We were amazed by “Attacks”, bamboozled by “Broadway”, captivated by “Candy” & delighted by “Disco”, just four in a season of WE Party events that filled our 2011 dancing boots brilliantly. But as 2012 dawned and our choice between “Safari” or Salvation loomed large, we were not quite prepared for the magnitude of magnificence we were to experience in the hands of WE, a party that marked the most phenomenal start to a new year that we can remember, but what made it so good?
There is no doubt that the so called Spanish Armada invasion of clubs has had a huge impact on the capital’s clubbing circuit & scene, Matinee very much leading the way for others to follow, Space securing successive seasonal showings, while Matinee really pushed Spain into the capital scene spotlight, holding sway over Sunday’s & then Saturday’s leaving British brands wavering in its wake. But when SuperMartXe very much took this super size Spanish style clubbing to the next level, even Matinee ended up playing second fiddle to its then new nemesis, the sparkling stage shows SuperMartXe’s strong point, that along with the gorgeous guys it used to attract, all which held the club, its promoter & its events in the highest regard. Yet, while all three made an indelible impression, they were all pretty much pushed into the shade by the landing in London that was the wonder of WE, a winter warmer of a launch proving one of the hottest tickets in town, even eclipsing the enormity of SuperMartXe, this new darling of the super size scene then going from strength to strength, scoring success not just here in London but across the globe, tours of its homeland Spain, to Brazil & Australia all highlights, while touch down’s in The States, as well as well as enriching European destinations including Paris & Rome look set to continue this scintillating success story.
So with WE very much in the ascendency and London having been compared as second only to its holy grail of a home in back in the Spanish capital, it is no surprise that the might of muscle of Madrid is thrown into the partying & production and the effects & the imagery when the WE wagon rolls into town, London even showcasing the brands new incarnations, the likes of “Attacks”, “Candy” & “Broadway” all examples of themes that have premiered here and then gone onto touring success elsewhere. But more than that, having joined forces with a capital clubbing corporation with the strength & size of The Orange Group, WE has found a fabulous partner to proliferate its parties, the established infrastructure that the former has in place, enabling the touring WE to show itself to its brilliant best, it being no surprise that throughout 2011, it truly captivated capacity crowds with its outstanding offer. And still dizzy from the delights of the “Disco” inspired first anniversary event in December, when the announcement that WE would be back on New Year’s Day, its “Safari” themed event switching from the usual slot to a t-dance style shindig, it was no surprise that it would prove yet another stunning showcase, a 3000 strong demonstrative delectation of dancing devotees deciding on WE as their dazzling destination.
So, while a good six weeks have passed since “Safari” played a most significant part in shaping what proved as the best start to a year we have ever had, the memories of its magical moments remain momentous in our minds now as when we made tracks for this towering treat, a pre-club liaison with close friends Steve & Celso seeing us chauffeured to the Coronet’s doors literally as the clock struck six, this supper time start not sitting well with us, not least that we were still in recovery mode from the breathtakingly brilliant Beyond just hours before. But with Aaron Elder welcoming us at the door, plus walking into a prepared yet unopened venue, we felt a little overwhelmed once again, our spot next to Mr Pitron in the Beyond D.J. booth while he was preparing for that storming set, to be repeated here at “Safari”, as our playing pal invited us up onto the stage to stand in the wings watching the master at work as he once again prepared to amaze his adorning audience with a soaring set to savour. With our select spot sorted, we took the opportunity to peek around the stage, the massive & magnificent LED displays firing up and flashing “Safari” style images that, even from the close vantage point looked stunning and with a myriad of activity going on around us, first Aaron Elder walking by, then Mauricio Ortiz pausing to say hello, while Mark (aka Edna) McKenzie was finalising touches to the stage decor, we couldn’t help but feel lucky to be in the spot we were.
