31st December 2000

@The Drome, London bridge


Well here it is - I've been raving for nearly a year now, and the 31st December had arrived - and with it the opportunity for my first ever Hardcore Rave at New Year's Eve!!! There was never any doubting, in my mind, which event I would choose, as over the past year I think Raindance at the Drome has become my second home! Before this rave I had been to four of the five Raindances at the Drome this year and they just kept getting better and better and better. Raindance never seem to rest on their laurels, they keep things fresh, they increase the standards every time - and I was certainly looking forward to 9pm on the 31st 

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December 2000 a great deal!!

Jimfish, Nats and I all arrived at Waterloo station just in time to catch up with most of the USH crew, and to join them in their journey to the meet up at London Bridge Station by 8pm. When I arrived at the venue shortly after 8pm there was already a sizeable queue - and by the time the doors opened at 9pm I swear the queue had nearly reached the other end of the tunnel!! After a fairly non-eventful search at the door I was in by about 9:15pm, and I was already buzzing off the NYE vibe! The cloakroom queue was massive - I 

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really didn't see it get any smaller all night I think - so I stuffed my records behind the decks and had a wander around.

Every time I enter the Hardcore room at Raindance I am amazed how much effort they put into the production. There was a wicked laser, with mirror balls, and a cool Mirror-Suit man standing in the corner for the laser to bounce off. The stage construction was even better than the 11th Birthday one - difficult to see the DJs though, I always liked the fact that at Raindance the DJs were on your level and you could 

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easily reach across and poke them (heh). The rest of the lighting in the hardcore room was also top-notch stuff - and the cooling fans at the front were a heaven-send when the temperatures soared later on in the night.

I'm actually determined to make this a short review - not because I feel that my other reviews were too long, but mainly cos I can't really remember much of the night it was that good!!! Kaos and Simon Apex played a nice set with Ethos on the mic, dropping some fresh new tunes alongside some other well known ones - 

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including a remix of Sunshine I think. Up next were the legendary duo - Ponder and Happy Bounce. Well I really think that it is appropriate at this point to congratulate these two on an unbelievable year in Hardcore. Huge amounts of respect go out to Mark and Paul for doing so much - DJing at loads of events, starting up (in conjunction with Sonic) Elation, and now starting to produce tracks of their own. Bo! Their set was, obviously, up there amongst the very best on the night - and their new track was... mmmmmm... heavenly!

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At this point I think I had a little sit down. You see, I came to Raindance this time with the intention of experiencing the whole Raindance "thing". OK, bit bizarre I know, but normally I just stomp away in the hardcore arch - fair enough - but I thought I'd broaden my appreciation of Raindance and try to master the art of chilling. Fantastic, chilling with Caine, Jexxy and others, smoking away, not a care in the world - just what I needed! You know there's this huge slice of this island in the Canaries that could splash into the water and cause a tidal wave 3 miles high that would flood most of the USA? You learn things like this by chilling :)

Blaaaargh, it was nearly 12am, nearly time for the year 2001!!! (hmm, I wonder how Whizzkid will fit the year 2001 into his rhymes...) I stumbled into the Hardcore room, just in time for the last couple of tracks from Herman and Storm, and just in time for Whizzkid to start his countdown to 2001. I'm in two minds whether to attempt describing the feeling I got around this time. I've been looking in my dictionaries, and I really don't think they've invented the words to sum up exactly what was going on. It was the highest feeling of happiness. It was this over-riding feeling of unity, of one-ness (raver-waffle yey), everyone just reaching out, hugging 

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people for ages, one person after another "happy new year, happy new year". Then the most surreal experience of my life was when the main riff from Toytown was played, and every whistle, every horn and every voice blew to the rhythm of the tune. I don't know how, I don't know what - but it was... the best.

I caught quite a bit of Energy's set - blinding as usual mate - but it was interrupted by the USH meetup shenanigans at 12:15am. At least I remember thinking that we should be over there, and I think we eventually did arrive at the meetup point at about 12:20am, but 

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I've got a feeling I kind of stayed there chatting to people and smoking till about 3am!! Hahaha, but I loved it. I missed most of Uplift's first set (standing in for DNA) - what I did hear was very nice indeed - and all of UFO's set, which was a bit disappointing for me, as I really rate that guy, and wanted to hear what he was playing.

What I loved doing was just closing your eyes, holding someone's hands in the air, who is standing in front of you, and both thinking the same scenario. For example, one of the best ones you can do is when you both stand 

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in front of the fan things, and imagine you're standing on top of the highest mountain, with the wind blowing past you, away from everything, with the music playing in your ears. Another one, which freaked me out last night, cos Deep Impact was on, and that was scarily similar - was to imagine you're standing on a beach looking out to sea. All you can see is the flat calm sea, but then you see an uprising in the distance, and it is, in fact, a huge tidal wave coming towards you. You see it growing and growing and getting closer and closer, until it engulfs you. It's wicked when two of you do it, cos you can feel your body arching, and your grip 

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tightening, and you always come out of the trance at the same time, and just stand there staring at each other - really really wicked. My god, I've just chatted complete shit - sorry bout that hahahaha.

