Last week for New Year’s Eve, several of us from Your EDM made our way to the Anaheim Convention Center for Insomniac Events’ White Wonderland festival. The star studded lineup of Sebastian Ingrosso, Above & Beyond, Bingo Players, Tritonal, Hardwell, and more was enough to sell out the festival the day of the event, and the production of the event truly transformed the space into a wonderland.
We we arrived about 20 minutes into Hardwell‘s set and quickly situated ourselves at the Hallow Cathedral. I had worried Hardwell‘s set would be eerily similar to his Essential Mix, but that did not seem to be the case. Aside from that Linkin Park bootleg he plays that I loathe, I really dug his set and was reminded just why Hardwell is becoming so increasingly popular. For the most part he kept the energy level turned all the way up and the crowd was loving it, despite his early set time. Fairly early into his set he dropped the off the wall collaboration with Showtek, How We Do, which is a surefire way to get any party started, especially when there are dozens of lazers shooting every which way across the room. The crowd also ate up his upcoming ID with Tiesto (Atlanta?), as well as their classic Zero 76. He also showed support to fellow Dutchman Chuckie, dropping Make Some Noise and mashing up Who Is Ready To Jump? with Tom Fall‘s electro banger iROK. There also seemed to be a couple ID tracks hidden throughout his set as well, so keep your eyes peeled for any new official previews he might play out in his radio show.
Bingo Players‘ set was unfortunately cut 20 minutes short because of overcrowding at the Hallow Cathedral, but that did not stop them from throwing down a banger filled set once they took the decks. Albeit a bit of a predictable track selection they threw in some choice bootlegs to keep things interesting. They opened things up with Mode with the Lil Jon Put Your Hands Up acapella before soon diving into their Cry vs Make Some Noise and Make The Crowd Go vs. Black & Yellow mashups. Showtek & Justin Prime‘s Cannonball was a choice way to wind down the set, but the track that got the crowd rocking the hardest out of their entire arsenal was Rattle.
I would have to hand the honor of my favorite set of the night to Above & Beyond, however. After having been told by countless fans that seeing them live is akin to a life-changing experience, I knew I had to catch their entire set this New Year’s Eve on the Crystal Temple stage. Although the Hallow Cathedral might have had the bigger crowd, I personally thought the sound was better at the Crystal Temple stage and I was loving every second of the trance legends’ set. Admittedly, I don’t know too many Above & Beyond tracks, but I was able to recognize Alchemy, A Thing Called Love, Home, and of course, Sun & Moon. The way they are able to control the energy in the room is quite impressive; their interaction with their fans goes beyond much of what I’ve seen before as at several points they were typing out messages right up on stage. Their blend of trouse and trance was a perfect way to wind down the night.
Aside from an overcrowding issue that closed off the main stage during Madeon‘s set, White Wonderland was a great success in my book. Having attended both this and last years’ festivals, I can say that they reconciled many issues attendees voiced last year and definitely stepped things up when it came to the overall production of the event.
Although I didn’t catch as much of his set as I would have liked at the festival, I re-listened to Darin Epsilon‘s set from the night and am kicking myself for not staking out for the whole thing. If you’re a fan of deep, awesome progressive house similar to Eric Prydz then this set is a must. Grab the free download below.