Event: Thunderdome XV Years
Location: Amsterdam RAI, The Netherlands
Date: 15-12-2007

Reporter: João Dias (5th Raider)
Age: 26
Land of origin: Portugal
Date of report: 20-12-2007

First a little intro…

This was probably the most awaited event of the year, if not of many years!!! Many expectations and myths surrounded this event, from the line up to the location and date. At first, this event was to be made in the Jaarbeurs Utrecht, like in previous editions... the date was to be December the 1st. After some months, the flyer and final location changed to Amsterdam RAI (like in Thunderdome a Decade), and the date to 15th December. Some people did not like this, since for the dutch, Utretch is "neutral" football territory, while Amsterdam RAI is not. However, ID&T tough Amsterdam RAI would serve better for the comemoration of a jubileum of 15 years, like 5 years before.

 

 

With the date and location set up it was time to buy the tickets…Unfourtunately for many, 1 week before the event, it was 100% sold out, from online to local ticketshops. Irfan van Ewijk was very kind and offered me backstage entrance (Thanks! You rule my friend!), so I had the priviledge of visiting a bit more of Thunderdome and meeting the artists. I could bring my 2 portuguese friends (Ricardo and Troncão), altough they had bought their tickets already... and so, we travelled to Amsterdam together - like with me, this was a dream come true for them. For many years we wanted to go to a Thunderdome.

 

Hanging out in Amsterdam, we had an afternoon to spend before the event... We visited MidTown, where we were one of the first to see the new Thunderdome vinyl.

 

When the time arrived, we headed to Amsterdam RAI by metro, which was already filled with gabbers at 21h. We got a glimpse of the tower next to the RAI, where the freezing temperature was shown, and also ID&T's new logo. In the way to the RAI, tons of party people, including Spanish and Italians, which like us, were already in the mood for the event. It's amazing how Thunderdome brings people from all over the world together for Hardcore.

 

 

I headed to the backstage entrance, which was quite a long way from the main entrance. I was finally about to enter the legendary Thunderdome!

 

Alright now here we go!...

 

There were some friendly ladies at the reception of the artists, guests, VIP and other staff, who told us to wait a little bit. After a while, we could finally enter Thunderdome... We were given the backstage purple wristband, the Thunderdome flyer, the event booklet for guidance, and the new Thundermagazine.

 

Almost getting my purple backstage wristband...

 

Ok, we got inside! The first impression was the place was huge! Since it was still 21h30, there was no one around except staff and some guests... the location looked even bigger. Sound was being tested, and so were some lights. We immediately saw the huge wizard, several meters tall... this was the Past area. Impressive!

 

The Past area before the start of the event.

 

We headed to the main hall, and then to the Present area: the Thundercage used for Thunderdome 2006 was there. This area seemed smaller and a little bit "in between" the others, but it was impressive still. Next we followed through a huge corridor until a large hall where one could eat, drink and hang out... and use a carousel! Next was the Future Hall. At this moment I tough the Past would be the largest one, so I had no ideia what to expect...

 

Before and during the event... a "small" difference!

 

The Future Hall was simply brutal! Larger than a football field, with good decorations and a nice stage. At this time, the stage was partially hidden, so it seemed below average to me (was I wrong!!!!). There were tons of sets of speakers hanging from the ceiling: promising!

 

The Future Hall at the very beginning of Thunderdome, still very empty...

 

We headed back to the main corridor straight to the merchandise stand. I can proudly say a portuguese was the first Thunderdome Merchandise stand buyer of this event! :) We got tons of nice items, shirts, jackets, lighters, flags, etc... Some of the merchandise was actually very good, and well designed. Other was not so good, and lacked creativity. Thunderdome opted for the minimalistic look this year, and it fitted very well with some items. We headed for the lockers at 22h00, were we could quietly get 2 lockers to put our stuff and the newly bough merchandise (our souvenirs of the event). I found it strange so few people were getting in... Only hours later I would found out why. Seems the entrace hall was too small, and there were strick searches and so many fans, that it took people over 40 minutes to enter.

 

 

The lockers, I must say they could be a bit larger...

