Review: Bal en Blanc 16

For those who read my past review on ASOT 450, you’ll remember that the event took place on April 1st 2010. Bal en Blanc was no more than 3 days later, on April 4th, in Montreal. It took place at the Palais des Congrès, like every year. It took place on Easter Sunday, like every year. And like every year, there were easily 15 000 beautiful people, all dressed in white, all ready to party.

Only this year, it happens to be my best trance rave experience EVER. There’s a million reasons, and drugs are not one of them. I’ll only talk about the Trance side, since I did not take a single step in the House room !

The DJs: Wizz & Insomnia for the opening, Infected Mushroom (live), Sander van Doorn, Ferry Corsten, Markus Schulz, Sied van Riel. Being pretty tired from ASOT 450, I had to shorten my night in order to last until the end. Skipping Wizz and Insomnia, I did not make it for Infected Mushrooms neither, which were supposedly insane ! I wasn’t surprised to hear that, having seen them a few years back. For those who haven’t, it’s definitely something you want to experience, playing the instruments live really messes with your head.

I get there around 1am, and I FINALLY get to see the legendary Sander van Doorn, after having had to pass on 2 or 3 occasions in the past. He was great to say the least, and loyal to his reputation, he dropped some real heavy beats, mixing them to happy uplifting trance before going back to some crazy progressive house. Strange? He’s probably the only DJ in the world to mix different styles of electronic music this well. Versatility to its best. Now, before going crazy over the next sentence, keep in mind what I said earlier, about Bal en Blanc being the best trance rave I have ever been to. Sander’s set was probably the worse of the night (excluding Wizz/Insomnia and Infected Mushroom). It was amazing, here’s a youtube clip I found !

Next up was Coldplay. I meant… Ferry Corsten. It was the 4th time I have seen him, and I still haven’t had enough. A lot more emotional that usual, his set consisted mostly of tracks from his new compilation CD, ‘Once Upon A Night’, mixed with classics such as Made of Love, Radio Crash, L.E.F, etc. One of the biggest emotional highs of the night was when he dropped The Airstatic – Worldwide, the Anton Firtich remix, but THE orgasm came without a doubt along with Maarten de Jong’s bootleg of Coldplay – The Scientist. Amazing build-up, even better breakdown. Although I was  tripping out of my mind, I could tell that the other white shirts in the trance room were as happy as me. It was like a big 10000 people family was living the same dream. Definitely a moment I’ll remember for the rest of my life ! I give it the 3rd best set of the night, and here is a video of the Scientist bootleg… unfortunately, not from Bal en Blanc. I guess people were enjoying it too much and didn’t want to waste the moment by taking the camera out.

Then followed Markus Schulz. It was the 3rd time I’ve seen him, not because I wanted to, but simply because he was on the same lineup as other DJs I wanted to see. Just like I was planning to step out of Simon Patterson’s set @ ASOT, I was planning to go check out Ana Paula in the house room instead or Markus.  But again, for some subconscious retarded reason, I didn’t. I stayed, and I fucking loved it. Take Sander van Doorn’s set, add the deepest/darkest trance to it and you get Markus. Perfect recipe after Ferry’s trip to heaven, nothing better than a trip to hell ! ‘Fusion’, ‘The New World’ and ‘Do You Dream’ were definitely key moments in his set. Mainstream by bits, but… good mainstream. Ranked second best set of the night !

Last, but not least, Sied van Riel. Having already given up #4, 3 and 2, you figured that I enjoyed Sied’s set more than any other. It was the first time I ever saw him live and I expected something good. It wasn’t good, it was orgasmic. While everyone was looking left and right to find that extra boost of energy, SvR shoved it in our faces at 10am, dropping Marcel Woods’ ‘The Bottle’ as an opener. I literally have no words to describe his set, he amazed the few people that were still standing from the beginning of his set until the end. Very deep and hard trance, but relaxing at the same time. SvR wanted to mess with our minds and he did ! There’s only few DJs that have both production and DJing skills, and Sied has it all. He’s been around for a while now but only became popular recently. Watch out cuz he’s going for the top ! Key moments of the set: ‘The Bottle’, ‘Fluidum’, ‘My Mind is With You’, ‘Safe’, ‘2099’… Here’s the best video I could find !

Another reason Bal en Blanc was so epic: the Godskitchen Boombox. Special effects have never been so real: 16 meters wide, 8m high and 6m deep. This is THE 3D experience, and it came to North-America for the first time at Bal en Blanc, in Montreal. Needless to say that this was a HUGE improvement compared to last year’s simple stage + 2d ghetto back-screen. Props to PlayGround Productions for drastically improving the sound quality as well !

I’m really out of imagination here so I’ll leave you with 4 simple links leading to 10hours or epic-ness: The livesets from BeB, big thanks to for broadcasting this event live, which made the organisers record the sets ! Enjoy !

Live Sets: Sander van Doorn | Ferry Corsten | Markus Schulz | Sied van Riel