1996 Part 2 – Ray’s Reviews
Free Love ’96
Location: Centennial Stadium, Redfern Rd, Minto
Date: 13th July, 1996
The week after the Field of Dreams experience, this was hyped up to continue the great “big rave” events. But it was not to be. The organisation of this event was terrible, and many people were very disappointed. It was advertised as a free event, but did not end up that way. I got there at around 11pm, and there was a queue about 100 metres long. We got on the end of the queue and waited, and waited.. and waited.. and waited. 3 hours later, we finally got to the entrance of the stadium (2pm by this time), and were forced to pay $5 “donation” or else we couldn’t go in. I’m not against paying $5 for an event, but if it is advertised as being free, then it bloody well should be free.
Our legs were aching, and our spirits down, only to go into the event to be disappointed further. There were a LOT of people here. Thousands of people had showed up – most of them not even being ravers! The sound quality was terrible, and the volume very low. The only thing happening that was of any interest at all was the laser show on the see through sheet that was up in the air – and often showing gratuitous e-messages. The one live act that I saw when we were there sounded pathetic (probably not due to the performers themselves, but the equipment they were using). And finally the “once you’re in you cant go out unless you line up again” policy was in force, and the line had died down to about 2 hours long instead. A very disappointing night, a long drive, a waste of petrol and $5, and sore legs to match. If Field of Dreams was a night out at the pub, then this was the hangover the next day.
Utopia 3 – 1st Birthday
Location: Pier 4, Hickson Road, under the Harbour Bridge
Date: 20th July, 1996
Probably THE BEST NIGHT that I have ever had at a rave! This was absolutely unbelievable, and KILLED the previous utopia event. Situated at Pier 4, this was probably the best venue I have ever been to (maybe with the exception of Crisis Point 3 – hmm all the No. 3 events seem to be the best – crisis point 3, fod3, utopia 3 – 3rd time lucky I spose) It was at the Sydney Dance Company, in a huge warehouse type venue. There was tonnes of parking out the front too. As you walked into the event, you could see the 2nd small room (which you thought was the main room as you entered). This room had house and hard house mostly, and was quite a good room in itself. The DJ for this room was on a walkway which was looking down on the room. The main room was still to come – to get to it you had to walk down a corridor of flashing strobe lights, which was one of the best little additions I have seen at any event – it was extremely atmospheric, and pumped up people as they journeyed into the main room (and it also funnily made it very difficult to walk, as the lights stuffed up your balance a bit).
The main room was a big checkered (yes black and white checkered) dance floor, with the back wall a huge mirror. This room was going ballistic all night without stopping! When I went in there everyone was jumping and dancing very hard, and this lasted for hours and hours. The vibe here was absolutely awesome, like nothing I have seen before. The laser show was also one of the best I have seen (besides FOD4) and they made the crowd go beyond their limits. The mirrored wall at the back of the room reflected the laser light back into the crowd again – it was just an unbelievable room that has to be seen to be believed. All night the DJ’s were playing great music which everyone liked, all the classic hard tracks, and some newer trance, techno and hard house.
The music quality was great and the bass reverberated around the room. Everyone involved in this event is a genius – the lighting crew, the DJ’s and most of all the promoters who would have gone to a lot of trouble securing such a great and new venue. And I just lurved the strobe flashing corridor – a great touch! The only problem is that some people did some graffiti, and someone else dropped a cigarette down a crack, causing a small fire which the fire brigade had to come and put out, closing the rave at 6am. This means that this truly great venue will probably never be used for a rave again. But anyway, a top score for this event – TEN OUT OF TEN!
Location: Birmingham St, Alexandria >>> 282 Botany Rd, Alexandria (Graffiti Hall of Fame)
Date: 24th August, 1996
Rating: 1/10 (or 3/10)
The venue for this rave seemed too good to be true (and it was). It was a warehouse-type place on a small street at Alexandria. I got there just after 11pm, the time it was meant to start, and outside the venue there were already a few police cars. No one was being allowed inside, and the lights were on in the venue. We all waited, and waited.. until it was finally announced that the rave was to be shut down (before it even started). The disappointing part was that the promoters had advertised continuously that the rave was fully 100% legal and council approved, but obviously this was a total and direct lie. There was a whisper of the rave being relocated at the Graffiti Hall of Fame, about 2km away.
So off we went to the next venue.. and waited for the organisers to get the key.. and waited for the sound and lighting equipment to arrive.. and waited for it to be set up. Finally it was all set up, and the music started. About 5 minutes later the first police car came past and saw what was happening. After 10 minutes or so another car came, and then another.. Within the next half an hour, around 20 more police cars and 50 or so police officers turned up to shut the venue down. The turned the music off, and tried to make all the ravers leave. But some people had the idea that if everyone sat down, then it would be a virtual impossibility for the police to remove them all.. so they screamed out for everyone to sit on the floor, and everyone did. It was quite hilarious – all the officers had a dazed and confused look on their faces not knowing what to do next. This lasted for half an hour, when I then decided to go home – I don’t know what actually happened after this, but I’m sure it would have been interesting.
As I never actually went inside the venues (except when a lot of people charged in at one point), I still have my non-refundable ticket – what a waste of 24 bucks that was! This gets a 1 out of 10 for the nights humour it provided me with (and the fact that the first venue *looked* good from the outside).
LATE NEWS: The party actually did continue, all the tonnes of police actually left! So a couple more points for this one.. a 3 out of 10. I heard the sound quality was pretty crap though.
Location: 225 Canterbury Rd, Canterbury
Date: 28th September, 1996
The closest rave to my home so far – only 5 mins drive. It was raining all night, and it didn’t turn out to be a very good night for me. The venue was a community hall type of place that didn’t look too bad. The crowd was quite young as it was the school holidays, and unfortunately it took a power failure to get the crowd going. Nobody moved until the lights all blacked out, then people started stomping on the ground, until when it finally started up again everyone cheered and the crowd was finally looking conscious again. The first couple of sets were not too good, a couple of hardcore sets which pleased some of the crowd. Then Nik Fish came on, and the music started pumping. The laser show was great with full colour lasers, and the floor was burning up. Unfortunately that was all I saw of the rave, because I got back to my car to find a window smashed in and some stuff stolen. And it was raining. Spent the rest of the night sorting out all the police biz and getting the car under cover. By the time I returned I had lost the mood. But from what I saw it looked like a pretty good party. Hooray Nik Fish.
Location: Church St, Auburn
Date: 19th October, 1996
Another community centre, and another rainy night. A big hall with loud sound. From what I can remember there was a pretty good laser show, and the music was great. The atmosphere was not too bad, considering it was a rainy night and cold and miserable outside. There were quite a few people here, probably since it was brought to us by the people who did Utopia (which the last one was wicked). There was a laser screen that was in use most of the night, the perfect thing to get that neck twisted. A nice little chill out room was at the front under the stage. Not a bad party, nothing special though.