5 things you’ll definitely see on this weekend’s Tomorrowland live stream
By now, we know what to expect from Tomorrowland, the World’s Biggest Dance Music Festival™. To start with, there will be a storybook theme plucked from a fantasy kingdom free from irony. (In 2016, it’s The Elixir Of Life.) There will be flowery proclamations seemingly conjured by a Random Nonsense Generator. (As one video voiceover tells us, “Perfume has the power to guide you to another place in both your future and your past.”)
The complete lineup, when it finally comes, will be of blockbuster proportions, with the regular gang of A-listers, cult heroes and bit players. The gargantuan main stage will be a new variation on bigger-is-better, with intricate moving parts, water features, in-built pyro and costumed actors improvising to whatever Afrojack is playing.
Then, of course, there’s always the live stream. This weekend, the Tomorrowland streaming experience has been a choose your own adventure, with the option to toggle between three stages each day. (This technical feat didn’t always work on Friday and the festival site went down on Saturday, igniting a flurry of tweet tantrums.) The main stage is surely the weekend’s most watched stream, but Channel 2 and 3 have broken up the big room onslaught, with sets from the Diynamic, Cocoon, Paradise and Bakermat & Friends stages.
Unfortunately, the live stream has lined up terribly with Australian time zones, with the bulk of the action from Belgium falling squarely in our wee hours. If, however, you’re planning to catch the final night’s action from 3am until work starts on Monday morning (maybe don’t do that), here’s a few things you should expect to see.
#1 Lots and lots of chanting
If there’s anything that gets Tomorrowland’s amphitheatre going, it’s a good EDM-goes-to-the-football chant. If you feared that time-honored tradition would be retired in 2016, every single main stage DJ has good news for you. (Except maybe Paul Kalkbrenner, but we’ll get to that later.)
DVBBS were the very first DJs up on Friday’s main stage live stream, and you can be sure they had those people dutifully chanting to the now-three-years-old Tsunami. The three most common chants so far: “Daaaa da dut dut dut daaaa” (think Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes), “dum de dum de dum de dum de dum de dum de dum-dum” (think Tsunami or countless equivalents), and a simple but effective “heyyyy, hooooo” (think a lumberjack after a few pints).
#2 The camera cutting away suddenly from someone doing something dodgy
The Tomorrowland after-movie has long been key to the festival’s outsized reputation. Taking months to produce, it’s always slickly shot, long (the longest being the 33-minute opus in 2013) and crammed with exploding fireworks and girls looking enraptured at the wonder of it all.
The live stream, meanwhile, is a less sanitised experience. As the camera roves the crowd, particularly in the daylight hours, you’ll see the full tapestry of festival attendees, from the shirtless sunburnt Englishman to the Jamie Jones fan with lockjaw. Marvel all weekend long at those expert quick cuts away from the merest hint of someone misbehaving/looking less than their best self.
#3 Confused faces when Paul Kalkbrenner plays the main stage
Looking at the running order of main stage DJs this weekend, you’d be forgiven for feeling that David Guetta time tunnel effect. Aside from the absence of Hardwell (what did he do?!), it’s pretty much business as usual: Armin, Guetta, Tiësto, Axwell, Ingrosso, etc. Then there’s Paul Kalkbrenner, whose live set is sandwiched between Oliver Heldens and Steve Aoki on Sunday night.
Kalkbrenner is of course a superstar in Europe, making him a savvy main stage booking—even though he’d dismiss every other main stage booking with a shudder of horror. He’s sure to pull a strong contingent of fans to the amphitheatre, but spare a thought for those marooned bros claiming an early spot on the barrier for Aoki. Maybe Steve will be kind enough to throw them one of his life rafts.
#4 Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike playing a vinyl set, for some reason
Tomorrowland mascots Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike have two main stage slots this weekend, and one of them will apparently see the duo go “back to their roots” with a vinyl-only set. The Belgian brothers have done this before at their Bringing The Madness 3.0 arena shows in Antwerp earlier this year, which saw Dimitri playing some of his “favourite classics” on vinyl.
Given these two are regularly charged with being DJ charlatans, the gimmick makes sense as a counter-argument. Within the enormity of the Tomorrowland stage, though, it feels a little defensive. We get it, you guys are real DJs—now give us the next chant.
#5 Main stage DJ motivational speaking
“There’s going to be some times in life when there’s negativity around you, but together we can make the world a better place!” Those were the words of Alex Andre, the hype man half of DVBBS, kicking off the Friday main stage stream. (Dude knows a thing or two about having negativity around him.)
Don’t fret though if you missed the pep talk—there’ll be more to come. With the microphone now as indispensable to the modern big room DJ as a pair of personally branded headphones, expect a surfeit of mid-breakdown platitudes.
An important final side-note: should we be worried about David Guetta? Usually handy with a motivational rallying cry, our guy instead appeared to be fighting the dying of the light during his Friday night set. Rolling out his line about playing every Tomorrowland since the beginning seemed to rouse some long repressed hurt. Even asking if Tomorrowland had the loudest party people on the planet left him looking bereft. Then came the return of those long stares into nothing (David, think of the memes!), broken only by the familiar sound of Akon’s voice rousing him back to consciousness.
If someone really does find The Elixir of Life at Tomorrowland, break a little off for David Guetta.