Armin Only: Intense

Armin van Buuren
Armin van Buuren was in Toronto last night for his epic Armin Only: Intense show. Glen and I had been to a similar one a few years ago in Melbourne. When the Toronto show was announced last year, I was very tempted to buy a ticket then. However, as it would take place over Easter, there was the chance we might be elsewhere. But it worked out we’d be in town so I bought us some tickets.

Usually these things don’t really kick off until 10pm, with the DJ not taking to the stage until after midnight. This would mean staying out until about 5am. However, things were done a bit differently. Yesterday afternoon I found a web page that said “What to expect from Armin Only”, which said doors open at 8, Armin starts at 9 and he’s done by 2am.

For grandpas like Glen and I, it was a welcome discovery. Staying out until 4 or 5am just about slaughters us now. It’s doable, especially when it’s a top night, but the days after a bit painful as we try to regain lost sleep.

So we set out a little after 8, expecting we’d get into the convention centre by 9. Dave, a friend in Toronto, decided at the last minute to come along so he went earlier to get a ticket from the door – then had to go home to pick up his ID. By the time he returned, Glen and I were still in the queue to get in.

I’ve never been in a queue this long. It stretched down the street and around the corner, nearly circumnavigating the whole block. Still, people were in a good mood and we chatted to the party-goers in front and behind us. It took about 45 minutes to get into the venue. Queues for the toilets were long too as there was only one non-VIP male toilet for the however many thousands of males in there that night.

Armin van Buuren

Armin mostly played songs from his new album, Intense, of which I only know a few songs. I should have familiarised myself with a few of the others, however, what I did hear, I still liked.

There were lots of live performances, which were really good. We’ve heard some live singers at this type of event before and they’ve generally been terribly flat. Not so at Armin Only. There were four (I think) female singers, two male singers, a guitarist (Armin’s brother), a drummer and a basist. There were also four dancers (two boys, two girls) and two trampolinists/gymnasts. That’s quite a cast to cart around the world.

As well as his new stuff, Armin also played a few oldies at the end, including Rapture and Burned With Desire, which I thought was a great way to wind down the night.

The crowd wasn’t too bad. Lots of hot, barely dressed men (and women I suppose). Unfortunately, there were quite a few smokers in the ground. Like back home it’s forbidden to smoke indoors but there were a lot of people there who just did what they want. Glen and I are definitely not used to cigarette smoke any more (which is a good thing). Also, after about five hours, some people start to smell and when they’re waving their arms in the air, it can be a bit…oppressive.

But the night was grand. It would have been more fun with our crew from back home but we still had a good time and we were glad we went. Trance music, particularly the euphoric vocal stuff, always makes me joyful.

Afterwards, we walked all the way from Union Station to our apartment. It wasn’t too chilly out and it helped work out the legs which had mostly been standing in the one spot throughout the night.

Armin van Buuren

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