 

Lockers are really something essential for the party, so all people can walk around knowing their belongings are safe. I also heard that in the end there weren't enough lockers for all, something we noticed right away when we entered the area (too few of them). However, one thing I found strange: some dutch people arrived to the event at 23-01h and not at 22h00 like it was supposed to. The reason? To arrive at the highlight of the party, with good atmosphere. This is a weird concept for us, since here in Portugal people tend to arrive early so to see the whole show. Specially for us, since we paid heavy for plane tickets. Maybe this was one of the reasons why there was a delay in the entrance.

 

The regular entrance. Notice the huge "Welcome to another edition of Thunderdome". Tons of people waiting outside...

 

Now back to the important part: the event! 22h00 the DJs started to play, even if for a small audience. The sound was too low, and I was fearing it would be like that all night. Seems some people complained about the RAI's noise levels, so ID&T had to follow the law and the decibel restrictions. The sound was clear and beautifull tough and the lights were already making their first show. The Future stage had Ophidian making a good set, and I must say Angel sounded very impressive in the speakers. The sound was getting louder in small steps. The Past was pumping great oldskool Hardcore by Weirdo, and it was very nice to dance to the classics. Many people in training suits (Australian, Cavello and Nike snickers), so this really felt like the mid nineties. Hakken was the dance, as expected. MC Mouth of Madness was very in tune with the crowd, and you could see he was doing his best, it was a very special night for him (his last MC performance).

 

The Giant Wizard!

 

We headed for the Present Hall where Dione was pumping! It was a great ideia we could enter the cage from behind and see the artists at work. Very original ideia. Here is a picture of what you could see before the lasers and fireworks were on.

 


Afterwards we went to the Future, where Daymar was playing. She did a nice set and brought a guitarrist and a piano player to make things more original. A good ideia, altough I would loved to hear the guitar playing along with Gabber (like Atari Teenage Riot or Berzerker). Anyway, we went backstage where he just had to take pictures with the man of the moment. Drokz, who would be MCing Thunderdome for the very last time.

 

Ricardo and 5th Raider with Drokz.

 

After exchanging some text messages I could finally meet a very special friend: Irfan van Ewijk (the I in ID&T). Altough we talked for some years, this would be the first time I would see him live. I was very happy to meet him, not only because he is a good friend and a great person, but also because of the meaning: 15 years passed since the first Thunderdome, which Irfan and Duncan brought to life. Irfan looks quite younger than what I expected and I can tell you he is a die-hard fan and is truly dedicated to the cause. He made a wizard tattoo to comemorate the 15th birthday of the project. Respect! We had a nice chat, and thanks to him I got to know that at 01h00 there would be a massive Thunderdome opening... We headed back to the VIP area in the Future hall, so we got a privileged look at the main stage.

 

This picture is worth the whole event! Something which I will remember forever.

 

Ok, the Thunderdome intro was one of the most intense raving experiences one can have. Lasers going wild, fireworks and Drokz shouting THUNDERDOOOOOOOMEEEEEE made the public go totally insane. When the curtains dropped and showed the huge metal letters saying Thunderdome, everyone went WOW! This had to be the best stage ever. The video was on the sides, below and behind the DJs - they seemed to be playing in mid air. Very impressive. I was at the latest U2 concert, and this entrance made it look pale... Not to mention the music! Promo's set simply kicked ass, one of the best ever!

 

Thunderdome huge metal letters, and video effects on the screens that made the DJs look like if they were playing in midair.

 

The letters in the Future hall light up with the music while Drokz is MCing for the very last time...

 

Thunder and lightning...

 

Me and my friends, as everyone in the VIP stand, were completly insane. The sound was very loud, cristal clear and powefull, and now we could finally witness the strength of the sound system. Impressive, even in Dominator 2005 the sound was not so good!

After a while, I went to the Thunderdome collector's meeting. It was great to meet all of them, people whom I've talked, traded and also pissed off (ahahah! :P) for years. They were all friendly and it felt very good to be discussing Thunderdome stuff and collector's details in Thunderdome itself. I could see the merchandise stand was very busy, and many items were sold out already...

Only after I returned to the future hall I realized I had missed the 3 Steps Ahead tribute, I arrived almost at the end. But I can't be at many places at the same time, I wish I could in this event. :) I saw the video afterwards and my friends told me people went nuts, it was emotional to see how gabbers still love Peter Paul Pigmans and his music. As for my part, I always tought 3 Steps Ahead was original and one in a kind, I will never forget his legacy...

