Having chatted with the guys from Genesis, the promoters, about this event beforehand, it was clear that there had been a lot of problems making it happen – especially when they had to abandon the idea of an outdoor setting in Parramatta, due to the number of conditions being imposed on them, which they felt were impossible to meet, and the very real prospect of it becoming yet another trance event closed down early.

But I’m so glad that they persevered and managed to make it happen, as Lucid Dreams was, in my opinion, a towering success and one of the best day time events I’ve attended in Australia.

Given the fact that the event had been relocated, perhaps I should start by talking about the venue – the Ivy Courtyard? This was a first visit for me and I was seriously impressed. It is really well laid out, with the dancefloor set deep in the canyon formed by the building rising on all four sides around it. And to the sides are plentiful bars, plus tables and seats for people wanting to take a break from the dancing.

The decor was tastefully stylish and the bright, warm weather contributed to the sense of the outdoors – even though this was not an outdoor setting in the style of the original Parramatta park location, or even a bush doof! Much more like an inner-city terrace or balcony rather than remote wooded scrubland! A $5 happy hour that ended (unhappily) at 2.45pm and free bottled water available throughout the day added to the sense that this was a great venue for a daytime party.

To complement the stylish venue was a friendly and diverse crowd, with psy-trance influenced tie-die and steampunk fashions dotted amongst more conventionally dressed partygoers. Everyone was out to enjoy themselves dancing to the music, rather than ‘see and be seen’ and the security staff seemed happy to take a back seat and were unobtrusive throughout.

IMG_2646Mention must also be made of the awesome sound system, pumping out a really good sound, whether in the main dancefloor area, which was open to the air, or in the side areas with their relatively low ceilings. Whoever is responsible for making this venue sound good has done a seriously good job managing the varying acoustics to produce sound as balanced and powerful as this.

Which brings me neatly to the reason we were all here in the first place – the music! We arrived only at the tail end of Freedom Fighters‘ set, to the news that the next DJ was running late. In these situations, there’s always wild rumours going around about what has happened, so it’s best not to speculate too much. But setting up, it did not appear that Day.Din was in any hurry to get going and he certainly gave the impression of someone who didn’t really want to be there at all. Eventually he got underway but (and I have to confess a complete ignorance of him or his style) I didn’t get into his music.

Having started late and seemingly unfussed, by the time he was due to hand over, he now appeared reluctant to give way, to the apparent annoyance of Liquid Soul who was due on next. Eventually he took his leave and with Liquid Soul now dropping the tunes, I really began to enjoy the music properly. Only twelve weeks had elapsed since his last set in Sydney (at Voodoo in November 2015) which I had enjoyed so much. And he was nearly as good this time around, with a set that seemed to have surprisingly few overlaps with last time around. We heard him play Paul van Dyk & Jordan Suckley – City Of Sound (Liquid Soul Remix), Liquid Soul – Crazy People, Liquid Soul & Captain Hook –  Liquid Hook, Liquid Soul & Zyce feat. Solar Kid – Science Fiction and Alex M.O.R.P.H. & Liquid Soul – The Journey.

Now it was time for Neelix. I have to be honest at the outset that, despite his status and popularity, I have never really got into his sound. This was the third time I’ve heard him play and I’ve always found his sets disjointed, partly due to the spoken vocal breakdowns, but also the feeling that it’s all stop-start at the point where he mixes from one tune into the next. So I’m not the person to ask how good his set was for his fans. I’ll just say that he managed to deliver the day’s most unexpected moment when he dropped a sample from Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven into his set, which also included many of his own productions, like Little Stevie and Expect What.

Next up was Jorn van Deynhoven and it didn’t take him long to get into a seriously uplifting trance groove. We were very fortunate a few years back to see him play a five-hour set at an Oxford Street nightclub, one that ranks among the very best I’ve ever heard live. Since then, I’ve always enjoyed his sets, but he’s never come close to repeating the magic. But this was easily the best I’ve heard him play since that afternoon at Nevermind. With just under an hour to play, he filled his set with a great selection of current and classic trance: The Thrillseekers – Synaethesia, Tiësto – Lethal Industry, Flynn & Denton and Audrey Gallagher – Say My Name, Ferry Corsten pres. Gouryella – Anahera, DJ Misjah & DJ Tim – Access (John Askew Remix), Orkidea – Purity (Sneijder Remix) and Filo & Peri feat. Eric Lumiere – Anthem.

After van Deynhoven, it was the turn of the massively talented Jordan Suckley. I really enjoyed his set – these days he seems to be using his wizardry more judiciously and letting the music shine through. Taking the tempo up a notch, he mixed in several updated takes on old school tunes: Tiësto – Suburban Train (Jordan Suckley Remix), Jaycee – Escape (Indecent Noise Remix) and a version of Energy 52 – Café del Mar that was completely new to me.

Finally the day’s fun was brought to a climax by the one and only Sean Tyas. Over the years I have seen him play some truly outstanding sets, but also some very disappointing ones. However, it does seem that he is back on form and this was the perfect closing set, banging out some proper trance, much of it taken from his recently released artist album, Degeneration. He played Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus (Eric Prydz Remix; Sean Tyas Rework), Sean Tyas –  Vagabond, Sean Tyas – Da Doo Da Dah (John Askew Remix), Sean Tyas – Now You See (Darren Porter Remix) and Sean Tyas – Unleash (Alex Di Stefano Remix).

Sadly the music had to stop at 8pm and the search for after parties began. An official after party with two or three of the days DJs showing what they could do after dark could have made it even better, but it was such a great day anyway that this didn’t really matter so much. After the various problems in making it happen, the Genesis team really deserve the plaudits for this and I hope it isn’t the last time we see a great trance line-up grace the Ivy Courtyard.