REVIEW: Armin van Buuren @ Sound Academy 11-05-2013 by Derek Yeung


Its always the indescribably special moments that linger in our memories. The moments of utter joy, happiness, satisfaction and of pure bliss are what we cherish most.  Those same words can be used to describe the unforgettable night that was Saturday, May 11th, where we saw the return of the one and only, Armin van Buuren, at Sound Academy for his Intense album tour.

Sound Academy is far removed from the entertainment district in downtown Toronto and is typically a more traditional concert venue.  However, with the increasing demand of DJ events, event promoters such as Ink Entertainment will look to a large complex like this to accommodate the crowds.  The venue is a large rectangle with bars along the side and back which proved to be a pretty good venue for the very large crowd that we all know Armin will draw.

Source: The Guvernment/Visualbass Photography
Walking in to the venue, I could already feel the buzz of anticipation in the air.  The excitement flowing through trance fans for what lies ahead was evident. Unfortunately I did miss the opening set of the energetic and much loved Deko-ze, but was relieved to have made it in just in time to hear Antillas drop one of my personal favourites, Tiesto’s Just Be.   This was a good indicator that the night was off to a great start as I did not know what to expect, having never heard Antillas live.  When I first heard that he would be opening for Armin, I was absolutely thrilled, especially since I’ve taken a huge liking to his remixes as of late.  The Italian DJ & Producer dropped some very recognizable tunes, such as his remix of Dash Berlin’s Silence in Your Heart, W&W’s Moscow, Hardwell’s Apollo, his own track Damaged featuring Fiora, and an instant crowd pleaser, his own remix of Markus Schulz’s Nothing Without Me.  As satisfying as his set was, I was a little disappointed to hear parts of the crowd start to chant Armin’s name long before Antillas’s set was over, which (in my opinion) showed a lack of appreciation for the DJ that is still on. On one occasion at around the midpoint of his set, Antillas himself even shook his head in discomfort during the chants for Armin. However, for the most part, the majority of the crowd were too busy dancing and enjoying the incredible set of his so I’m sure Antillas knew it was only small parts of the crowd doing the chanting.  I was extremely pleased to hear him close off his set with an epic favourite of mine, Nic Chagall’s This Moment as it was probably one of the most memorable moments for me during his set.

One o’clock in the morning had arrived quickly and it was time for Armin to hit the decks. With the Intense intro playing, the lights dimmed, you could just feel the anticipating growing by the second with the entire crowd beginning to chant Armin’s name in unison.  Finally, with that time upon us, Armin suddenly appeared; his arms spread wide, lights glaring and with the Intense beat kicking, confetti shot down from above into the crowd sparking what would end up being an epic 3 hour set by trance music’s number one man.  From the start of his set to the closing track at 4am, Armin had the crowd going wild with tracks like Andrew Rayel’s remix of Zedd’s Clarity, a remix of Man on the Run, Orjan Nilsen’s Violetta, J’ai Envie de Toi, Paul Van Dyk’s I  Don’t Deserve You and The Expedition.  The first hour of his set was dominated by tracks from his new artist album, such as: Forever is Ours with Emma Hewitt, Alone with Laura Evans, Love Never Came featuring Richard Bedford, Sound of the Drums with Laura Jansen and we were blessed with having a surprise live performance by Trevor Guthrie for the track This is What it Feels Like which had the entire crowd singing along.

Source: The Guvernment/Visualbass Photography
About an hour and 45 minutes into his set Armin switched things into high gear, speeding it up for those who aren’t afraid of 138 with mashups like fan favourite Armin vs. PhotographerAirport Shivers, the euphoric Armin vs. Arctic Moon vs. One RepublicIf I Lose Myself Coming Home, the killer Brian Cameron vs. Jase Therwall vs. ShogunFreaked Serotonin Skyfire and the massive Armin vs. Alex M.O.R.P.H.An Angels Love vs. Communication which had the crowd in a frenzy.

Armin van Buuren’s 5th time atop the DJ MAG world rankings should come as no surprise. His ability to assemble an exceptional set that takes the crowd on a journey is something truly magical and was displayed in the 3 hour set that he spun.  At the end of his set, we were brought to a moment that most hope for: a final song that brings us that feeling of nostalgia and utter satisfaction with his rework of Laura Jansen’s Use Somebody.  Of course, no closing set is truly complete without an encore, which then saw Armin play This is What it Feels Like one last time.  Armin jumped on the microphone to give a big thank you to the Toronto trance family and gave a massive shout out to the ASOT 650 Toronto campaigners by saying “…and to you guys campaigning for ASOT 650 , I can’t make any promises but we’ll see what we can do”.  Awesome.

Source: The Guvernment/Visualbass Photography
In the end, the emotions felt at Armin’s show created moments that will mark this as night to cherish for a lifetime by many.  A special thank you goes to Ink Entertainment and Sound Academy for booking this incredible event and to the entire ASOT 650 campaigning team for all your continued hard work and dedication to help turn Toronto into one big dance floor.

Derek Yeung  EDM TOR


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