Bud Light Presents SENSATION @ Rogers Centre, Toronto – June 1, 2013
Reviewed by Gosia Mrugala
Photos by Jason Kwan
sen•sa•tion [sen-SEY-shuh-n] noun
• the operation or function of the senses; perception or awareness of stimuli through the senses.
• a mental feeling, especially a state of excited feeling.
It was an invasion. Seriously, for a while you couldn’t walk or drive around Toronto, listen to the radio or even watch TV without seeing an ad for the Canadian inaugural of Sensation White.
Founded in the Netherlands and organized by promoter ID&T, Sensation is a massive indoor EDM event inspired by the P-Man and Dangerous Dave. When it originated, back in 2000-2001, there was just a single edition, but since then it has now been divided into two separate events: Sensation Black and Sensation White. The idea was to differentiate the shows musically: Sensation Black focuses on the darker sounds of hardstyle and hardcore, while Sensation White is a celebration of house music. (You can find plenty more information HERE.)
This past February, it was announced that Sensation would make its Canadian debut, presented by Bud Light Canada. The date: Saturday June 1. The place: Toronto’s Rogers Centre.
Come early Saturday evening, you could see excited-looking people dressed in white all over downtown Toronto, heading for the city’s famous domed stadium. The party, with its “ocean of white” theme, had been years in the making — and oh, what a night it was! Every element was exquisitely conceived: the waterworks and fireworks, the scantily-clad beauties on stage, and — of course — the lineup of amazing artists. From first to last, Sensation went beyond our wildest expectations, fantasies and dreams.
The night began with a set from the enigmatic Mr. White, who also serves as Sensation’s host. With his deep house grooves, he did a stupendous job of hyping up the crowd as it began to flood onto the dance floor. Mr. White was followed by Dutch DJ 2000 and One (aka Dylan Hermelijn), who further set the tone with his impressive electro dance tracks. 2000 and One’s set really typified the whole evening: an incredible connection between the artists and crowd. The DJs were the puppeteers; we were the puppets.
Next up: Dutch duo Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano brought their funky house and tribal sound to the stage. Swedish House Mafia’s Axwell was quoted last year as saying “If there were a Dutch version of Swedish House Mafia, it would be Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano.” And on the basis of this duo’s incredible sound and awe-inspiring performance, I’d have to agree. I haven’t experiencing anything like it since … well, since I saw Swedish House Mafia at the Rogers Centre earlier this year. CHECK OUT bpm:tv’s WEB EXCLUSIVE interview with Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano HERE.
The Dutch invasion continued with Fedde le Grand, whose mind-blowing performance drove the crowd absolutely wild. I’m ashamed to admit this was the first time I’d seen this bpm:tv Hot 20 mainstay live, and I’m kicking myself for that, because … well, WOW!
Then came one of the night’s most anticipated moments: a rare Canadian appearance by Swedish legend Eric Prydz (a.k.a. Pryda, Cirez D, Sheridan, Moo, AxEr, A&P Project, Hardform, Dukes of Sluca, Groove System …) The vibe: licentious! Prydz played some new tracks, then stole my heart by dropping some classics! The set peaked with the kaleidoscopic “Lazer Beams” by Green Velvet & Harvard Bass: the lights synched up perfectly with the track’s dirty, underground-style rhythms, and my senses politely parted way with all conscious control. Or to put it another way: HOT DAMN DIGGIDY!
I couldn’t think of a better way to end the night than with a set by Sweden’s Otto Knows. This was a triumphant return to Toronto by the Scandinavian wunderkind, who was here in the winter as part of Swedish House Mafia’s sold-out farewell tour. Fittingly, he finished the night with SHM’s anthem “Don’t You Worry Child.”
And that was that, as they say. At the risk of indulging in hyperbole, Sensation White was the best event of its kind I have ever attended. The work that went into it warrants a standing ovation — and kudos, obviously, to the Bud Light team and Live Nation. Let’s hope that Sensation’s Canadian debut is the beginning of a long tradition.