Citation: TreeFox. "Clubnachte: An Experience with MDMA (exp110841)". Erowid.org. Jul 20, 2020. erowid.org/exp/110841
Over the past decade I have enjoyed using many different drugs Ė marijuana, mushrooms, LSD, etc. I have always enjoyed these experiences in the moment, and treasured the memories of them long after the substances have left my system. During most of these years my experimentation with drugs focused on hallucinogens, and never included MDMA. Oddly enough, my favorite types of music are house and techno, so you would think trying MDMA is a natural step. But I had such glowing memories of dancing on LSD that any opportunity I had to go to a club or a rave inevitably led to a desire to take more LSD. Dancing on MDMA just wasnít an experience that I sought after (yes yes I know, this statement is absolutely absurd...).
My first encounter with MDMA could not have happened in a better place or time. I was traveling through Europe during the summer, visiting some friends and attending a wedding. The last stop on my trip was Berlin, that mecca of techno that Iíd longed to visit for years. Not only was I going to finally experience this cityís world-renowned club scene, I was going to do it with a friend and one-time roommate T. There are many great things about T, but the salient point for this story is that he is one of the few friends of mine that actually enjoys the same type of music that I do. During his all-to-brief stint as my roommate we went out many a night and shut down the dance floor. Like me, T had also managed to live a life of electronic music fandom without trying MDMA, even though he was familiar with a host of other substances. There was no one I would have wanted with me more to explore the nightlife of Berlin.
I arrived in Berlin several days before T, and had the chance to scope out some clubs with random people I met at my hostel. They were all fun, but nothing to write home about. T arrived on a Saturday, and despite the inevitable jet lag he was pumped to hit the town that night Ė it was Saturday after all! We settled on a well-known techno club in Berlin, one that had been at the top of my list for years. The great thing about this club, and many others in Berlin, is that it didnít even open until midnight. This might sound crazy, but over the course of my week in Berlin I grew to love this schedule. It gives you time to eat dinner, take a nap, and hang out with friends before hitting the clubs. Plenty of time to relax, no stress. It also helps that clubs in Berlin donít close down at 2am or 4am like most places in the states; rather, closing times are 10am, or noon, or...noon, two days later.
I asked some of my hostel-mates where or how we should buy drugs, and a veteran of the scene told us it would be easy to buy whatever we needed inside. If Iím going to take drugs at a show I typically like to have that aspect on lockdown before heading out for the evening, but this seemed like advice from an experienced clubber so we decided to heed their suggestion. We both mixed up some drinks in water bottles and took our time getting to the club. We waited in line for about half an hour, and I was quite amazed by how chill the crowd seemed to be. No loud drunk people, no big groups. Everyone was huddled in twos and threes, clearly enjoying themselves but not getting out of control. It was a good vibe that would last throughout the entire evening. We finally made it up to the door woman and after a quick once-over she let us in. We were in! We had definitely seen a fair number of people turned away at the door, and I was slightly nervous that we wouldnít make the cut. But the liquor was flowing in my system at this point, and I took everything in stride.
T and I entered the club to a completely unexpected sight: a long, deserted room, the far end of which contained a woman at a desk collecting the cover. Not a single other person was in sight. A theme of this evening was how intensely curated the entire experience was at this club, and this was a first glimpse at that effort. The line wouldnít move forward until we had paid and were out of this room. Plenty of time to relax, no stress.
Once inside we did an exploratory circuit through the club, which was incredibly fun. There were so many nooks and crannies to explore, so many interesting lighting configurations. It was like a playground for adults, designed with drugs in mind. Anticipation was mounting.
After half an hour or so we were able to find someone selling MDMA in pill and powder form. We each bought a single pill (green monkeys for what thatís worth) and retreated to one of the calmer spots in the club that had padded seating areas recessed into the walls. These little alcoves were comfortable, intimate, and allowed for great people watching. We took our pills with the faint thud of techno in the background. It was around 1am.
At this point my anticipation was skyrocketing through the roof. We were in one of the coolest places Iíd ever been, the music was fantastic, the slowly growing crowd continued to maintain a chill vibe, and I was with one of my best friends who I knew would appreciate this experience on the same level that I would. We were set up for a great night.
The next half hour or so we talked about this and that, occasionally pausing to ascertain what effects, if any, we could feel. At one point we ended up in a glowing conversation about the mutual friend we had met through, and T stopped and said ďoh man, I think this is it. Iím feeling this now.Ē I could definitely feel something too, but as we continued to describe what we were feeling I realized I was a couple of minutes behind T. At this point we were rising quickly towards the peak, and even the difference of a couple of minutes meant a lot in terms of physical and emotional sensations. Finally at some point I caught up with T and we had arrived. We were rolling, and we felt fantastic.
