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Photocredit: Doug Van Sant Photography

Just one short week after Armin van Buuren’s 5th artist album came out, he finally touched down in Philadelphia on May 10th. With a completely sold out show of 7000 tickets, extra tickets were an extreme rarity. As a vehicle travelled down Northeast Delaware Avenue, Trevor Guthrie & Armin could be seen smiling from a mile away. Hastily getting ready for the show, he met with several fans for a quick meet & greet backstage behind the massive Festival Pier stage. Meanwhile, supporting talent Antillas was out on the floor by 6:40pm putting out an early start to his signature sound for fans as they walked into the venue. True fans could immediately and easily be spotted as they sang out their hearts to vocals from ‘Trespass‘, ‘Nothing Without Me‘, and ‘Damaged’, perhaps three of the most well-known songs by Antillas.

And just like that.. before we knew it Antillas was waving goodbye as the upfaders on deck ceased to a minimum. I wish I could say silence filled the air in anticipation for the world’s 5-time #1 DJ.. but that simply wasn’t the case. Screaming, chants of ‘Armin! Armin!’ & a variety of incomprehensible noises surrounded us as the clock ticked to 8 o’ clock. The beginning intro of Armin’s title track entitled ‘Intense’ played.. an almost eerie atmosphere as the sky grew darker & the stages lighting reduced to nothing. The only light that could be seen amongst us was the glow of hundreds of phones all recording forward. A special message backed by the sounds of the typewriter filled the LED walls, reminding us that we travel each day in search of special moments.. and that this was going to be one of them. As soon as the main knocking melody of ‘Intense’ started, an eager Armin van Buuren dressed in a “Who’s Afraid of 138?!?!” tee popped up on stage dancing. As part of an ‘Intense’ North American tour, we were greeted with new music including some of my favorites, ‘Alone’ with Laura Evans, or ‘Love Never Came’ with Richard Bedford, and ‘Sound of The Drums’ with Laura Jensen.

Sporting his “Who’s Afraid of 138?!?!” shirt, smiles filled the air as soon as we noticed a tempo change in his set.. getting into the harder iconic sounds of 138bpm trance with his track named “Who’s Afraid of 138”. Continuing on with high-bpm trance, he played special edits of his songs like “Not Giving Up On 3rd Earth” (Armin van Buuren Mashup), “If I Lose Myself Coming Home” (Shura Vlasov Mashup) but was cut short after flashes of light filled the sky. Originally ending at 11:00, Armin’s set was unfortunately cut short as we were evacuated for our safety due to an incoming thunderstorm in the area. Despite the early closing, it was the perfect way to kick off the beginning of the summer as the Festival Pier’s first show of the season. With tons of new signature Armin van Buuren show visuals, special effects & lasers, I can say that you should expect a lot of new surprises this summer.

Where will Armin van Buuren see you next? Perhaps an Armin Only event…?