As one of the industry’s oldest and biggest names, Armin van Buuren really knows how to put on a show. The trance veteran has been around for a while and has hundreds, if not thousands, of shows under his belt. Although, for someone who’s built up such a big portfolio, it’s been a hot minute since he’s made an appearance in sunny San Diego.
Late last year, Armin released his massive 28-track album, Balance. Not long after, the artist set off on his U.S. tour and visited major cities all across the nation. He wrapped up his tour last week with a handful of shows in California, including one at San Diego’s SOMA.
SOMA is located in Point Loma, right down the street from Pechanga Arena. For first comers, it can be hard to find since the entrance is quite a ways from the street. Once you get inside, everything is relatively close. Artist merch is usually located at the front, right when you walk inside. The main room with the stage is only a couple steps away, and a make-shift bar area is located at the back in an adjacent room. Designated smoking areas and bathrooms are right around the corner.
At first, I thought SOMA was an odd venue for the trance legend. The only other show I’ve attended there was a smaller local show, so I didn’t know what to expect. But leave it to the trance family to pack the building. The narrow, but long size of the venue worked well with Armin’s production, which altogether created an underground warehouse vibe. At one point, I actually felt like I was underwater as the blue lasers grazed the ceiling and reflected off the smoke in the room.
Armin brought a ton of support on his U.S. tour. Considering the magnitude of the album, of course Armin and his production team had to bring that same essence into the live show. Notably, we need to give a round of applause to the lights team – the lasers turned Armin’s set to a multi-sense experience.
The opener DJ started off the night relatively mellow to set the stage for Armin’s upbeat performance. Additionally, Armin brought out multiple guest singers to perform some of his tracks on his Balance album, including Candace Sosa and Avalan. Sosa’s vocals are used in one of my favorite tracks on the album, ‘Runaway’, whereas Avalan is featured in ‘Sucker For Love’.
Armin van Buuren
From start to finish, Armin had an incredible energy during his performance. He opened up the night with ‘La Résistance De L’Amour’; as one of his more upbeat and harder tracks on the Balance album, it was the perfect way to start his show.
He continued the momentum as he curated seamless transitions from high-energy beats to darker synths to uplifting melodies. One of my favorite moments was when he played his collaboration track with Above & Beyond, ‘Show Me Love’.
Overall, Armin brought an energy to his set that has been unmatched in all the previous trance sets I’ve seen. You could feel Armin’s positive spirited energy radiating off stage, which bounced off the energy of the crowd. Considering how long he’s been producing and performing, it is not surprising he knows how to capture the attention of the room. All in all, this overdue visit was well worth the wait.
Although he just put the close to his Balance chapter, Armin has been preparing for his next milestone radio show tour, A State Of Trance 950. The tour is kicking off in Utrecht this Saturday, February 15th, and will feature many artists off the recently released ASOT 950 official album.
Europeans, it’s your turn now! Be sure to grab your tickets here.