What is normally a barren parking lot outside the Oakland Coliseum was turned into a magical wonderland by Insomniac Events this past weekend when Beyond Wonderland came to the bay area for the first time. Insomniac, which is well known for their fantastic theatrics, did an incredible job with keeping the Alice in Wonderland theme. Each DJ’s individual light shows were on par, however the enormous light-up Ferris wheel was a real surprise. Likewise, the go-go dancers dressed as the “queen’s henchmen” were a nice addition. There were three distinct stages for the event- The Queens Domain, The Madhatter’s Castle (both of which played the conventional house/electro/ trance), and The Caterpillar’s Garden which played more dubstep, drum n’ bass, trap etc. The Queen’s domain and Madhatter’s castle were considered the “main stages,” and were under two very large tents. The Caterpillar’s garden on the other hand was very elevated and had no cover tent. The biggest downside of the tent covers was the somewhat distorted sounds. Being a big fan of electronic, music it was a little disappointing to hear that the songs played didn’t sound as good as they could. Another downside of the event was the quality of the speakers. EDM is best listened to loud, however with these speakers it did not do the songs justice- especially at the front. The music was TOO loud, to the point where it was literally impossible for me to hear myself singing to the songs. After every EDM concert, your ears do ring for a while after, however the following morning I could hardly hear my sister who was standing three feet away from me!
On a side note, the lineup was nothing short of spectacular. Some of the more DJ’s that performed include Alesso, Avicii, Sander Van Doorn and Borgore. Out of everyone I saw perform, W&W put on the best show by far. Their set was amazing, as well as the energy they brought with them, and especially the song choice. What really stood out was when they mashed “Thing called love” by Above and Beyond, with “Spaceman” by Hardwell.
Lowest point of the night was when Avicii went on. One would think that being so famous he would know how to woo a crowd, but it wasn’t nearly what I expected. After seeing his Levels tour, I had high hopes for him and his set, but it was complete let down. He hardly played all of his songs, and among those he did play, they were either unprofessional mash-up’s or remix’s.
Overall I give the entire event four out of five stars. Visuals were on par, as well as the lineup. The free water was a nice addition since it became very hot inside the tent. If Insomniac were to redo Beyond Wonderland next year I would be sure to go. It was definitely an experience worth the price!