After some drinks and some more chat with Irfan, we left the VIP stand and went to the main floor, to the very front row. D-Passion completly rocked, everybody was going up and down and wild. We danced our asses off, the set worked out very well: some of his tunes are very hard and pouding live. We met people from Italy and even Australia (and we tought we had travelled a long way!). The party atmosphere was great, and the fireworks were a great add to the whole show.

 

The flame thrower device on Thunderdome Future hall... fireworks' heat could be felt in the front rows. :)

 

A view from the VIP stand... crowded massive arena!

 

The decoration inside one of the cages in the Future Hall.

 

Well, it was time to get to the Past hall to hear all the members of the Dreamteam play. Oldskool was the mood there, and everybody sang along to the happycore classics and danced to the early Hardcore hits. Gabbers in training suits and the hakken made this look like 1996 again. Nevertheless, I think altough the sound was much louder than before, it could be a little louder. The lasers were also present in this Past area, and the wizard really gave a special touch.

 

Clap your hands!

 

Me and my mates went backstage to have some photos with those alltime artists we always wanted to know, and to hang out with them a little bit.

 

Wizard as seen from the backstage near the crowd!

 

I must saw MC Da Mouth of Madness was very friendly, and once I told him we came from Portugal we was really thrilled and emotioned. It was great talking to him and seeing how deeply attached he is to his passion.

 


We also found 50% of the Dreamteam (Buzz Fuzz and Gizmo) while Dano was playing. They seem to keep the same spirit as 15 years ago, and Buzz Fuzz is a joker. Of course, we had to take a group photo!

 

Portuguese Gabber crew!

 

5th Raider and F. Salee (Gizmo)

 

Just around the corner we saw a familiar face: Darkraver. With his glasses on we almost missed him! In a good mood as always, he was happy to take a picture with the portuguese crew.

 

Rave Machineeeee.... aiiii..... :P

 

Now that we mentioned Darkraver, maybe it's a good time to talk about pussy! Indeed, Thunderdome had good looking girls, and they dressed minimal... underwear was already a lot to some! Of course we did not mind it at all, and we strongly suggest that this becomes a fashion trend here in Lisbon too. :)

Here is a picture of a typical "attention whore", like some dutch friends told me :)

 

Holland! Holland! Holland!

 

Despite the magnificient view, we headed back to the Present hall which was full, had lasers, pirotecnics and tons of people. Again the sound was now louder, so it felt really pouding in there. Negative A was kicking ass, so we stayed for a few minutes longer.

 

Piroworks at the Present stage...

 

We had more drinks at one of tons of food and drink stands all over the place and headed back to the VIP stand of the Future Hall. There I meet this crazy fellow, which of course, was taking pictures with everybody. If you don't recognise the mask, press ALT+F4 please. :)

 

Hardcore rules the word!

 

I had a chance to talk a bit more with Irfan, that assured me that as long as they can, ID&T will make Thunderdome happen: 20 years, 30 years, 50 years. They do it for fun, not only for the money, and that is why it's always a special project. Both of us shared the same enthusiasm with the way the event was alive after so many years, and he explained to me a bit of the ideias for time ahead. Thunderdome will look more towards the future from now on, and the huge Future hall was a proof of that. Other good news is that ID&T is planning a Sensation White in Portugal for 2009 (which would rule). In the meantime I got a glimpse of Duncan and I just had to take this photo:

 

I would not imagine this some years ago! A photo with the founders of ID&T and Thunderdome! ID&J :)

 

Now it was time for The Outside Agency. Their set was one of the best of the whole event, and together with the special effects and the video used on the stage, it really was something else. The track selection was very dark, but also abrasive. It was a bit strange to see some people leaving the Future hall, but I guess TOA is not the mainstream, and it's not as "danceable" as some other acts. Yet, TOA gave an aural experience that I simply enjoyed listening, like if I was at home... only with the difference of a couple of hundred thousand megawatts in the sound system. :P I think this was a good vision of the future of Hardcore...

 

TOA playing in the Future hall...

