AND HERE for the first time the Trance Zone.
A gasper, I tell you. Awe inspiring. Like reaching Mount Aoraki's summit, the unhindered horizon, its sheer scale terrific. Set into a natural amphitheatre the size of a football field, it was collared on three sides by the same set of slick, tangled trees that towered.
Inside, creating a ring, I counted ten sideways blue funnels - each at least twenty feet high, half again as deep - and each filled to overflowing with speaker stacks.
Ten of these.
Deep at the back was a raised DJ platform, a blue headstone arch flanked on either side by wall-sized screens, and in the zone itself, clusters of green and blue columns, some taller than the funnels, topped by closed multi-coloured flowers or stacked pink planets.
And all above a gleaming green field that looked in severe need of several thousand people jumping up and down on it.
It was beyond all expectation, and in happy admiration we stood on its edge awhile, boisterously discussing which DJs we championed and where the best speaker crossover points were - those sound oases of the dance floor - and generally just soaking in the atmosphere,
until, just as we were about to leave, had just started to turn away, were wet and dripping and intent on hot beverages - coffee? Yeah, yeah, coffee - we were stunned still and silent by a sudden sonic boom that came crashing, boiling and thrashing, flailing towards us, cacophonous arms, huge. A tsunami of sound. A thunderclap collapsing.
It roared around us, penetrated through us, shook us up and set us vibrating for a good half minute or so.
It was an impossiblity.
"What . . . the hell . . . was that?" I cried as the sound faded away, running down and away like an expiring earthquake.
"That, my boy," said Darius with a grin, "is what they call a Trance Zone sound check."
I heard someone mutter, "Fuck me."
It was probably me.
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