Armin van Buuren Stereo Live May 23, 2012
After a crazy night at Stereo Live with Rusko's breakdown Tuesday, I couldn't help but imagine what was in store for Wednesday night's Armin van Buuren set.
Hailing from the Netherlands, Armin started making music at age 14 and had his first success with the song "Blue Fear" at age 19 in 1995. Several years later, the song rose to No. 18 on the UK charts in 2000. Ever since, van Buuren's trance (both neo and progressive), has been seducing the ears.
Wednesday, fans packed the sold-out venue, readily awaiting to enter "A State of Trance."
Lights flashed a simple countdown, signaling the DJ was about to take the stage. Van Buuren, currently No. 2 on DJ Magazine's yearly Top 100 DJ Poll, took to the soundboards.
The background lights flashed and Houston made some noise, with van Buuren shouting some additional encouragement. You can only guess the sold-out crowd's response. Little did they know that by shouting, they would bring confetti flying at them within the first few minutes of the set.
Van Buuren has been in the electronic-music scene for quite some time. He isn't a youngling like AVICII, but more on par, experience- and agewise, with other DJs such as Benny Benassi and Ferry Corsten. Whether he's older or not, though, the sounds he threw down were fresh and rejuvenating.
He remixed the Killers' "Mr. Brightside," providing lyrics up on the screen for all to sing along. But if it couldn't get better than the night's remixes, the beautiful voice of Skylar Grey in the song "I'm Coming Home" slowly dropped in to surprise us all.
The song's slow, melodic entrance allowed the crowd to sing along, with the screen again providing lyrics. (Just in case one didn't already know them, I suppose.) Hands began to rise straight into the air, with the crowd's faces turned directly toward the light-covered ceiling.
Everyone kept anticipating the drop. Many around me kept saying, "Here it comes...almost there!"
Finally the beat dropped progressively into a trance mix. Smoke shot up into the air, and dancing finally broke out within the ever-so-patient crowd.
I swear Armin is what I would like to call a "DJ tease." Right when everyone expected a beat to drop, he would keep the buildup going just a bit longer. The crowd grew antsy and shouted for the teasing to end.
But as soon as the buildup dropped into a neo-trance tone, the crowd expressed excitement and seemed pleased to finally get what they were waiting for.
As if confetti weren't enough, streamers flew into the sweaty crowd. The streamers stuck to the crowd's bodies, causing some (including myself) to look something like mummies.
Hands flew up in the shape of hearts as Armin brought his set to a finish.
Unlike Rusko, Armin did very little talking and let his music alone speak for itself. Besides, of course, the copious amounts of streamers and confetti tossed upon the crowd.
Personal Bias: It sure was packed and hot in the venue, but it never once distracted me from van Buuren's set. But water was definitely needed.
The Crowd: A wide range in age was seen throughout the venue, but everyone was sweating their asses off regardless of age.
Overheard in the Crowd:: "I can't see" -- mainly said by those who had trouble getting those streamers out of their sweaty faces.
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Random Notebook Dump: Wow, just great! Due to whomping away like the whomping willow in Harry Potter, I lost my favorite ring. Shoot. Sorry if you got hit in the head with a silver ring. (By the way, it's my favorite... Crud!)
Other Random Notebook Dump: Thank goodness my friend was wearing a headband with an orange flower on her head. I might have never found her.