 

The Producer gave a very techie breakbeat-oriented set, in his usual style. My portuguese crew told me it rocked. I did not see it, since I went with some dutch friends to listen to the end of Chosen Few's set and dance a little bit to Dana. She played old Mokum sounds, which was very nice, and made the crowd go mental. The Past hall was really moving.  I left again to meet my friends in the Future hall. Meanwhile I could see the large amount of people hanging out, eating and ridding in the carousel... a reminder of the old "Octopus" in the early Thunderdome events.

 

Me with Ben (we finally met live, my friend!), Claudia and some more dutch mates...

 

We were already awake for over 24h so we decided to have a small break and headed backstage, outside the raving area. We found out some artists and of course, we nagged them for photos. Promo and Outblast were playfull, and it was funny when Promo introduced himself as Sebastian; I told him: "Yeah, I know that for some years!" We both had a laugh. It was nice to let them know there is a small Gabber scene in Portugal. I told both of them we organized very very small events here, and it would be nice to have them playing, altough they should expect a small audience, and ultra-low budgets! Strangely they seemed interessed anyway, especially due to the ideia of playing in a new country... who knows? Time will tell... :)

 

 

Now you are wondering... who took this picture? Negative A! Yes, my friend Troncão, despite wearing a Negative A t-shirt, did not recognize him! It was an hilarious moment as Negative A pointed that out. Of course, we had to have a picture with him too!

 

Dione, Ricardo, 5th Raider (me!), Promo and Outblast! Damn, that Thunderdome XV shirt is visible from a mile away... :P

 

Ok, there was pretty lady there also, and we could not resist her. Lindsay (Korsakoff) made a warm and friendly reception, and I think she likes her fans very much. It was nice talking to her, and even nicer (and totally unexpected!) when she said she remembered me from Dominator 2005! :) 3 kisses goodbye (the dutch people kiss 3 times, instead of the usual 2 times of the portuguese) and we were on the way to the rave again.

 

(I wonder why Ricardo is so happy... ahah!)

 

Future Hall... one just can't ge tired of looking at those lasers...

 

Anyway, Unexist started his set, which was supposed to be one of the most agressive and asskicking sets of the night... And it was! Altough Jappo a.k.a. Unexist made a small mistake in the start, all people took it lightly (including himself!) and party went on even harder. Coincidently (or not!) we found Noisekick in the audience!

 

 

Unexist's set included a track I would never expect to hear on a Thunderdome event: Mortified by Delta 9, brutal Noisecore from the Welcome to Hell album released in 1997. Needless to say that this baby in such a collossal sound system completly blew everything appart. Awesome! I played this one on PT.CORE 3, and the sound difference was so big, I think people would not recognize as the same track. Eheheh... Anyway, of course the end progressed into Speedcore and it was amazing to see 13 lasers going frenzy and the crowd going wild... Drokz made a nice surprise and played a hellish +300 bpm track to finish Thunderdome and rip the speakers and our brains apart. This was probably the hardest bassdrum I ever felt, a good way to end with a bang!

 

More lasers...

 

I could not believe the event was over, it went by so far... I always tough it should be at least 12 hours. Altough to be honest I was quite tired. We went to the lockers where there was a huge confusion: but somehow we got our deposit back and left the event with the merchandise and belongings. It's cold out there, and out plane was at 20h00 that day. So we went for some more sightseeing in Amsterdam, and after lunch we ended up in Midtown again.

I took the chance to buy Thunderdome 2007 Anthem vinyl and nag Day-Mar for a really mint copy (ehehehe...collector's crap). Well, I recognized André from Thunderdome Radio and... let's say we all ended up talking for almost 2 hours about Thunderdome, Hardcore, dutch events, portuguese scene, dj-careers, rave organization, opinions on music, bla bla bla... Really nice, and I was very happy to see Hardcore-scene committed people, with a mind set on the days to come and not only the past. And altough they are quite known, they are very down to earth and friendly.

 

6 people with little sleep due to Thunderdome...

 

And for me, this is was where Thunderdome really ended... and a what a nice closure it was. Next thing we were heading back to the airport like zombies and landing in Lisbon. I slept for 14 hours the next day! :) Totally worth the trip... in my opinion this event was really great, top notch. Some people who have been into many Thunderdomes before, told me this was the best edition ever. Of course, each person has their own opinion, but for me, what a great Thunderdome experience it was.

See you next time, next year, THUNDERDOOOOOOOME! :)

 

Drokz shouting Thunderdoooooooooooomee.... No one will ever forget!