As New Year’s Eves go, it wasn’t a spectacular night for me. This was perhaps the first time in my life I had been dragged to a rave completely against my will. I had only been sick for three weeks now, no big deal. I had only been up since five a.m. the previous morning, dutifully toiling through the fires of year end close in the finance world. My body was giving me a big “fuck you” every time I started to move to the rhythmic basslines, but Eric Prydz took to the decks at 3 a.m. and I would be damned if I missed him.
I could hear the familiar symphonic notes of “Generate” begin to take form and felt a fresh wave of energy shudder through me. “I want to give you something,” I felt my friend’s hand on my shoulder and turned from the stage. She held out her left hand in a peace sign, the universal raver’s signal to trade kandi. I hesitated.
I used to wear it as a badge of honor years ago; in fact, I had received my first 3D cuff seeing Eric Prydz for the very first time. I used spent hours looping plastic beads into intricate patterns and took great pride in my work. There truly was something about exchanging kandi that felt, at the time, as if you were giving a little piece of yourself to a stranger to pass along and make its way through life–similar to a message in a bottle, I’d always imagined. Although I had long since put away my kandi and fluffies in favor of more subdued attire, I looked down at my bare wrists and shrugged. Watching people grow into the scene and embracing the old traditions brings me great happiness, because everyone learned from someone when they first dipped their toes into the waters of this world. She was still falling in love with it, hadn’t been burned out and jaded by everything yet. I knew that I would never find that first festival high again, but to her every show was full of that very possibility.
“All of the love we generate
The only thing that carries me on
There’s nothing we need that it can’t create.”
I raised my fingers to meet hers and we went through the “peace, love, unity, respect” symbols–the handshake felt almost alien to my hand after so long–upon which she slipped a single strand onto my wrist.
“This is my favorite one,” she said, “but if anyone deserves to have it, it’s you.” She had gifted me a bracelet of iridescent, light colors that read “CREATE,” and dangling off the last “E” there was a delicate silver angel charm. It was delicate, hopeful, sincere. “Why?” I asked, smiling at the incredible timing of the moment.
“It reminds me of you… All of the love…There’s nothing you need that you can’t create,” I caught her words amidst the repetitive chorus. It was, in a way, the best compliment I have ever received.
My favorite part of experiencing live music is just that–all of the love it generates, and that is truly a remarkable thing. Expectation creates reality, and you attract what you project out into the world; there are no bounds to what a zest for life, compassion for humanity and a resilient positive spirit can do.