This last past weekend, I got on a flight to Madrid, Spain, which is where one of Europe’s biggest dance events, Sensation White, took place. For those not in the know, this is a major event that originated in the Netherlands in 2000, and which, for five years, was held exclusively for the people in Amsterdam. Over the years, the Sensation White phenomenon gained proportions, opening to a more general public across Europe and, in time, turning from Sensation White to simply Sensation. Nowadays, people in Germany, Australia, Chile, Belgium, Hungary, Russia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Spain, Poland, Denmark and, obviously, the Netherlands, can hardly wait for that one day of the year to arrive, when Sensation reaches one city from their countries.
This year was the first time that Sensation was hosted by the capital of Spain and the country’s largest city, Madrid. It was also the first time I had to travel by air to a country that I had never visited before. However, no matter how many “firsts” I had to experience, none could possibly match the anticipation of being about to attend an event that could potentially leave me “marked” for the rest of my life.
I arrived in Madrid on the day of the show, November 22, with only hours before having to line up at the entrance of Madrid’s Palacio de Deportes, which is where the event took place. Just before the show, I found out that the time schedule had been changed after the Municipality of Spain decided the show must close at 03h00 on Sunday, November 23. Initially supposed to take place between the hours of 23 and 07, upon complying with the request of the Madrid officials, Sensation began at 20h30. Apparently, the decision might have been prompted by the death of an 18-year-old student in a club from Madrid, approximately one week before Sensation.
Together with a friend, I arrived at one of the entrances of the “Palacio de Deportes,” roughly about one hour before the designated time for kick-off. Sadly, there weren’t enough entrances to grant the mass of people attending access to the venue before the start and, as it happened, we missed a big part of Erick E’s set. Still, when we got in, we did so just in the nick of time, as Erick E was wrapping up, if memory is not playing tricks on me, with the theme from the “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes. This was probably the first time that evening that the entire audience sang along with the DJ.
Right after Erick E, Abel Ramos made his entrance. There was a short Outro/Intro moment between the DJs, which was basically meant to guide the audience on a journey of house music.
Although I had a good time throughout the entire show, I must honestly admit that the performances of Martin Solveig and Sebastian Ingrosso were probably the most impressive. Martin Solveig took the stage after Abel Ramos, shouting his name to the crowd, and promising another true moment of Sensation to be had – and so it was, as he elegantly delivered it with his mix set, which lasted approximately 60 minutes. With a combination of good music and a breathtaking show of lights and lasers, Martin Solveig worked up the crowd, in preparation for the upcoming DJs.
After Martin Solveig's performance, the show continued with the anticipated Megamix, a 30-minute set of the latest dance and electronic tunes. Next up, it was Derrick May's turn to lead the crowd into a deeper state of trance, thus preparing them for what I think was the best performance of the night. The Swede Sebastian Ingrosso came up after Derrick May, literally ushering in a whole new class of entertainment.
From what I saw that night, the lines above are clearly not an overstatement, as Ingrosso's set was probably the one that "rocked the house" the hardest, if you will. Think of it that way – the best proof in this sense would be that, while he was up there, I saw that the people around me were enjoying the music more than they had earlier that same night. Most certainly, Ingrosso sensed this and, at one point in the live mix, he let the crowd sing A Capella a part of a song from it.
The task of wrapping up the show, following Sebastian Ingrosso's live mix, fell on Sander Van Doorn, a DJ that is currently placed at 15 in DJ Mag's top DJ chart. And wrap it up he did, since, although this was the last mix of the night, people were still enjoying themselves as if it the night had just begun.
To conclude what could definitely turn into a very long story, Sensation in Madrid was truly an experience to remember and cherish. Given that the show was sold out, assuming that the people in Madrid will be waiting for next year's show with anticipation is probably not at all far-fetched. Of course I enjoyed it but, at the same time, I also noticed that so did everybody else. As a matter of fact, believe it or not, an old couple, probably in their mid 60s or so, was also there, close to me, having the time of their lives. The perspective from where I was standing was that, on that single night, there was no financial crisis, no international tensions, nor any other issues to speak of – just music. Because, in the end, having fun at such an event is only about that and nothing more.
Saying I really, truly enjoyed my first Sensation experience would probably be stating the obvious at this point. This said, I’m already thinking of the next Sensation party, which might just take place in Amsterdam where it all began. See you there.