Kygo & Armin van Buuren Were Pure Dance Music Fire at Festival Pier Last Night

I have to confess-I wasn’t going to write a review about last night’s Kygo & Armin van Burren outdoor dance music spectacle that took place at Festival Pier last night. It’s not because I’m feeling those $13.00 beers I drank, no, it’s because there are truly no words to fully describe the dance music fire that ignited the Philly riverfront last night. 

Taking place on an evening that will probably go down as one of the most gorgeous Philly nights of the fall, Tropical House guru Kygo opened the show with an island laced set of some of his hottest grooves and remixes, including crowd pleaser “Stole the Show,” all while serving us with his Banana Boat buffet of beats that got the packed Pier even more hype for what was to come from the trance music power of Mr. van Buuren. 

After Kygo said his goodbyes, (he was quite friendly and interactive with crowd, only further cementing his rising red-hot dance music status.) a very brief moment in music time passed and Armin took the headphones–and here it is again-no words. Truly, you just can’t describe his thunderous, explosive two-hour set (a shorter trance music affair for him) that was just packed with some of his most tranced up werk, as well as a destructive handful of new bangers from his upcoming Inside set. 

Besides dazzling the energetic Philly crowd, (who were a spectacular audience…you could just feel it in the delicious October night air) the legendary DJ also brought with him a shimmering array of lasers and light show shenanigans that just pierced through your music soul like you were living in the video for Jennifer Lopez’s classic, green laser-ed up “Waiting For Tonight” clip. 

But if there’s one element of the night that made this show one of the most memorable outdoor concerts of the season, was that Mr. Van Burren just knows how to work and highly please his crowd. Constantly conversing with his hungry Philly audience while giant screens behind him flashed “Make Some Noise Philadelphia”–and we most certainly did. 

But the real truth of Mr. van Buuren is that you could tell he just loves what he does and that he takes pride in taking his audience on a journey to make us feel the emotion of the music in the same way he clearly does. There’s a reason why Armin van Buuren is the most famous DJ in the world, and that reason–and quite a few more–were on fine, fiery display last night at Festival Pier. 




Rewerk Wednesday/Armin van Buuren

It’s time to get rewerked by DJ Armin van Buuren…

Highly regarded as one of the world’s biggest names in dance music, progressive trance DJ and producer Armin van Buuren has made that name for himself as a cinematic sound pioneer who enjoys worldwide recognition and a funkdafied frantic schedule that has him spinning it out all over the music globe.

Born on Christmas Day (a true music gift) 1976, in Leiden, Holland, Mr. van Buuren became intrigued by music at an early age due to his father being an aggressive record buyer. Through close friends, Armin was introduced to the world of dance music, and Dutch DJ and remixer Ben Liebrand quickly became his turntable inspiration. This would lead the DJ to be curious about the groundwerk of  electronic music, and he soon began studying the structure and formats of the records put out by Jarre and Schulze. He then began purchasing his first sets of computers and turntables with creating music becoming his first priority…as it should be. 

In 1995, van Buuren studied at Leiden University, and as music luck would have it, a local student organization provided the venues for his first DJ gigs. That same year he continued to thrive as some of his destructive demos were included on compilations, and when the royalties started coming in, the living, legendary DJ put it back into producing 12″ records. Dance label Cyber Records released his first hit, “Blue Fear,” in 1995, and just a few short years later, his “Communication” anthem was shimmering  enough to get him signed to AM:PM. He would soon go on to form his own label, Armind, in 1999 and met Dave Lewis, the mogul responsible for igniting the fiery careers of DJ Tiësto and Ferry Corsten. In fact, it was Armin’s collaboration with Tiësto, “Eternity,” that became his biggest hit, while at the same he was creating marathon five-hour sets that would soon become his trademark. 

After cooking up some high-profile mix CDS and serving us with classic remixes of Madison Avenue’s “Don’t Call Me Baby” and Wamdue Project’s “King of My Castle,” Armin placed number five in DJ Magazine’s Top 100 and began hosting his own weekly show on the Dutch ID&T radio station. His biggest accomplishment came in the end of 2003, where he somehow found the time to set the worldwide record for longest DJ set (12-and-a-half hours at a club in The Hague), earn his law degree, and release his first non-mix CD, 76.

Keeping on his dance music journey, follow-up, Shivers, was released in 2005, with Imagine arriving in 2008. His next record, Mirage, co-starred strobe-lit diva Sophie Ellis-Bextor along with fellow producers BT and Ferry Corsten. After endless mix albums, van Buuren returned to the scene in 2013, which would include his annual contributions to the A State of Trance series. Just this year, his oh, so Intense album got rewerked and expanded as Intense: The Most Intense Edition, a dazzling set that turned the original LP into a four-CD/one-DVD box featuring remixes and recordings of his world-famous live gigs. 

These days, the European trance king is still going strong and has long since been recognized as one of the world’s best performers in the electronic music world. With his pulsating weekly radio show, van Buuren has developed a tremendous international following that has led him to play nearly 120 shows in the last 12 months ranging all the way from Kuala Lumpur to Oakland to Philly, in which he’ll be playing Festival Pier tomorrow night for a show that will not only school the audience in trance music, but one that will put his fine music truth on display to prove he’s just that DJ.

As if we needed anymore convincing.