As the curtain descended at A State of Trance 750, the bright house lights shone upon the crowd signaling the end of the night. After a few days had passed post-ASOT 750, it finally sank in as to what has just happened on my doorstep. Armin van Buuren brought trance music into the well-deserved spotlight. Trance music has always had a special place in Toronto but never has it been broadcasted on such a large scale like it was at the Enercare Centre last weekend.
The Enercare Centre opened to the eager Trance fans shortly after 6PM. The early birds to the event were treated to an Armin Van Buuren warm-up set as the crowd filled in. The warm-up consisted of very progressive content that shows another side of Armin; a side that is not usually heard. The warm-up seemed ever so short, but it transitioned perfectly to the next artist on the set list, Solid Stone.
Hailing from Montreal, Canada, Solid Stone was very progressive in the start of his set and proceeded to move into deeper and punchier selections. Solid Stone is a contender for possibly one of the best sets of the evening; his hypnotizing mixing style was a masterpiece, leaving the crowd and myself utterly speechless.
Next up in the ASOT 750 Celebration was Ben Gold. He opened up his set with the epic choirs in the track Until We Meet Again with Gareth Emery. Ben Gold, being a veteran of the trance music scene, expertly controls the crowd with an incredibly driving track selection. His energy was ever present throughout his set with several mashups like his Lethal Industry vs Madagascar mix by Tiesto vs Art of Trance & Richard Durand. What sent shock waves through the crowd was Ben Gold’s remix of Tokyo by Gareth Emery, this was unleashed after his ASOT 750 Anthem in his set and left a lasting impression of the young Brit.
Moving further into the evening we reach the prime time slot artists, the first of whom was Ian Standerwick. Having witnessed Standerwick completely crush Dreamstate in San Bernardino California not long ago, I personally had high expectations for him to live up to. Standerwick opens in a flame of energy powered by volatile psychedelic trance, choosing his entrance track to be Vini Vici‘s very popular remix of Hilight Tribe‘s Free Tibet. He kept up the psy driven tracks up until mid way in his set when he shifted gears with his remix of Find Yourself by John O’Callaghan featuring Sarah Howlells. Standerwick led us into more synth driven tracks leading up to the climax of the set, his track All Of Us featuring Jennifer Rene.
Orjan Nilsen finally stepped up to the stage which was just set ablaze by Standerwick. Probably one of the most discussed artists at recent events, Orjan’s sets have been quite enjoyable, including the one at Dreamstate San Bernadino. For this set in Toronto at ASOT 750, Orjan delivered a set to appeal to all of the attending fans. He played his own classics like XING and Violetta, along with some of his newer releases. The most surprising song to hear in his ASOT set had to be his remix of Tiesto’s Just Be. With the pyrotechnics and lighting production firing off right in sync to the track the atmosphere was as incredible as the song itself.
The stage was then set for Andrew Rayel, a name we know well from the tracks in Armin’s weekly radio show. The stage production came alive for the final hours of the show, as lasers were starting to shoot across the convention center. Andrew Rayel’s sound has definitely changed since I have first heard him back in 2013. He played a favourite Rayel track of mine, How Do I Know featuring Jano, but what was most surprising to hear in his set was Simon Patterson‘s release featuring Lucy Pullin, Now I can Breathe Again. Rayel has come a long way from what he was just a few years ago, but we can all appreciate that he brings in a large crowd for his performances.
The final act of the evening at any given ASOT party always is performed by the radio show’s own host, and mastermind behind the entire series, Armin Van Buuren. Having heard his warm-up set earlier and his Guvernment Finale set just a year prior, I’m sure I was not the only one wondering how he would close this event. Full production power was used for Armin’s set; not one light, laser, smoke machine, or pyrotechnics was left untouched. Armin delivered a high-energy set where a couple songs really caught my attention. Gouryella Anahera is always a welcome song in a trance set, and had everyone in their state of trance. Then the Rising Star featuring Betsie Larkin song Safe Inside You was also mixed in. It was the final song of Armin’s set which really brought the crowd together as Armin laid the brilliant classic track mashup of Photographer vs Armin Van Buuren Airport Shivers on us all.
A State of Trance