Event Review: PopNYE 12.31.2012 – Above & Beyond, Dash Berlin, Ferry Corsten
Until a week ago, I had always considered New Years Eve the most overrated night of the year. Year after year of expensive open bars and over-crowded house parties had soured my excitement for end of year celebrations and I was skeptical whether I would ever find out the proper way to ring in the New Year. But when I heard about the PopNYE show at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA, I had a feeling this year would be different. Boasting a massive trance lineup that included W&W, Above & Beyond, Andy Moor b2b Lange, Dash Berlin, Ferry Corsten and live performances by Betsie Larkin, there was little chance this show was going to be like the disappointing NYE’s I had experienced in the past.
Traveling to and from Oracle Arena was easy thanks to the Bay Area BART train, and entering the arena was relatively hassle free. I arrived around 7 pm and I was able to catch the end of W&W’s set. Despite arriving relatively early, I was disappointed to find out that the fire marshal had cut off floor access at 5:30, a mere thirty minutes after the show opened. Despite having to remain in the seats, I still really enjoyed the show (from almost every possible angle). It was nice to take the intermittent seat and the only way to enjoy the full visual splendor of the stage was from the elevation of the seats.
While all of the performances were amazing and each DJ brought their own different intensity, Above & Beyond’s set was the best of the evening. I can never hear too many tracks from their Group Therapy album and I feel they have an incredible ear for new hits. The confetti hurricane during Sun & Moon may have been the visual highlight of the night and it reminded me exactly why these guys have surpassed all of the other greats to become my favorite trance group. After melodic anthem trance from A&B, Dash Berlin turned up the intensity from the start and showed the West Coast crowd why he is the king of the “Dash Up.”
Finally, Ferry Corsten closed out the incredible evening by playing a combination of his original tracks and recently released progressive house hits. As a huge fan of his most recent album, WKND, I was happy to hear him play so many tracks from this underrated album. The final track I heard Ferry play before leaving was “Not Coming Down” which included a live performance by Betsie Larkin. She gave an incredible performance and I would like to see more DJs incorporate live vocalists into their shows. Overall PopNYE provided an incredible visual and auditory experience and I think I may have found the cure for New Years Eve.