Then, with a shrill & shout from across the auditorium stating simply “…DJ, music please…”, this “Safari” event was up & running, Mr Pitron swinging into action in his usual swinging style, we now also joined by Celso & fellow Brazilian Nilsson Junior, while having been served up VIP refreshments, the party couldn’t have started off on a better foot. But with the crowds beginning to assemble and the Cornet’s main space filling with dry ice & smoke, the team also decided to shroud the stage & LED displays which were still flashing furiously, Aaron & the WE crew reducing us to fits of hysterics as they attempted to pull the curtains around the playing Mr Pitron, just leaving a small slit for Steve to look through. Mind you, our hysterics were set to continue unabated as he selected one of our 2011 track greats, “Bitch Lady” have significant meaning as well as charting highly in our Y.E. rundown. Now we were in the groove, although from our privileged position it was difficult to see the developing crowd, the curtains blocking any view of the auditorium we had had before and just the occasional flashes of lights on bodies indicating that this “Safari” event was filling up pretty fast.
However, we certainly weren’t complaining about being aloof from the cavorting crowd, far from it, as a sequence of scintillating selections saw us & Steve smiling for ear to ear, his continual glances back towards us, evidence of the enthralling engagement we were engrossed in, the towering tunes he was tipping out of his box of musical tricks including a brilliant new version of “Miracle”, neatly followed by the brilliant “You Better”, a track which marked the surge of “Safari” emotions & tears eruptions that would continue virtually unabated for the next two or so hours. And the precision perfect Pitron plundering kept coming, further hard hitting & heavenly house hits, “Music In My Soul”, “You’ve Got The Love” & “Live Your Dreams” all tugging on our emotional strings superbly, Steve then upping the tempo more, we feeling the jungle drums beat in our WE “Safari” feet, the unexplainable feeling of complete euphoria that was sweeping over us sending us diving delightfully into yet another rollercoaster ride of rapture in our master’s magnificent musical hands. Then, when he momentarily stepped back from the DJ booth to spill the beans on a new release by the creators of the infamous “Track 3”, our euphoria & excitement reached fever pitch, this new tune which we now know as “Let You Go”, so appropriate to our actions of the time, we very much letting go, of our emotions, of our inhibitions & of our senses as we soaked up the splendour of this scorching “Safari” set from Steve, while engrossing ourselves in what was becoming one of the most epic experiences we have ad at WE or indeed any club in a long while.
But the night was going to get even better as Steve’s seventh savannah gear was selected for the final stint of his superb set, the storming selections still coming, first “Catch U” catching our emotions effectively, then an impromptu multi mixing moment thrilling us, while it was down to the amazing Avicii track “Levels” to send us soaring into the stratosphere, a tune that had been heavily criticised by a onetime close D.J. pal of ours (who could that be?!?!), but in Steve hands seemed simply spectacular, the crowd certainly reacting favourably, The Cornet’s main space alight with audacious action. However, the climax of this purple patch Pitron performance was still to come, although our excitement grew yet further when WE Madrid resident & all round delightful D.J./Producer, Carlos Gallardo arrived on stage, we being touched by his immediate recognition of us, even this to be topped when our man from Madrid decided to join us in an impromptu “Doing The Disco Matt” duck & dive right on the WE “Safari” stage in front of the colossal crowd, a purple patch moment indeed. Mind you, Steve hadn’t yet finished with his scintillating set, the Danny Verde remix of “You & I”, soon followed by the climax track for us, Mr Pitron turning towards us & raising three fingers in the air, this meaning just one thing, the towering “Track 3” & those vivacious Polina vocals that saw us go completely wild & Carlos once again joining in on our spinning frenzy.
