REVIEW: Armin Only @ MSG 04/11/14 by Michelle Fetky

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Did you ever think you would see the day when the masses rushed to Madison Square Garden for trance? Well, Armin tried it last year for the first time with ASOT 600, only a few weeks after Swedish House Mafia sold out the place. Well once again, on Friday night, the legendary sports center was transformed for the master of trance himself, Armin Van Buuren, who created a club like scene in the massive arena. The Armin Only Intense tour took MSG by storm and put on a trance event unlike any other.

Arriving to MSG was the easy part. Getting in was a whole other story. I finally met up with my friends and we briskly walked over to the back entrance only to find a lengthy line. From 34th street the line wrapped around the block and halfway down 33rd too. After waiting in line for fifteen minutes we were informed that this long and “intense” line was for general admission. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love general admission, but waiting in line for what appeared to be an hour was not appealing. Thankfully my ticket was for section 209. This must have been the first time I was enthusiastic about upper level seats.

Five flights of escalators later, and we finally reached our level. People were scattered everywhere trying to locate their area, but once in your section no one actually paid attention to their seat number and it was a free for all. We picked a row, jammed our stuff in the seats behind us and looked down in awe at the stage below us.

Armin was enclosed in this paper-mâché Lady Gaga-like egg shape during his warm up set. The blue glow coming from the stage outlined his shadow from the inside of the egg. The blue light grew as he mixed in Anjuna in honor of the Above & Beyond Group Therapy tour coming to MSG in October. The mountain like graphics along with his hour warm up set created the mood for the rest of the night.

Good evening New York. Are you ready to be intense with me?“, said Armin, as the egg shaped ball uncovered him. The noise that echoed from the crowd throughout MSG was mind blowing. As the lights beamed into the crowd, the music blared and the party goers at MSG were hypnotized.

 

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I was skeptical about how it would be being in section 209, but it wasn’t bad at all after I overcame the limited dancing space. Even though MSG was a different experience than your typical night at Webster Hall, and there were not many attendees dressed in hardcore rave attire, I did spot some glovers putting on a show.

It was 10:30pm when “Waiting for the Night” came on. Not only that but, beautiful Fiora herself appeared on stage in this flowy dress and began singing. MSG was in a total uproar. The whole night there was an array of performances. Trampoline artists executing back flips and twists, a pianist accompanying the singers, a violinist synchronized with Armin, a drummer smashing it and dancers busting a move in colorful running men outfits. It was like Cirque du Van Buuren. Not only that, but there were also live guest performers during the set, including Trevor Guthrie,  and Richard Bedford, who came out to perform songs like “Beautiful Life,” “This Is What It Feels Like,” and “Alone.” The drummer who played with Armin for “Alone” was remarkable. He literally rocked out for four minutes straight. The whole night was bursting with new tunes along with some of his older songs. Below are a few other notable gems he played:

  • Fat Boy Slim & Riva Star – Eat Sleep Rave Repeat
  • Armin Van Buuren – Sound of the Drums
  • Armin Van Buuren – Save My Night
  • Armin Van Buuren ft. Aruna – Won’t Let You Go
  • Idina Menzel – Let It Go (Armin Van Buuren Remix)
  • Armin Van Buuren & Andrew Rayel – Eiforya
  • Armin Van Buuren Ft. Trevor.Guthrie – This Is What It Feels Like (W&W Remix)
  • Activator – I’m Gonna Diss You Right Now
  • Paul Van Dyk ft. Plumb – I Don’t Deserve You
  • Armin Van Buuren ft. Christian Burns – This Light Between Us

By the time Armin dropped “This Light Between Us,” the whole place was singing the lyrics in unison. It was incredible to know that all these people had likely been listening to Armin from the very beginning. True fans!

A few hours into his set and “Ping Pong” came on. When he dropped it, smoke shot from the stage, the lights were beaming all over, streamers were pouring out and yellow smiley face balloons were showering down over the crowd from the ceiling. It was a true ping pong effect with all the balls being thrown around the crowd.

Rocking the house until 2am, Armin played a solid five hour set. The night was a magnificent representation of music, lights, graphics and guest performances. Armin Van Buuren swept up Madison Square Garden and took everyone on a musical journey. Friday night at The Garden, the music saved our souls, the beat saved our lives, and Armin saved the night!

Michelle Fetky for EDMNYC

//@MichelleFetky

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