Back to the rave, erm, yes - Uplift was on at 3am for his second set of the night. And what a set that was. The prestigious Tom Bennett Set Of The Night Award goes, without a shadow of a doubt, to the one and only DJ Uplift. What a set. 95/6 hardcore I seemed to remember, but avoiding the obvious anthems, only selecting the true hardcore classics - tunes to bring a 

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tear to the eye, tunes that leave you grinning from ear to ear, and stomping like a mad man. Top stuff all year mate - nice one :)

Gosh, then it was... Cris-E-Manic!!! Wahaaaay!!! This was the one point in the night where the stage was a bit annoying, cos I do appreciate being able to see the DJ at times in the night such as this ;) Hahaha, once again a fantastic set from Crissy - most of the tunes were new to me, and all the tunes I loved!! I think it was time for another chilling session at this point, and unfortunately it kind of over-ran to nearly half way into Hixxy's set. The 
40 minutes I did catch though were rather good indeed. Come together, right now, oooh yeah, in sweet harmony. That's all I really need to say about that set. Thank you Hixxy :)

Hahahahahahahahahaha, then it was 6am. Then it was time for me in the Eclectic Arch. Wicked :) Probably the most enjoyable hour of my entire life. I was doing my very best Mark EG impression - bouncing along behind the decks - mixing was spot-on I reckoned (hehe), and honestly what a laugh. The energy that a DJ puts in is so important to me. That's why I'm seen 

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bouncing behind the decks, hands in the air, whistle in my mouth - I love mixing, I love djing, and I hope that is transferred to the ravers (hahaha). That hour just summed up the entire night for me. The music I loved, the people I loved, the whole "yeah, it's hardcore, yeah it's NYE, yeah we're just going to take the piss and we're going to LOVE IT!!" atmosphere. Wicked mate, absolutely wicked.

I think Luke was thinking along similar lines to me - fair play to him though, he pulled it off in rather more style than me though - and it really came through to the 

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ravers. Lovely tune selection, and a nice way to start to finish off the night. After Luke was Vibes, who to be fair to him, played a nice set - avoiding the awful selection of the last Raindance (Friends remix, etc) - choosing some classic tunes from yesteryear, and mixing without noticeable clangage (Crissy and I were listening very carefully, and I'm sure she'll agree with me). And then it was all over.

As I said in the meetup list - Raindance, who needs heaven?

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Now for the shouts...

Big huge massive New Year Shouts to: James, Natalie, Kev, Caine, Jexxy (really really cor blimey guvnor so absolutely mindblowingly rather fantastically unbelievably sexy hahaha), Kat (on holiday skiing, bah it's alright for some innit?), Ed (my god, what a nice New Year's surprise seeing you there!!), Slammin Sam, RaverJo, Androoo, Mupster, Miss Go Mental, Fussion (cheers again for the headphones, I'll buy some of me own soon hehe), Acidnik, Ade, Phick, Nic from Onelove, Dan, Gemma, the other bloke (sorry I've 

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forgotten your name!) and his girlfriend, SimonMDMA and his brother, Potfish, Denno, DJ TI, Bedroom Raver, Mad Man, Danny, Lukozade, Ponder, Happy Bounce, Uplift, Cris E Manic, Elmo (eek man, bad luck geezer), Vyper, Tony Resonance and Natasha, Dick Raindance, Richard Raindance, Misdee, Billy Bass, Conrad, Peter, Emma, Barticle, Jamie, Mikey B, Dan and Joe, Ardee, Spike, SD, Doug, Craig, Kev Energy, Jonny, Peter Ethos, Icekold, Stix, Gordon Whizzkid, everyone I met, everyone I didn't meet - see you all at FUTURE DANCE 5 - 3rd March 2001!!!!!!!!

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PS "I'm actually determined to make this a short review" - I lied obviously! LOL

Tom Bennett / DJ U4EA


Raindance have been putting on superb events all year, all leading up to this, new years eve Raindance! I haven't been to a Raindance at new years eve since 1992 and after such a let down last new years eve this was by far the most awaited event of 2000, I thought I'd gotten over the butterflies in the stomach, the feeling sick, the sleepless nights waiting for the 31st to arrive, I was wrong, it was just like it was nearly 10 years ago, I was worse than a kid on Christmas day and the time just couldn't off come sooner.

At last it was here, I had arranged to get up and into the 

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venue before it started but it never seems to go to plan, after a lot of flaffing about and dropping tickets off etc. etc. me and my pals (including a blind date which was a total waste of time) eventually arrived at the Drome and at the beginning as well, after meeting with a few more mates (one of whom I had to leave outside to wait for his girlfriend because she wasn't going to come, then decided she was and had to pay 100 for a taxi to the venue, I'm not going to name names but next time GEMMA, decide to come when your boyfriend is coming), it was time to go in and I was sooooo glad I wasn't in the ticket queue although I was told later by 

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several people that were in the ticket queue that it went down very quick indeed, it was huge, from one end of the tunnel to the other and by the sounds of it they were all here to party, god knows what the neighbours must of thought with all those whistles and horns going off and the echo in the tunnel just made it worse.

