White Wonderland was the largest all white dress code party to happen in America and it was by all definitions a success. The venue was an almost five acre room at the Anaheim Convention center with a stage set up in the middle, complete with VIP decks flanking the sides, similar to stages at the NOS Event Center. There was so much extra room around the stage that we experienced no more crowd congestion around the sides than if the stage had been in the middle of an empty field. The venue also allowed for a lounge area, eight bars including an absinthe bar, several food vendors including Katsuya Sushi, and large bathrooms at all four corners that were constantly being kept clean. Lines for alcohol, food, and coat check appeared to always be reasonable. We also applaud the intricate lighting apparatus Insomniac hung over the length of the dance floor. It made it much easier to find your group, as well as providing lights, lasers, foam based snow, and contortionist trapeze artist hanging from ribbons. The snow truly fulfilled the promise of a White Wonderland – as if the white sea of dancers hadn’t done that already. Read about the full experience after the jump!
We arrived thirty minutes after opening at 7:30 on Saturday and waited less than ten minutes, including a stop at will call. Pasquale tweeted at about ten thirty that he was shifting more staff to the entry lines to speed up the process, but at no point was it anything like the multiple hours people got stuck waiting outside of TAO last year. Additionally, the lines were actually inside the venue, so it no doubt helped that people waiting in line could hear the music and stay warm. It is unfortunate that news about White Wonderland was dominated by Kaskade missing his set because the rest of the evening was executed beautifully. Kaskade’s plane was unable to land at John Wayne Airport so he had to cancel his set, as did Diplo across town at TAO.
We were obviously disappointed to hear that Kaskade would not be appearing; everyone was. It was great to see everyone dancing to Trent Cantrelle’s extended set anyways and not letting it ruin their night. The environment really kept everyone cheery and full of joy. Dada Life did their best to make it up to us by coming out early and dropping a world class set, opening with “Kick Out The Epic Motherfucker.” Soon after they came out, Insomniac reports that they turned the speakers all the way up to 110dB and the night was non-stop madness from that point on. I heard several people comparing it to the historic EDC 2010 afterwards, but this time they had dancers in white banana suits. Their mashup of SHM’s “One” vs. “Cookies With A Smile” is the type of brilliance that makes their live sets so enjoyable. My personal favorite moment of the night was the crowd screaming “Big Bad Wolf” back at Dada while they played with their champagne.
The evening was full of new music. Both Dada Life and Benny Benassi dropped mashups of Antidote. Benassi also performed his new track, “Control Is An Illusion,” video below. Cinema was one of the most memorable songs of the night and had what seemed like the entire crowd singing along. Just before midnight Benny played a heavily mixed mashup of his 2007 hit “Satisfaction” crossed with the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “California.” Both Benassi and Paul van Dyk were onstage for the countdown. Paul van Dyk played a pretty bass heavy set compared to when we saw him at Lovefest earlier this year. The highlight of his set for us was his remix of “Starlight” by Muse.
Saturday did not seem crowded at all until we showed up on Sunday. The crowd occupied almost the same amount of space, but we felt like VIP because there were no lines for bathrooms or alcohol all night. The elongated design of the dance floor meant that it worked beautifully at both capacities. Thomas Gold shined magnificently as he tore the floor apart from the first song he played. The energy was so immense, it was practically impossible to stand still at any moment. Between the perfect transitions and epic bootleg mixes (see below), Gold made the icing that much sweeter. We are so happy to have seen him again, especially after witnessing one of his best nights at last year’s Escape From Wonderland event.
Another treat was being able to watch the dynamic duo consisting of Angello’s brother AN21 and bromancer Max Vangeli. These guys really get into the groove, and when they do, magic happens. You can tell how much fun they are having, constantly moving with the beat while smiling and communicating with one another. A big highlight of their set (for me) was hearing them drop Third Party’s upcoming track “Feel.” Check out the video below.
Towards the end of the night Steve Angelo asked everyone to sit on the floor, and then jump back up into dancing in unison. This was something everyone truly enjoyed, along with the killer set he played to close out the night.
2011 was an amazing year for EDM. You’ve done us proud.
This is our first round of videos for our new YouTube Channel. Click here to see more videos from White Wonderland and other events.