to arch was no real problem. Apparently there were problems outside the venue - but Raindance coped with it  raindance28-10-00pic15.jpg (26021 bytes)
as best as they could, I suppose even they couldn't have forecasted such huge demand for tickets.

The pace of the night seemed to be getting faster and faster - but I was still dancing, spurred on by the prospect of DJ DNA and MC Jam. After their set-of-the-night at the recent Future Dance 4 the hardcore arch seemed to swell with ravers wanting to experience a set of pure quality. And we were by no means going to be disappointed. Once again the set showcased many of 
DNA's new tunes and his new style of hardcore - but he also kept it fresh and exciting! A few breakbeat-only tracks were also played - I have to say not quite to my taste, but there were many ravers who seemed to be lapping it up!

I can't believe how I keep on missing DJ Energy's sets, but once again I somehow managed too. However, I was in great need of a rest - even though, by all reports, his set was of the utmost quality (what else could we expect from 
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the DJ of the Year?).

My chill-out session extended into most of Herman and Storm's set, but I managed to pries myself from my extremely comfortable position in time for the last few tunes. From what I heard the set consisted mainly of the DJs new tunes - mostly remixes of classic tunes from the past. Don't get me wrong, I did like the set, but to me (what do I know though?) the tunes did seem a bit 'cluttered' with samples and such like. It's all hardcore 
though innit? A stomping set, nonetheless, with each and every raver in the house pumping to the sound.

Mark EG was the next to step onto the decks (something I expected him to literally do by the way he was characteristically carrying on during his set!!). The energy of the man himself exuded onto the ravers - even though the pace of the music had slowed considerably, the frantic pace of the ravers certainly hadn't! I can't wait for the video of this rave - mainly for the scenes of Mark EG 
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going berserk behind the decks!

There was little MC activity before DNA's set - but as soon as Whizzkid turned up the place erupted. All the MCs on the night were on top form - especially Whizzkid and Storm - you were definitely worth the wait!

Up next on the decks was DJ Hixxy. Another set right out of the top drawer - playing some classic tunes from yesteryear, ravers singing along to every vocal tune, 
shooting their hands in the air for every heavenly breakdown! With Whizzkid and Storm on the mic, this also has to rank alongside the best sets of the night.

Time, I think, now for Elation's very own DJ Sonic! I was definitely looking forward to this set - and unbelievably there was no migraine in sight for the DJ! A truly sublime set - quite possibly set of the night - from the Elation man, I just couldn't stop stomping!
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Gosh, the night had just seemed to fly by - it was already 7am - and there were still two hours of raving madness to go! Vibes was up next, and I was amazed quite how much cheese one DJ could possibly play - don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining!! OK, it's not quite the 'Future of Hardcore', but with Livelee on top form on the mic I don't think I've ever seen so many happy smiley hardcore ravers in one place! I was just counting down the time until the Friends remix was played - and lo and behold it was! I just couldn't resist joining in with the hoards of 
ravers singing along. At last, comedy during a rave! And, for some reason, this set was honestly a definite highlight of the night for me!

Unfortunately, due to me attempting to pre-empt the large old queue for the cloakroom I decided to collect my bags at this time. Having a bloody heavy record bag around your shoulders definitely restricts your dancing capacity - but once I realised it would be easier to dance if *I took the bag off* I was bopping once again to the sounds of 
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the A-Team (Chris-E-Manic, Uplift, Lukozade, Ponder, Happy Bounce and some others I think). I left near the end of this set to try and find all my mates and sort out people's coats and bags.

This night was characterized by the amount of superlatives I can attribute to it. It was the biggest, the happiest, the largest, the loudest, the fullest, the most atmospheric, the most heavenly, the most energetic, and quite simply the BEST rave I have ever attended. I say this every time, I 
know, but quite how perfection keeps on getting more and more perfect every new rave just astounds me! Be there for New Year's Eve and you will surely not be disappointed!!

Massive huge shouts and hugs to: Cat, James, KTB (my sister!!), BenGB (my brother!!) and all their lovely friends, Kev, Andy, Natalie, Iram, Lukozade, Nemesis, Nik LiquidAce, Twigg, Potfish, Phick, SiMonDMA, BeckiBoo, Jexxy (you're still so sexy), Miss Go Mental, 
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Fussion (a huge thank you for the headphones!), Androooo, Nic and everyone from OneLoveMagazine, Dan and his girlfriend, Chedda, Viking, Icekold, Misdee, Billy Bass, Dave Spice, Dan and Joe Haynes, Morgz, MC Jam, Gordon Whizzkid (cheers for the pep-talk - much appreciated!), Kev Energy, Tony Raindance (or is it Resonance now?), Richard Raindance, Breeze, Uplift, Cris-E-Manic, Vibes, Livelee, Bosha, MC Storm, Hixxy, the Sound Engineer (cheers for the torch!), Sonic, Happy Bounce, Ponder, Jamie, Caine and Muzzy, Kristoph, SD, 
all the DJs, all the MCs, everyone I met, everyone I didn't meet!

See you all at Slammin Vinyl, Labyrinth, Elation, Resonance and Future Dance 5 (5 weeks, 5 raves - and they said Hardcore was dying!!)

Tom Bennett / U4EA
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