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New Year's Eve Rave Eyes U.S. Record of 60,000 Revelers

November 12, 2000|STEVE HOCHMAN

High ticket prices and consumer apathy over last year's Y2K concert frenzy left a lot of concert promoters asking, "Why?" But one team of rave promoters is looking at Y2K+1 and asking, "Why not?"

Los Angeles-based firms Insomniac and Go Ventures have joined forces, with additional participation from San Francisco's Cool World, to host on New Year's Eve what they hope will be the largest electronic dance event ever in the U.S.

Dubbing the all-night party Together as One, the promoters have secured both the Los Angeles Sports Arena and Coliseum for the night, with sights on attendance of more than 60,000. The current record is about 40,000, reached at Insomniac's Nocturnal Wonderland in Indio in September.

There are several elements to Together as One that give it a shot at the record:

* Lack of competition. While a glut of New Year's shows last year led to disappointing attendance at some, this year is looking thin so far--though there will be another high-profile rave, albeit with much more modest attendance goals: The Hollywood club Giant is the host of a 7,500-capacity event in a section of Hollywood Boulevard that will be shut to traffic.

But there are few major concerts that night. The trade publication Pollstar's Web site shows no concerts booked in L.A. for New Year's at this time, and local promoters say there's no buzz on potential events.

* The rise of DJ culture. With DJs themselves becoming stars, the promoters believe they can attract a big crowd without resorting to booking a "name" rock band or even one of the electronica figures who have crossed over to pop stardom.

"We have the option of bringing in someone like Moby or BT," says Insomniac proprietor Pasqual. "But we want to put a lot of money into the whole production--we're bringing in a whole fireworks show. DJs like Fatboy Slim and BT are awesome and well-known on a commercial level, but if we decide to have more commercial acts, we can have them on the DJ level."

DJs lined up for the event include L.A. favorites Sandra Collins and DJ Dan, Chicago hard-house veteran Bad Boy Bill, and Tacoma's Donald Glaude.

* This, they say, is the real millennium celebration. The debate over whether 2000 or 2001 starts the new century has died out, but Cool World's Sasson Parry says the spiritual implications are a draw to the rave crowd.

"Last year there was so much happening, everyone looking at the millennium, when this is the real one and there's not much going on," he says. "With the rise of a new culture and the digital revolution, it will be a real attraction."

Pat Lynch, general manager of the Sports Arena and Coliseum, is enthusiastic about the event, especially following the success of the Oct. 28 Halloween-themed MonsterMassive at the Sports Arena, also promoted by Insomniac and Go Ventures. With attendance of nearly 30,000 and only 16 arrests on various drug charges, it has drawn praise from the Los Angeles Police Department for security and orderliness.

Lynch says the only real problem was long lines at the entrances. Pasqual and Parry say that this time doors will open earlier (6 p.m.) to get things moving more quickly, and there will be more entry points.

Updates on the plans will soon be available on the three firms' Web sites: http://www.goventures.com, http://www.insomniacevents.com and http://www.coolworld.com.

PEPPER ALONE: With a near-fatal bout with drug addiction in the past and in the midst of a triumphant return to the Red Hot Chili Peppers after a five-year absence, guitarist John Frusciante would, you'd think, be happy to leave the past behind. But he's recorded a solo album that draws largely on his experiences and writings from the years he was out of the band and in a drug haze.

And it's quite at the opposite end of the scale from the Peppers' party music. Titled "To Record Only Water for Ten Days" and due from Warner Bros. Records on Feb. 13, the album is a true solo project, with Frusciante, 30, the only musician.

"During the five years that I really didn't do anything, what was taking place inside me was to me very significant," he says. "I didn't actually do anything in the physical sense, but there was a lot of inward life, but I was so scattered when it came to bringing these thoughts to the world.

"Once I stopped taking drugs, I found I still believed the same things as when I was on drugs, but I realized that then I was capable of putting these thoughts in a coherent structure. I was actually able to make sense of them, unlike some people who stop doing drugs and think everything they did on drugs was worthless."

Frusciante is hoping to play a few solo acoustic shows around the time of the album's release, but his attention will soon turn to the Chili Peppers' follow-up to last year's hit album, "Californication."

"I love [the Peppers] a lot," he says. "When I was a kid, I loved them, and now we've grown up together as people."

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