VIEW PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT HERE.
On Saturday, March 30, 2013, history made once again at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, the same arena to host artists like Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, John Lennon, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Guns ‘N Roses, Depeche Mode, and Metallica. Armin van Buuren brought the 600th episode of A State of Trance radio show to Madison Square Garden, marking a major stepping stone for electronic music and showing the world that music truly does unite.
Doors opened at 7 p.m. while Armin played a warm-up set, but most arrived around 8 to catch Alex M.O.R.P.H.. M.O.R.P.H. has always been a power-player in the trance community, never afraid to stray from the normal melodic vibes to surprise fans. Thousands of ears trembled to the sounds of C’hantal’s The Realm, a 1992 vinyl classic identifiable by probably a third of the ravers swarming MSG. Fittingly, Alex M.O.R.P.H.’s New York City and Andrew Rayel’s remix of An Angel’s Love followed, readying us for The Expedition.
Next on deck was Dutch duo W&W, who opened with signature track Lift Off before transitioning into Dear New York by Firebeatz, a mashup that got the entire stadium on their feet. Labeled as “the true rising stars of trance” by Armin himself, W&W are always a joy to hear live with their electrifying modern twist on today’s progressive trance melodies. We were subject to just that this past Saturday, aside from the minor speaker shortage where surround sound was troubled for ten minutes. Thankfully, Willem and Ward were solid in their rescue with The Code strung into an extended mashup of Leon Bolier’s Disco 47 into Ben Gold vs Martin Garrix & Jay Hardaway – Fall with Error.
At the end of W&W’s set, the lights faded and anime graphics of a handsome duo shined bright on the jumbo LED screen behind the decks. Madison Square Garden was about to witness the world debut of New World Punx, a powerful collaboration between Markus Schulz and Ferry Corsten. Thousands stood at attention when debut single Romper came through the sound system. Listeners from Bali, Dubai, Mexico City, Paris, Sao Paola, Mumbai, and beyond listened in on a livestream as New World Punx slayed every unicorn in sight with Crank by Jacob van Hage and Ferry Corsten’s Kudawudashuda. They made our hearts skip a beat with classics like Storm Chaser by Cosmic Gate, and a mashup of Fortuna and Nothing Without Me. Lasers and confetti decorated The New World 2013 closing, then stadium lights dropped and every heart stopped.
Surprisingly, white doves did not flourish the 820,000 square foot arena when the intricate chords of Adagio for Strings floated out of the sound system at 11:30 p.m. A white shadow glistened from center stage–the shadow of a man who blessed us with 600 episodes of melodic gold, the same man who carries one of the most successful labels in dance music today, Armada. There he was, standing before 13,500 people in the world’s most famous arena, ready to change our lives once more in just ninety minutes.
The journey started with the heavy tempo of Beat Service’s remix of Armin and Fiora’s Waiting For The Night, followed by the unforgettable words of Andrew Rayel’s remix of Clarity. If you were questioning whether this moment was actually happening, Armin’s remix of Zedd’s Spectrum tiptoeing into Emma Hewitt’s angelic voice in Forever Is Ours certainly served as the “pinch” to make sure this was moment was real. W&W joined Armin on stage while D# Fat had the whole stadium screaming. What really marked this momentous time was Gaia’s Tuvan, where Armin waved his arms from side to side and the entire arena followed like a loyal trance army. Changing classics Communication and Armin’s Airport Shivers mashup unsurprisingly presented themselves to help fans new and old understand why trance really has impacted music for the long haul.
ASOT 600 anthem The Expedition eloquently flowed into Boom by MaRLo, and then the mashup king continued to galvanize our senses with Solarstone vs. Sophie Ellis-Bextor‘s Not Giving Up On 3rd Earth into Rapha’s Nice vs I’ll Listen, followed by fan-favorite In & Out Of Love vs Raw Deal. These signature tunes followed by a jaw-dropping Concrete Brute would have made for an exceptional close, but it wasn’t until Trevor Guthrie took the stage to perform Armin’s newest hit This Is What It Feels Like, that MSG’s TranceFamily knew that this legendary night of dance music was soon coming to a close.
“The highlight of my career was playing Madison Square Garden. New York, there is ONE person that I really want to thank, and that person is YOU!” - Armin van Buuren