Trance fanatics are a unique bunch even in the EDM world. Our music holds a slightly longer shelf life than our immediate fist-pumping brethren, we take great pride in using song descriptors often deemed too frou-frou for normal consumption, and instead of looking forward for the newest “it” sounds, we often tend to do the opposite. We find enjoyment by looking backwards.
We take into account history and context, always with the classics in hand. Those piano melodies give us a familiar comfort. The melodic runs might seem out of date for some at the mainstage, but they always grab ahold tightly. The way the synth pads open up, going from soft plucks to mid-stride notes, the all-too-familiar kick drums and drum breaks — It has us feeling like we’re elevated to higher planes, riding on waves of emotion and expression.
That’s what trance does. It allows your mind to return to a place of familiarity, a mental space that holds you closely and allows you to disconnect safely. Even when the sound goes from uplifting to hard, you still feel euphoria, because you’re familiar with this feeling. You can read it as you would a book, watching the story unfold page by page, beat by beat, echo by echo. There it is. You remember now. You remember why you’re so drawn to this music. Because you love a well-crafted storyline. You love a compelling introduction. You crave suspense, development, and the release! And with great enthusiasm you were reminded this past Labor Day Weekend just who stands at the pinnacle of recreating these feelings: the ultimate storyteller, Armin Van Buuren.
You probably walked into Jochen Miller’s ultra hard-hitting set coming straight from the Palladium’s lobby bar. Something was amiss. You looked at your drink in hand while listening to JM’s seriously spastic set, with deeply rich basslines that shook your body like the shakings of a glass of water, rippling from the steps of a giant robot. Wait, my cocktail is actually rippling in the cup? My God, you think, I really should buy ear plugs next time. But let’s face it: you never do.
Jochen is playing amazing music, but the lights are dimmed. The crowd is going nuts, screaming for Armin while JM throws hard anthem after hard anthem. That’s not disrespect; they’re letting Jochen know that he’s creating a beautiful buzz. Those LEDs aren’t dead; they’re being held, locked and loaded, ready to fire as soon as the Trance God finally takes the stage.
And then, there he is. As fog sprays outward, he strikes his signature pose. Arms outstretched, eyes directed to the roof of the building, as if he’s subtly directing your consciousness to raise itself to new heights as he leads you down the familiar path. The LED screens flash to life and you’re engulfed in a spectrum of colorful hues. You recall watching Armin’s Youtube video explaining how he controls visuals in real time while he DJs to ensure no show will ever be a repeat performance, and for the next three hours until the Palladium’s doors close at 4, there’s nothing to do but listen to this man’s story.
We really did feel privileged to host Armin’s two back-to-back shows at the Palladium last week. Both nights were jam-packed, and the set lists were distinctly different from one another. (See our fan ID’d set list for Thursday’s show below.) No repeats here. A different night requires different narration, with Thursday being a harder night and Friday focusing on more anthemic breakdowns to allow for greater audience participation.
And as each night closes with their respective signature songs, “Every Other Way” on Thursday and “Going Wrong” on Friday, you’re reminded by AVB just why you consider trance your religion, and why he stands a cut above.
Andrew Rayel feat. Jano — How Do I Know (Armin van Buuren Intro Edit)
Velvetine - The Great Divide
Jaytech feat. Steve Smith — Stranger (Kyau & Albert Remix)
Gareth Emery - ID
Above & Beyond vs W&W - Thing called Spaceman mashup
Zedd - Spectrum (Feat. Matthew Koma) (Armin van Buuren Remix)
Dash Berlin feat. Emma Hewitt — Like Spinning Plates (Alexander Popov Remix)
BT vs Norin & Rad - The Emergency Gift (Myon & Shane 54 Mashup)
W&W & Jochen Miller - Summer
Armin van Buuren feat. Ana Criado — I’ll Listen
Armin van Buuren - Suddenly Summer(Norin & Rad remix)
Armin van Buuren - Fine without you(sied van riel remix)
Beat Service - Fortuna
Armin van Buuren & Orjan Nilsen - Belter
Armin Van Buuren - J’ai Envie De Toi(Tom Fall remix)
Markus Schulz, Elevation & KhoMha - Triotonic
KhoMha - Mind Gamer
Alex M.O.R.P.H. — Eternal Flame
Gaia - Tuvan
Mark Burton vs Sunlounger — Try Understatement To Be Love (Armin van Buuren Mash Up)
Ram – RAMsterdam (Jorn van Deynhoven Remix)
Armin van Buuren - Communication Part 3
Armin van Buuren & Ferry Corsten - Brute(Illegal drums edit)
Armin van Buuren - Burned with Desire(Rising Star remix)
Sasha Carassi & Mikael Jonasson — Void vs Gaia — Status Excessu D with Thriller a capella (Armin van Buuren Mash Up)
Armin van Buuren vs John O’Callaghan - In & Out of a Raw Deal(Armin van Buuren Mash Up)
BT ft. JES - EVERY OTHER WAY(ARMIN VAN BUUREN REMIX)
By Tim Wut