Note To The Reader:
1. Contrary to your expectation, the word ‘intense’ hasn’t been used in this review to describe any aspect of the performance.
2. It’s impossible to write about the memorable night without giving a brief introduction about what Armin van Buuren and his music mean to me.
Music undoubtedly impacts every life in some way or another, but only a handful of people can actually say that an artist has significantly changed the course of their lives. Armin van Buuren has been that figure in mine. ‘In & Out of Love’ was the first track I heard in 2010, and since then I have been a devoted follower of this trance virtuoso. Thanks to attending his concert last year and writing about it, I landed my first job as a writer. When I first saw Armin in 2013, little did I know that I’d be entering another concert a year later on a ‘crew’ pass. More on that in another blog.
I was an hour late to the venue, and the long queue at the box office only made it worse! I heard a guy standing behind me in the queue tell his friend that Armin has already taken over the decks. I panicked. I finally got hold of my wrist-band and rushed inside. I scurried in only to find that the decks were empty, but I immediately recognized the track playing. It was Cindy Alma’s voice – Don’t Want To Fight Love Away! Obviously that guy in the queue was either really bored or just trolling.
There’s just something about entering an already-packed venue – you find an involuntary smile appearing on your face! I tried to make my way to the front, but the furthest I could get was right in the midst of the venue. Armin was about to come on stage through the lit-up sphere, and being short wasn’t quite a boon at this moment. I got onto my friend’s shoulder and saw my idol in flesh. Even though this wasn’t the first time, I couldn’t believe my eyes! The thought of watching him play until midnight made me smile ear to ear.
The vocalists among the group I was most looking forward to hear were Fiora and Richard Bedford, although each one of them was truly spectacular! I was quite stirred by Laura Jansen’s performance that night. A moment that left me spellbound was the gorgeous Lauren Evans singing ‘Alone’ – one of my favorite tracks from the album. Also, after having performed with Armin on stage several times in the past, Trevor Guthrie and the Dutch DJ have developed a very ‘bro-like’ chemistry that cannot go unnoticed!
While the vocalists played their part, what went on simultaneously around them propelled the experience to a new level altogether! The sight of the extremely talented dancers and the acrobats on the colossal trampoline was bewitching. Also, that magnificent sphere which no one could get their eyes off deserves a special mention.
The sheer size of the stage and the way in which the space was utilized was exemplary! A piano on one side and a set of drums on the other, outstanding lighting and also an astronomic beating heart in the middle of the stage. The screen was in all its glory throughout the night – 3D visuals created a whole uplifting world around Armin. At that point I realized how impeccable the stadium at NSCI was for a spectacle like this! These pictures should explain:
Almost every track from Armin’s latest album was dropped that night, including the bonus track ‘Humming The Lights’ and the latest ‘Save My Night’. But what got me in the highest of spirits was the latter half of his set which consisted of all the classics I was yearning to hear – In & Out Of Love, Broken Tonight, Fine Without You, Burned With Desire and Not Giving Up On Us. And of course, there’s always the element of surprise with The Dutch Armada, who found the perfect time to drop ‘Animals’ and ‘If I Lose Myself’ in his set!
‘Ping Pong’ was the climax of the night. The enormous yellow ping-pong balls had everyone smiling and jumping higher than ever!
To be honest, the five hours that I was at the SVP Stadium felt like a mere two hours… perhaps because I couldn’t get enough of it. When all the performers came together in the end to take a bow, something strange and inexplicable happened. I was overwhelmed and found myself crying uncontrollably. That night was surreal. Our first ever Armin Only concert has put India on the global map of world class production! And this is only the beginning. 2014 is going to be a year where organizers up their game and offer you an unparalleled experience.
On a final note I’d like to say, turn your passion into your profession and you’d be surprised to see the outcome of it! There’s no satisfaction like doing what you love.
A big shout out to Sunburn, Alda Events, and my dear friend who introduced me to Armin’s music!
(Cover image courtesy: Sunburn)