A joyous Armageddon, the rave can last till sunrise

By Eben Gering
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 25, 1996

Charles C. Labenz
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Begin with a trip to a thrift store and buy something flashy or fluorescent before attending a rave.


The gentle thumping bass which was the heartbeat of life elevated to a reality-crushing wave as we entered the warehouse. The world outside was replaced by a surreal whirl of glowing wands, painted faces and strobe-frozen forms. A thousand plastic wizards danced in climactic frenzy, summoning more rhythm! more decibels! more energy! more... life. It was Saturday night at midnight, it could have been a joyous Armageddon, this rave called Life.

The atmosphere had become liquid, flowing in waves pushed ever higher by music. There were the people I'd expected, the ones you see in class with glittering shoes or twenty-five cent jewelry as tiny remnants of their ecstatic night-lives. Tonight they'd donned their garishness to a calculated beauty - amid the music and motion all bizarre accessory had purpose.

How to dance? I'd always thought a mosh-pit represented the highest form of youthful motion, always thought raves a bit ...weak. I tried to pick up some steps - everybody was, of course, following his own. After a few songs it became completely natural. The crowded floor faded out of focus and all others joined the music, a stew-pot of glow-in-the-dark, battery-powered bliss you just wanted to move with.

One thing that makes this interesting is that there is no real band on stage. The disc-jockeys don't speak or dance so there exists no central force to concentrate on. Everyone who bought a ticket is responsible for the success of the show; those at the b ack looking for drugs (I think I was asked for every substance I've heard of and some I haven't), those at the center of the floor dancing, and those at the front sensually caressing, mouthing, nearly making love to the speakers as if their god had appear ed in the form of sound.

Security seemed ridiculously unnecessary, everyone felt the brotherly connection of those who have experienced a miracle together. Outside, a girl approached my friend and me. "We found the coolest game," she slurred. As I wondered what chemical she was g oing to give us, she locked wrists with her partner and spun around at an insane speed while knees bent to the music. And strange little "games" were going on in every corner. It's overwhelming. So I turned to my friend, a veteran raver, and asked him wha t he thought. He shrugged his shoulders, and lamented that the energy level could have been higher.

Well I have no point of contrast, but I'll say that if you've never experienced a rave, it's about time you did. Begin with a trip to a thrift store and buy something flashy or fluorescent. If you're too embarrassed to admit that it'll make you happy to f it the genre, then imagine the droves of people on chemicals who will delight in your attire. Make sure you won't be getting tired (which would be hard), because a rave can run till sunrise. Bring lots of water and, above all, energy; you'll want to have expended it all by morning, having had the time of your life.