Sensation Ocean of White
With Fedde Le Grand, Nic Fanciulli, Prok & Fitch, and Mr. White
Saturday, October 12, 2013
American Airlines Arena, Miami
Better than: All the colors found in a Crayola 64 box -- and that horrible crayon sharpener that never fucking worked!
As we've gotten older, we've found ourselves becoming more curmudgeonly when we attend EDM events. It's hard to put up with a lot of things that have invaded the current wave of dance music -- the bad music, bro-tastic crowds, the overuse of drugs -- we could go on forever.
To say we attended Sensation with hesitation is an understatement.
We'd usually rather listen to our current favorite slew of dance acts sitting down on our bed while we write blog posts. But Sensation might have renewed our faith in EDM. Not because it was a flawless event -- it wasn't -- but we finally saw a large group of people gathered at a venue who were so obviously in love with dance music.
Prior to attending Sensation, we broke one of our cardinal rules: we read a review of the show. Billboard magazine basically slammed the event for its low attendance and Cirque du Soleil-lite choreography. Add the rumor posted on TalkNightlife that ticket sales for the Miami show were sluggish, and our expectations were a bit low.
Entering the American Airlines Arena, it was pretty obvious that Sensation wasn't a sold-out show. Still, the floor was packed and seating seemed to fill up as the night wore on. The only problem we saw was some aggravated patrons trying to get to the arena floor or up to the deluxe-view areas. Security held the lines to remain in compliance with fire codes, which, to us, is completely understandable. But even the crowd traffic seemed to smooth out later in the night.
However, the main complaint people had about the event was the outrageous ticket prices. But once you were at the event, you saw where your money was put to use: the production. And yes, Sensation is all about the production.
Let's face it, Sensation's lineup wasn't exactly a huge selling point. Fedde Le Grand and Nic Fanciulli might be able to fill up clubs like Mansion or LIV, but they aren't known for arena shows in the U.S. However, the DJ is only one part of what Sensation has to offer. The event lives up to its name by overloading your senses with dancers, smoke, lights, lasers, pyrotechnics, bubbles, and more.
The DJs played atop a slowly rotating platform that gave you a clear view of them no matter where you were in the arena. Problem with the platform was how far removed the DJ felt from the crowd. Sure, two huge screens on the north and south sides of arena provided a close-up view of the acts, but there was still a sense of detachment. However, with everything going on -- the lights, the visuals, the dancers -- we're pretty sure organizers meant to discourage the audience from staring at the DJ all night long. Because to focus entirely on the DJ would be missing the whole point of Sensation.
Ocean of White goes beyond just asking everyone to come dressed in white. The party aimed to transport the audience to an underwater playground. Giant jellyfish hung above the arena floor while an enormous coral-like structure served as the central focal point. And an endless stream of bubbles made sure you didn't forget you were supposed to be partying under the sea. (If there were ever party that needed a house remix of "Under the Sea", it would have been this one.)
Throughout the night, between DJ sets, a narrator pushed forward the theme, asking the audience to let the "waves crash over you." Was it corny? Absolutely, but that didn't bother this curmudgeon too much.
In the end, the crowd really is what made the Miami edition of Sensation a success. Everyone took the all-white dress code and ran with it, creating some pretty awesome monochromatic costumes. And trust us, this wasn't Ultra amateur hour. Everyone seemed to be partying responsibly and enjoying the music. The 21-and-over admittance policy probably helped. And the crowd was a mix of aging ravers, older college kids, gays, and South Beach archetypes -- all partying together in harmony.
Ah, there you are PLUR. It was nice to see you again.
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Personal Bias: I might not ever attend an all-ages dance music event again.
Overheard in the Crowd: "This party is, like, really gay. I mean to say there are gay guys everywhere. What do you think the ratio of gay to straight is?"