Thunderdome XV Years
Location: Amsterdam RAI, The Netherlands
Reporter: João Dias (5th Raider)
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
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
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 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
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
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
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.
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
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 :)
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
Piroworks at the
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
Hardcore rules the
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
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
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!
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...
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
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!
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! :)
Thunderdoooooooooooomee.... No one will ever forget!