As I mentioned previously Iíve done my fair share drugs in the past, but I had never, ever experienced a body high like this. I was positively glowing, my muscles and joints felt like rubber that was in constant need of stretching and twisting. The beat from the dance floor beyond was calling like it never had before. In addition to the physical sensations, there were also strong emotional sensations as well. T and I had a moment where I think we both realized what a great idea this was, and how happy we were to be experiencing this night together. I also realized that this was the first time Iíd ever tried a new drug with another person, and that realization made the experience all the more special.
T and I stood up and relished the new experience of bearing weight. Or really the lack of weight, because at this point we were tapping into a bottomless well of energy. Body movements took no effort. If anything the more complicated the movements were the better they felt.
Body movements took no effort. If anything the more complicated the movements were the better they felt.
My shoulders twisted back and forth incessantly. We looked at each other with that knowing look, that look that says ďOh my Jesus, this dance floor is going to be out of this world.Ē We left the quiet alcove, hands on each otherís shoulders, and descended into a dark, thumping abyss.
The techno floor was located in the basement, at the end of a long concrete hallway. The hallway was full of fog, lit from within by red, white and blue strobe lights. Faint silhouettes of humans would form in the fog, then gradually gain definition as they neared and then passed us. It was unlike anything I had ever seen in my life. Light conversation and laughter floated down the tunnel on top of the 4/4 beat. We slowly made our way down the tunnel, taking in the vast amount of sensory stimulation. I was giddy with a potent mix of euphoria and anticipation.
When we finally made our way to the dance floor I entered a state that can only be described as one of the purest forms of existence I have ever known. The euphoria was now mixed with the endorphins released by strenuous dancing, to music that could not have been better suited to my mood. I was surrounded by dozens of other people, all clearly on MDMA as well. Everyone looked so happy, so content, so in the moment. I hadnít realized before, in all my nights of dancing on LSD (when most other people were probably just drunk) what kind of atmosphere can be created when everyone is on the same drug. This drug. It was magical.
One aspect of the experience that made it even more pure was the complete lack of cell phone use. Not a single person was texting, or taking photos, or videos. Not one. At one point a girl in front of me pulled out her phone and I immediately (and politely) asked her to put it away. She did so with some measure of shame, realizing that she had broken the code of the dance floor. In this day and age I donít know how many places on Earth you can find a room filled with people on MDMA, listening to great music, without a single reminder about the existence of the outside world. It is an experience that I will forever spend my life trying to find again.
After some unknown amount of time T and I exited the dance floor to get some water and do another circuit around the club. Water has never tasted so great, nor gone down so easily. It was now probably 3 am, and everyone in the club was at their peak. As in the line outside earlier, there were no loud drunk people, no large groups, nobody out of control. Everybody was having a great time partying, and everybody was behaving like a responsible adult. There were no predatory dudes trying to pick up chicks (in fact we saw very little in the way of romantic encounters during the night, but those we did see were tasteful).
The other surprising aspect of the club was the density of people. The entire night we felt like we were surrounded by just the right amount of people. The dance floor was always full, but anybody could get as much space as they needed. There was never a line at the bar to get drinks. There was never a line at the bathroom. And yet the club didnít feel empty at all. It was another brilliant example of the club curating the experience for their patrons. A bar in the states (or most anywhere else in the world) would easily have shoved hundreds of more people in that space, but this place didnít. And not for want of patrons Ė they were turning people away at the door, remember.
After the circuit T and I hit the dance floor again. We were past the peak, but I honestly donít think I could feel the comedown until probably 5 or 6 am. Most of that I attribute to our incredible surroundings. We fell into a nice rhythm of dancing for some time, then doing a circuit around the club, grabbing some water, then heading back to the dance floor. Each time we went back I was able to slip right back in to that state of pure, uninhibited euphoria, just moving with the music. Occasionally I would open my eyes, see the air choked with fog and flashing lights, see the people around me in the same state. Then I would close my eyes again and just move. I was so accustomed to doing this on LSD, with my brain racing through various thoughts, and closed eyed visuals beating along to the music. But this was different, more physical, more emotional, less cerebral. It felt altogether more primal, like I was tapping into a deeper part of the human experience. An experience that is impossible to find alone; it can only be found in large social gatherings such as this. Everywhere I looked I could only sense feelings of goodwill, of common understanding. The empathic nature of MDMA doesnít rely on justs verbal communication. Physical proximity works just as well, perhaps even better Ė the ambiguities of human language donít get in the way. (But of course I wasnít thinking about all this at the time :)
Finally around 7 am T and I decided to call it quits. I was still having a great time, but I could feel the zombie emerging from within, and wanted to leave while I was still in good spirits. The dance floor downstairs was still full Ė it looked exactly as it had at 2 am, perhaps just slightly thinner. We exited the club into a dim, overcast morning. I was physically drained, but my mood was still very much elevated. T and I rehashed some of the more memorable moments on the subway ride back to the hostel, and finally passed out around 8 am.
