Armin Only Intense Tour, Johannesburg South Africa - Concert Review
After the much awaited arrival and as part of his world tour made up of 18 countries, Armin Van Buuren finally arrived and opened to a packed audience of over 17000 at the Coca-cola Dome in Johannesburg, South Africa on the 14th of June 2014. 
 
How the evening unfolded: 
We arrived early, and made sure we had the best seats in the house (and by seats I mean standing of course) right against the railing and dead centre of where we believed he’d appear and be standing for the evening. 
 
During the two hours that we sat and waited for him to appear on stage, we listened to a number of acoustic dance tracks, compiled by Armin’s brother Eller van Buuren, all this time feeling the energy and excitement mount. Trading stories and anticipations for the evening with fellow fans.
success, Air Supply released their self-titled debut album in 1977, which they took on a national tour.  
At 20:00 the suspended hanging balloon dropped down to stage level, and Armin’s real-life shadow appeared and greeted the crowd, to much applause and he began the 1st hour’s ‘warm up’ set.

A set where we could hear him playing, but only occasionally got to see his shadow inside the large white balloon with a number of his signature poses (pointing to heaven, arms stretched out sideways and so on). 
 
Just before 21:00 is when all the real excitement began. The once white balloon now ‘came to life’ as it spun and began to radiate a variety of electric colours.

As the music climbed in intensity, ‘naked’ dancers rose up from beneath it as Armin’s voice echoed out “All we can do is be who we are, all we can do is be where we are, all we can really do is be. So be intense with me”. Then the dancers disappeared off stage, and two large hands appeared on the back screen and began ‘lifting’ the now glowing ball to reveal Armin van Buuren standing beneath it.
The chanting, screaming and applauding by the crowd led to further excitement and Armin stepped forward to take up yet another stance with him pointing to the heavens as the opening track of his album began to build.

Moments later, the all too familiar violin tune of the signature piece of the title track intense bellowed out and on stage in real life form was Israeli born Miri Ben-Ari, playing with such finesse and ease bringing the haunting tune to life. 
 
Armin then took over again, and as the music built, he motioned to the crowd to dance and jump, at which point the crowd went insane and cheered even louder than before. 
 
Armin was on stage for a full 6-hour set which lasted from 20:00 to 02:00 in the morning, during which the crowd never let up once. Armin van Buuren, who started playing music at the tender young age of 14 years kept the audience entertained and totally engaged with a fusion of dance, classic and rock pieces all interwoven perfectly into place and strung together through trance.
Live performances included a guitar solo by Eller van Buuren, playing guitar to “Here we are to make some noise” as it spat out fireworks. Trevor Guthrie singing ‘This is what it feels like”, Cindy Alma singing “Beautiful life”, Lauren Evans singing “Alone”, and Lauren Jansen singing “Sound of the drums” and “Use somebody”, Richard Bedford singing “Love never came” to name but a few. All performers either popped up on stage, or from time to time on a variety of different raised platforms located through out the crowd. 
 
Armin also played a number of tracks from his earlier works spanning 22 years. One of which was “Ping Pong” to which a number of giant sized yellow balloons fell from the ceiling and landed on the crowd, keeping everyone engaged, and hitting them around to the beat of the music. 
 
With one hour left of the show, the music suddenly stopped, and the lights went out, Armin was gone, and it seemed as if the show was over. The crowd stood chanting “Armin, Armin, Armin”.
And just then before we knew it, he appeared behind us on an even smaller stage that no one had seen earlier, waving a record in the air and telling us that the next part of the show would be a 45 minute set of him playing on vinyl. Once again the crowd went ballistic, and for 45 minutes non-stop Armin van Buuren continued to mix tunes ‘old-school’ on vinyl. 
 
This was an absolute treat, and a superb way to end the show. And then, just like that it was over, and in the blink of an eye, the performance we had all been waiting for was done.
“This is just what I really want. It’s not just love for music, it’s my passion. It goes beyond liking, and beyond a hobby — it’s about a way of living. Music is essential to my life.” ~ Armin van Buuren 
 
Author: Ceri G. James for SA Music News Magazine / Photos by Magz Tilling© for SA Music News Magazine™
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