Last Saturday marked the first time the worldwide dance event known as Sensation touched down on Canadian soil, tearing apart the Rogers Centre in downtown Toronto. Best described as a Cirque du Soleil-esque spectacle combined with DJs, Sensation is a celebration of electronic dance music culture. Part rave and part circus, this wasn’t your typical Saturday night show. It was a literal, visual, and auditory sensation.
To those of you unfamiliar with Sensation, here’s a little backstory: Originating in 2000 in the Netherlands at the Amsterdam Arena, Sensation has grown into a series of European events and is now (finally) starting a North American tour. Despite the hefty $150 ticket price, the Toronto stop was the third largest Sensation in history, packing 25,000+ people into a proverbial “Ocean of White.” Playing off this theme, the Rogers Centre was covered from floor to ceiling in an ocean motif–hovering jellyfish, dancing multicolored fountains, mermaids, and bubble dancers were everywhere.
The first performer to take center stage was Mr. White, a Sensation mainstay who was covered head to toe with (you guessed it) white, including face paint. After getting the crowd amped up, a thundering voice came over the speakers. Amidst blinding flashes of light, glowing beach balls dropped from the ceiling and mermaids took the stage. The pyrotechnics were on-point throughout the night, and the light show was truly world-class. At times, you couldn’t help but stare up at the visual feast; there was so much going on. Trapeze artists, pyro wheels, confetti, and CO2-spewing volcanoes made for an unforgettable experience. Club owners take note: This is how you throw a party.
The big names of the night, Fedde le Grand and Eric Prydz, both put on impressive performances that have them poised to make the leap from EDM superstars into mainstream recognition á la David Guetta or Tiesto. Fedde took the stage, and pyro-waves exploded around him as he brought the roof down with his signature big-room beats like Metrum, Sparks, and Rockin’ N’ Rollin’. Prydz was arguably the highlight of the night, performing his progressive classics Every Day, 2night, and a phenomenal mashup* of his own Cirez D production On Off with Green Velvet & Harvad Bass‘ Lazer Beams, complete with a massive lazer beam light show unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
At almost 2 a.m., just when you thought the party was over, a stream of flame jets and water fountains exploded into the air, signaling the last performer of the night, Sweden’s own Otto Knows. Dropping a series of big-room progressive tracks, including a mashup of his own song Million Voices, the young producer sent Canadians home with smiles on their faces.
At this point, there is no denying the popularity and power of electronic music. Was an event of this magnitude even feasible three years ago in Canada? This is the start of yet another huge summer for dance music in Toronto, as Toronto will play host to the second annual renditions of both Digital Dreams Festival and VELD Music Festival.
All photos curtesy of the official Sensation website.
* Credit to Daniel Smalls for providing an edit for our site.