Article Title:The Final Toybox
Author or Credit:Leif Wauters
Published on:17th March 2011 - 02:35 pm
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Story ID:10132
Text:A journey can be either the act of traveling from one place to another or it can be an often long process of personal growth. In the case of Sydney's Toybox party - a world-famous haven for epic anthems, spellbinding productions and the LGBT party elite - the journey has most certainly been both to many people. Lighting up the Big Top at Luna Park the afternoon following this year's Sydney Gay where the true heart of Toybox was exposed as loving and youthful. This playfulness extended often to the dance floor with the seamless distribution of silly specs, light-up finger beasts, Seussian inflatable toys and the occasional (and quickly absorbed) fruity ice block. Even the occasional pillow shaped like the sun with hands or a giant clown fish got tossed around. You'd expect the final installment of this epic event to at least meet, if not exceed, the visual benchmarks set previous years. For example, there were sixteen full-spectrum lasers in 2010 that dotted the perimeter of the dance floor. This year, a modest eleven could be counted flooding the air starting at 1:30 p.m. to a roaring cheer from below. Even though there were fewer sources, the vibrant colours and brilliant choreography seemed to pierce the memory of what had come before. For the balance of the day the fanned rainbows that brushed our heads and were amplified by hundreds of reflective surfaces wove the most fantastic air tapestry to date. With silliness and sights addressed, you're probably wondering about the sounds as most parties really begin and end with the music. Genuine to its jubilant persona, the music at Toybox has always been a stream of heart-lifting anthems married to the lasers at a galloping pulse. The honour of performing this final union of the senses was given to veteran Toybox DJs Matt Bachl and Steven Hales. Both aficionados of hi-NRG and epic trance, it could be hard to clearly distinguish their sounds were it not for the respectful applause break situated evenly between the sets, with Matt opening the day. I could easily say I loved practically every song as flashbacks to a decade of lush moments rarely heard in present-day gay clubs. Where some thought the DJs in perfect balance with the day, I personally found the musical journey elusive. Despite the juice I squeezed from each song, more care could have been given to the program so that the energy flowed well across the day. One moment my hands and voice were stretched towards heaven and the next we were swirling through a vocal-less tunnel of trance. Both great vibes in their own rights, they deserve to be enjoyed in stretches and not bounced between. Even with well-placed musical gaps within each set, both DJs floored it through sections, spinning the hamster wheel a bit too much for my enjoyment, especially the closing DJ who seemed to barrel out the gate. There were also a few shrill moments when the normally fine-tuned sound system turned oppressive, but it was easy enough to refresh our ears (and drinks) by escaping the main room throughout the day. I've found the vibe at previous Toybox too aggressive at times, coming across more as entitled, pushy and drunk. Perhaps my cocoon of friends shielded me from that element this year, but it seemed joyfully absent. That general happiness was infused at points with outrageous antics dangling above us, first in the form of aerial chickens (complete with KFC buckets) who were later garbed in outlandish blue drag belting out tracks to the dancers below. Between them a bath-tub was floated above the crowd with performer Shirley Hamid mouthing Belle Lawrence's “Hallelujah”. Hallelujah indeed! At 8 p.m. thousands of souls, entertainers and revelers alike, ended their Toybox journeys in an epic crescendo. Standing in inches of coloured paper confetti and metallic streamers that had showered the Big Top Arena for 10 minutes leading up to the finale, all eyes were turned to the stage. First to thank our closing DJ for delivering a raucous memory, then to bathe in an expertly-delivered closing show. A tattooed and muscled performer coated in exotic mirrored regalia was hoisted above the stage as he synched passionately to the first of two songs that perfectly embodied the moment. Amidst the Snow Patrol lyrics for “Run” (as envisioned by Almighty Records) a soul-touching phrase rang true. “Light up, light up as if you have a choice, even if you cannot hear my voice I'll be right beside you dear… To think I might not see those eyes makes it so hard not to cry, and as we say our long goodbyes I nearly do”. The journey that had brought us together one last time as participants in the magic of Toybox saw us emerge bright-eyed from the safe confines of Luna Park to a hired car that would pick us up. It was there beneath the glimmering Harbour Bridge the uplifting words of the night's final anthem echoed in my ears. As I shared a still moment with my friends who would return to homes around the world from this amazing journey, Almighty's rendition of S Club 7's “Reach” reminded me to “Never ever forget that I've got you and you've got me so reach for the stars….” I'll cherish that musical moment always as a memento from an incredible 40th and as a reminder that this year's journey to the final Toybox should never be forgotten. Leif Wauters - 17th March 2011    
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