So, with “Safari” hotter than a Southern African savannah and Mr Gallardo about to take to the decks, it was also time for the huge stage reveal, all the WE dancers from both Madrid & London in place and weekly rag photographers Chris Jepson & Rolf ready to shoot away, we also holding station on the stage as the anticipation was too absorbing to move. And the audiences appreciation once the curtains were fully drawn back was plain for all of us on stage to see, although it was only when we vacated our privileged position and headed into the thick of the action with our pal Mr Pitron, that we saw the full extent of the enormous & epic visuals. Indeed with the “Safari” themed images, we felt right at home, each one drawing us towards our South African roots, while finding our way towards Celso & The Brazilian bunch was a negotiation that proved trickier than tackling our home town of Johannesburg in rush hour, The Coronet surely busier than ever before and including pre WE times too. But we were intent on grabbing some refreshments & getting up onto the VIP balcony, Naomi grabbing our attention as we ascended the stairs & then Aaron Elder & many of The Orange group top brass also in attendance, the view of the stage & the developing dream of a display from the dancers & those impressive images all the more magnificent. And Carlos was definitely injecting some Spanish sounds to this “Safari” themed event, his tribal tunes very much in key with the African slant, while there were vocal infusions too, Mr Gallardo even selecting what we recognised where two Pitron picks, Steve looking straight at us as we did, our reply simply stating that “…imitation is the highest form of flattery…”.
With a whole host of familiar faces now commanding our attention, first the marvellous Minty, quickly followed by Orange man main Mr Marsh, we were also delighted to see Delice boys Anthony & Diego who had made the trip over for a spot of London partying as well as promoting their spring Delice Dream festival in Spain. But with plenty more familiar faces around, including Pabs, James, Ben & Lexi, it seemed the world & his wife hand landed on this “Safari” splendour, the jungle drums beating about Salvation, a party we had planned to visit too, but being so engrossed in WE as well as needing to be by our master’s side, not least given some of the trauma & tears of the last few hours, we were going nowhere, rather succumbing to this sensational “Safari” showing with every passing magical moment. And back down in the thick of the main room action, yet more floods of familiar faces presented themselves, among them the lovely Luis, as well as our soon to be disposed male version of Alyson, a Brazilian brute of a boy that had short of terrified us in Profile Bar a couple of days earlier, Steve very much stoking the situation as usual, but all making for a handful of hilarious moments.
However, we were doing our best to keep an eye on the action on the stage, a rather plump go-go getting ours & our pals attention, he definitely looking a tad out of trim & moving quite precariously, although him apart, the dancers & their customers were among some of the best we have seen, while we continued to be amazed by the “Safari” visuals & effects, the laser lighting also equally as impressive, the atmosphere at this WE New Year event simply spectacular. And Carlos was now deep into his set showing, a brilliant blend of Spanish tech & tribal house intertwined with upfront vocal house which was clearly keeping the capacity crowd entertained, even reports coming in that the Room Service crew in the second space upstairs were sporting a packed out place, both Kris Di Angelis & Fat Tony doing Jodie Harsh & this boutique bounty very proud. But, with an eye on our clock and our next escapade to As One calling, plus with our pals Steve & Celso looking to retire, we managed to squeeze in one more visit to the VIP balcony, both to congratulate Aaron & his terrific team for an exceptional event, as well as make our final social rounds before retreating into the post Coronet calm & home to recharge our batteries for the awaiting As One outing.
So, it pretty much goes without saying that we were immensely impressed with this latest WE event, “Safari” exceeding our expectations by a country mile, the visuals some of the best we have seen anytime & anywhere, while the stage dancers , effects & lighting added to the awesome atmosphere that was evident from start to finish. But while all this made WE “Safari” superb, what made it truly spectacular was being on that select stage spot, a privileged position where we could savour every single second of a simply scintillating Steve Pitron set & performance, our prolific pal playing to the extent of our emotions so effectively that we were continually left breathless in admiration. Then there were those magical Carlos Gallardo moments, the hilarious happening & the flock of familiar faces that, when combined with those towering first three hours in our masters magnificent hands, made for the best WE party we have been to, but moreover the best start to a New year that we can remember, probably in our lifetime. So, reflecting on this extraordinarily exceptional event, “Safari” in our estimation shot higher into the sky than the largest African Savannah plain tree branches that soar above the reach of the tallest of giraffe’s, a prolific & pulsating party that has set the standard for future WE’s to come, raising the bar brilliantly & proving to be every bit the “Incredible African Inspired Adventure” we had hoped for, meaning that this is one WE we will savour for a very long time to come. (DISCO MATT)