Well, the title of this trip report is Clubnachte (pretend thereís an umlaut above the a), which is German for club nights. So what happened next?
T and I spent most of Sunday recovering (it didnít help that we had to check out of our hostel at 11 am and move to a new hostelÖ), and Monday night is pretty dead in Berlin. [Note: ďpretty deadĒ in Berlin is way better than a Saturday night in most cities Ė clubs are still open until 11 am on Tuesday morning for Godís sake!] So Tuesday night we vowed to hit the clubs again, since it was the last night we would both be in Berlin. And we decided to try and find more MDMA if possible. Looking back on this decision now, waiting more than 2 days between trips would be highly advisable, but then again how often would this type of opportunity present itself to us?
It just so happened that we met up with a group of our fellow hostel-mates hanging out in the common area, and everyone was trying to decide what to do for the evening. Eventually, in a completely organic way, 12 of us decided to take molly together and go to a club (aided by an individual who had enough molly with him for 12 people...). This experience turned out to be completely different from our Saturday night adventure, while still involving the consumption of MDMA and dancing at a techno club in Berlin. This experience didnít have nearly the degree of emotional impact on me, so Iíll forgo most of the details and mostly describe the differences.
First of all, the club we went to had a much different atmosphere. The club on Saturday night was mostly underground, there were no windows, and few if any people were on their cell phones. This made for a surprisingly intimate experience, as already described. Tuesday night, however, had an outdoor dance floor (so no cocoon effect) and lots of people on cell phones. The vibe felt more like a really wild house party with people coming and going as they pleased. However, this also had a negative effect with regard to being on MDMA: I found it very hard to summon up feelings of empathy and sociability towards these people, since many of them didnít seem to be seeking the same experience that I was. Though many people were on drugs, noticeably more people were drinking, and everybody seemed to be looking for the ďpartyĒ vibe rather than a communal trance dance experience.
A more positive difference that was quite fun to experience was being there with a large group of people. Even though I had known most of these people for less than 24 hours (besides T) there were still the bonding elements of staying in the same hostel, meeting earlier in the day, and embarking on this evening together. I had a great time walking around and spontaneously running into a few of my trip mates and performing what came to be the stereotypical molly meeting routine: hands thrown up in the air, a yell to the tune of ďWhatís uuuuuup, guys???Ē and then hugs all around. Sometimes these encounters were made in passing, other times they developed into full-blown conversations. And of course there were always the great times of seeing these people on the dance floor, giving them that glowing smile, and returning to dancing.
Though there were many elements of the evening that should have been fun (drug use being one of them), T and I couldnít quite lock ourselves into the experience. We were still riding pretty high from our Saturday night, and though we knew this experience was going to be different, I think we were both rather disappointed in the outcome. Our ďMonday bluesĒ seemed to hit right in the middle of the night. I wasnít able to get into the music as much, which started out more house-y (I was still craving techno) and had some terrible builds and drops. The dance floor was much more crowded, and constant cross-traffic meant you couldnít get into a groove for more than 30 seconds before somebody bumped their way past you. Our hostel-mates were a fun group, but the crowd as a whole was much less interesting, much less mature, and in general somewhat annoying. I guess you take what you can get on a Tuesday night. Finally around 5 am we decided to call it. We walked down the street to grab some food, and sat outside eating in silence. There wasnít much to say. The night had been a flop.
Itís now been over a week since that Saturday night, and, despite the Tuesday night dip, I can still feel lingering positive effects. I listen to music differently, I move my body differently, and I often think about dancing in that fog-filled concrete basement. So will I do it again? Absolutely. It was an incredible experience. But the Tuesday night experience, the yin to Saturday nightís yang, taught me a valuable lesson. When Iím on LSD at a club the experience is my own. I am inside of my head, inside of my body, and I donít pay much attention to those around me. I donít necessarily need friendly faces around me. MDMA, on the other hand, evinces such powerful feelings of empathy that crowd composition is crucial to the outcome of the experience, at least based on the two trips described here (not to mention having a great friend with me who is seeking a similar experience). So yes Iíll do it again, but Iím willing to wait quite some time for the right opportunity.
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