Since the year 2000, Sensation has been a leading pioneer in high-end EDM productions. In the subsequent years, it's popularity has risen exponentially; combining stellar execution with imaginative, detailed themes. Sensation consistently provides its patrons with unforgettable memories and has earned a solid reputation in the niche market. 2012 was the first year Sensation hosted it's legendary party in the US, and there could be only one location; New York City. Initially a two day event, in 2012 both nights presented a different lineup of 4 guest DJ's and their Resident, Mr. White. This year Sensation returned featuring only one night with Mr. White and 3 guests, but added a 30 minute Sensation production feature titled "The Mix”, while expanding its reach to 3 other popular party cities around the US. Even with the steep face ticket value of $175 and a strict white dress code, this party has grown in size, and drew thousands of joyful clubbers to Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NY.
Sensation invests heavily in their audio-visual production, using varying techniques to create a sense of total immersion. This year's theme for production was an "Ocean of White". Patrons were taken on an imaginative musical tour of the layers of the ocean; as the water got deeper and darker, so did the beats. Utilizing the all-white clad patrons as a canvas for projecting a detailed assortment of lights simulated the feeling of being underwater. The choreography and pyrotechnics involved in the show were very well synchronized with the energy of the music, lending to the overall feel of the experience. Intricate lighting setups shaped like Jellyfish hung from the ceiling, and bubble-shaped projections surrounded the rotating, circular DJ booth that ensured that everyone got a front and center view.
Having attended Saturday of Sensation 2012, I was eagerly awaiting its return to NYC this year. Last year's performance featured an amazing variety of lasers, dancing, and acrobatics, along with a ceiling full of massive undulating light globes and the familiar revolving lotus DJ stage at the center of the stadium. Each of the four guest Djs contributed a unique element to the progression of music throughout the night, concluding with a stellar performance by Mark Knight who lead off with a sample of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" followed by his original “Alright” and the classic “Rocker” by Alter Ego. Needless to say he kept the crowd moving hard to the end.
This year, Resident Mr. White once again began the night with a spectacular opening ceremony and some soulful house. It was followed up with a tech heavy set by Nic Fanciulli, another Sensation 2012 NYC veteran. Though having only heard his set from last year via mp3, his set this year felt much more deliberate and organized in its progression and build up of energy. We travelled deeper into the evening with Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano, who played a well paced version of their traditional big room set, concluding with some of their well known favorites including a #FuckRealLife crew favorite: their driving remix of Tiesto's Lethal Industry. Although nothing new for me, their set was the perfect transition from the light friendly surface waters to the murkier depths below, from dance to rage.
We ended our evening in a dark, dirty abyss with Fedde LeGrand, who delivered big room bangers like Jewelz and Scott Sparks’ ‘White Sun’ and ‘Flashbang’ to a perfectly built up peak hour dance floor. The energy from the crowd was undeniable as Fedde would tease us up and almost out of the dark, just to snag us by the ankle and drag us under again with his signature filth. The auditory experience of getting this delivered through the thunderous high-quality sound Sensation brings to the already acoustically ideal Barclays Center ensured this set an easy spot in my top ten sets of the year.
Overall, my expectations were surpassed; my only real issue being the lack of access to the floor- many patrons were denied access, myself included. I waited the better part of an hour last year to get down to the floor and it was worth every minute. I was surprised to find that instead of aleviating the problem this year, it was only exacerbated by the reduction of 3 access points to one and poor crowd management by the staff. Despite the special limitations, the show was no less impressive from the stands. To be honest, once I was inside, I didn’t leave for anything simply because I didn’t want to miss one second of what was happening. If you missed it this year, start saving your pennies-you don’t want to miss it next year. I know I won’t.
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