Once inside considering it was just after 9pm it was starting to fill out already, especially the cloakroom queue, this was huge and I'm glad I never brought my coat in, this queue never seemed to go down all night, once everyone had put there coats in people were 

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queuing to get there coats out, there was even a huge queue at midnight, why oh why would you want to spend midnight in the cloakroom queue!!!

After sitting around and chatting for an hour waiting for the place to pack out a bit more and waiting for everyone I knew to get in off I went to...you guessed it, the hardcore room, I never realized how many people had come in, in that hour, the place was rammed and kicking and although the music wasn't brilliant this arena was. (new hardcore, O.K but gets a bit boring after a 

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while, bring back happy hardcore, all is forgiven, to be honest, if hardcore doesn't sort itself out real soon I'm going to be forced to change my music style to hard house/trance, at least this music is uplifting and puts a smile on my face).

Being the hardcore bod that I am I put up with the dodgy music hoping it would change and maybe something happy would come on, but after every DJ change I'm afraid they decided to stick to the same music policy, new hardcore or should I call it trance 

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core!! after nearly two hours of this, enough was enough and off I went to find my friends for midnight, bingo I bumped into my good friend Sam straight away and off we went into the old skool arena which is where we said we would all meet up for midnight, bad mistake, this was the first time I had been in the old skool room all night and it was rammed solid, I have never seen it this rammed before and it took all our effort just to squeeze in let alone find everyone, we did find Neal but when he found out it was just about midnight he disappeared to find his girlfriend, so instead of there being a group of 20 

or so of us it was just me and Sam which I didn't mind at all because it meant I got loads of cuddles from her. I was told midnight was going to be special with confetti cannons etc in the old skool which is why we all agreed to meet in there, disappointed is an understatement, (not all down to Raindance) there was a quick countdown a big cheer and that was it, well that's all I saw anyway although I was told later that there was confetti cannons but they weren't as powerful as they had thought, even the people in the place didn't seem to pick up on the 

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time, I remember years ago once midnight had gone, for hours after you would be cuddling strangers wishing them a happy new year, not tonight, this only seemed to last about five minutes and to be honest I only had a couple of strangers come up to me and wish me a happy new year, why the scene has gone this way I don't know, it is supposed to be about love peace and unity. Good job I had my friend Sam with me or I might of started getting depressed!!

Anyway with midnight out of the way and almost 

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forgotten straight away Sam and I had to go and chill out a bit because it was so packed and so hot you couldn't dance, within twenty or so minutes we had met up with just about everyone I wanted to wish a happy new year too, time for some more music so back to the old skool we went, this time we stayed right at the back so we had room to dance plus it was a bit, not a lot, but a bit cooler, we didn't stay here too long because even though they were playing some excellent old skool the bass in the place was making people ill, so please next time make it as loud as you can but easy on the bass. off 

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we went for some more chilling when we could find somewhere to sit and for the first time in ages we went to see what the house room was like, touch, my mate DJ Al Jay was on the decks and what a set he was playing, he was setting the crowd on fire and me along with it, I don't think you can get much harder house than what was being played and I loved it, the one thing I love about Al Jay is that he plays to the crowd and joins in too, now days you get too many DJs that just play for themselves and what will make them look good, this is not how it should be, make sure you don't change Al 

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Now I'm not really a house person as I love my hardcore so much, but this was so good, and the only music all night to put a smile on my face that I loved it to pieces, so much that I spent the next three to four hours in here lapping up the good music and good atmosphere, luckily Sam loved it too so she stayed with me, the only reason we left when we did was because my friend U4EA was playing at 6am and I didn't want to miss him (see top photo), nice but weird set mate, more happy 

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next time!!

Now because U4EA was playing in the new skool arch we all ended up sitting down, big mistake, once there I was stuck, I just couldn't be bothered to get up so we stayed there until the end and we had to go, it was quite funny though, my best friend Dan's mate Dean Cuthbert, (for anyone that might know him) had a row with his misses and instead of taking it like a man he decided to go to the back of the arena and sulk behind the curtain, would you believe it he stayed there for nearly three 

hours sulking behind this curtain and only came out then because it was finished and then got in a moody with me because I told him to grow up, worse than having a kid, I feel sorry for his girlfriend!!

Overall a very very excellent night with absolutely no problems what so ever except midnight, well worth the money and no doubt ten times better than the other events which were more expensive, the music was bliss in every arena except the hardcore and the atmosphere was, well how can I put it, the atmosphere was 

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Raindance, if you have ever been you will know what I'm talking about!! Well done all of the Raindance crew and thanks for listening to the ravers.

Here's to another great year of Raindance events, I can't wait for the next one!! 24th February 2001

BIG BIG SHOUTS OUT TO...firstly it has to be to the Raindance crew, Greg, Mark, Steve, Lee, Dean, Paul, Dan the man and his silly girlfriend Gemma, Mike, Richard, most off all Sam for making it an excellent night and putting up with me, everyone I got speaking too on the night, and anyone I might have forgotten.

Peace Love and Unity to you all


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