What a wonderful night this was! Announced a long time ago, the anticipation for this event was huge. Long before we set off for Europe in June, we knew that we had something very special to look forward to when we got back. Genesis has put on a number of white parties, but the darker trance of the Subculture label is far more suited to a black theme. And if I’m honest, far more up my street too. I was excited by pretty much the entire line up, although I was most keen for John O’Callaghan, a long-time favourite of mine, who we hadn’t caught much in the last couple of years (bar a closing set at Cream Amnesia last year).

We arrived just as Sneijder started his set, to be told by some that Blazer before him had been dull and by others that he had been amazing. I guess that the fact that his style is more techno and breaks than trance explains the strong divergence in opinions. Sneijder was playing earlier than billed, and I would say earlier than is usual for him or his style. It certainly didn’t seem to affect his choice of tunes and the crowd responded enthusiastically, particularly when he dropped Orkidea – Purity (Sneijder Remix). I really enjoyed his set, but not as much as I had his set on the Trance Sanctuary boat on the Thames in August.

The huge Hordern Pavilion was already pretty full, although, in fact, there was plenty of space at the front – it seemed more packed the further back you went – and the production was seriously impressive. Screens that ran the entire width of the stage played suitably dark images and spotlights played across the arena. Perhaps the sound was not quite as shatteringly loud as I expected, and one or two others I spoke to agreed – but this was probably a good thing for those without earplugs!

After Sneijder, it was the turn of Will Atkinson, another DJ I had seen quite recently, this time in Ibiza in July. His set was a well-worked progression from his Darkboy alias tunes, such as Walk The Talk right through to closing with the fantastic Will Atkinson – Numb The Pain. By now the Hordern was really buzzing and the incredible lasers had begun to wow the crowd.

Now it was time for the man I had come to see – John O’Callaghan. And what a wonderful set he gave us. Starting with Flynn & Denton and Audrey Gallagher – Say My Name, he mixed new tunes with classics throughout the all-too-short hour he had: John 00 Fleming – If I Don’t Come Home (John O’Callaghan Remix), Giuseppe Ottaviani – Crossing Lights, Mauro Picotto – Iguana (Joint Operations Centre Remix), John O’Callaghan – Big Sky (Joint Operations Centre Reconstruction), John O’Callaghan & Jennifer Rene – Games (Standerwick Remix) and closing with John O’Callaghan – Find Yourself (Standerwick Remix).

During his set, the laser show became even more spectacular. Being fairly near the front, we weren’t really in the best position to see the lasers to their full effect, but even up close they were breathtaking! My highlight from his set was John O’Callaghan – One Special Particle, a tune that seems to get better each time I hear it live. The big disappointment was that the set was only an hour long … O’Callaghan’s talent really deserves much longer than this – perhaps you could even say it needs longer?

This was the fifth time this year that I’d seen Bryan Kearney – after ASOT 700 and Voodoo in Sydney, Luminosity Beach Festival in the Netherlands and Connect at Privilege in Ibiza. Just as well, then, that I am a huge fan of his. It’s a tough ask to follow John O’Callaghan, but Kearney did it so well that I enjoyed his set almost as much and possibly even more. Again, one hour does not give a DJ of his talent enough time to demonstrate his abilities truly, but it was enough time to drop a string of fantastic tunes: Plumb – Need You Now (How Many Times) (Bryan Kearney Remix), Bryan Kearney – Te Amo, Gareth Emery feat. Bo Bruce – U (Bryan Kearney Remix), Bryan Kearney – Wake Up Call and Sneijder & Christina Novelli – Love Of My Control. Although I’d seen him so much recently, there was nothing samey about this set, yet it still had that distinctive Bryan Kearney sound and feel. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see him again!

Next up was John Askew, another that I had been most keen to see. And he didn’t disappoint, turning up the energy levels to maximum and giving us what I thought was the set of the night. Combining his originals with some incredible remixes of classics and several tunes I couldn’t put a name to, he was relentless and true to his style, which is as devoid of fluffiness and cheesiness as anyone’s. It’s perhaps not for the faint-hearted, but it drove the night to another level for me. It was great to hear the relatively recent tune, John Askew – Shine, but the two absolute highlights were Leftfield – Song Of Life (John Askew Remix) and DJ Misjah & DJ Tim – Access (John Askew Remix). Two tunes from about 20 years ago, brought up to date – what memories they brought back!

Unfortunately the night ended on a sour note, when Simon Patterson’s set was shut down after a little under 20 minutes. It turned out that the police had ordered the closure “for our own safety” after some people had been taken to hospital with suspected drug overdoses. I’m not sure how closing the party 40 minutes before its scheduled ending made us safer, particularly as anyone who was going to consume a large quantity of drugs would have done so already by then. But that debate is for another place. The worry is that, now that two huge trance parties have been ended early in Sydney this year, it will be increasingly difficult for promoters to put on more such events.

But I don’t want to finish on a down, and it was, despite the abrupt conclusion, a really fantastic night. Every DJ played a great set and my only serious beef is that I’d like to have heard much more from all of them. And the visual spectacle – video screens, lights and lasers was thrilling. Massive congratulations and thanks to the team from Genesis for putting on the show and to the DJs for making it so memorable. Hopefully there will be a repeat performance in 2016!

Thanks to Terry Harvey for the use of his great photo and the video showing Man Lie’s magnificent lasers.