Armin van Buuren at the Oakland Fox Theater for the Intense Album Tour a day after Cinco de Mayo was a night to remember. From beginning to end, it was an evening filled with special moments where everyone—including Armin—seemed to be overwhelmed by the thrill that swept through the venue. Kicking off at 7 pm with groups of attendees eagerly making their way through the doors and straight towards the stage, it didn't take long for a sense of excitement to spread across the floor. And that feeling only intensified as day became night and the evening sky was replaced with a spacious and dimly lit auditorium theater that quickly transformed into an array of illuminated outfits, smoke and spectacular stage lighting.
Kicking off the night was Antillas of Armada Records and although many still had yet to arrive, Antillas had several hundred partygoers dancing and cheering to remixes like “This Moment” by Nic Chagall and Delerium’s “Silence.”
As more people were coming in, I took a moment to get acquainted with a few individuals…many of whom drove two and three hours from all direction to get into Oakland. Not West, of course. I even came across a couple just a fwe minutes before Armin van Buuren was set to go on stage that just relocated, like a day before, from the Netherlands to the Bay Area, and said they would not miss Armin’s performance for anything in the world.
Around 9 pm conversations came to a halt and everyone seemed to turn towards the stage in unison as cheers began to break out from all directions when the giant monitors lit up… it was time to start the show as a message from Armin flashed across the screen: "Hello Oakland. You travel each day in search of those special moments, those moments when it all makes sense, where you feel one with the universe, where you feel the pulse of intense light.” As the message faded, the stage lights began to glow and Armin appeared out of the shadows to an eruption of cheers inside a sold out theater.
Armin began with “Intense” off his new album, which perfectly captured the energy and atmosphere in the room. The entire place went wild and I vividly recount seeing a glaze over the eyes of partygoers as they immersed themselves in the progressive trance rhythm they have come to love.
Singer/songwriter Lauren Evans taking the stage to perform “Alone” was a great surprise. She pretty much swept the crowd off their feet with an amazing performance, made real obvious by the thunderous cheers as everyone danced along. Lauren Evan wasn't the only curveball tagging along on the tour; we were also happy and surprised to see live performances by Laura Jansen (“Sound Of The Drums”) and Trevor Guthrie (“This Is What It Feels Like”) who performed throughout the evening with equally unforgettable performances.
Fans got pretty ecstatic with applause and whistles filling the room when they caught Laura Jansen and Armin van Buuren sharing a heartfelt hug on stage towards the end of her performance…sadly the moment came when show had to come to an end with Armin sharing a few final farewell words with the crowd.
Oh but wait… Oakland convinced Armin to give us a “This Is What It Feels Like” encore performance with Trevor, Lauren, Laura and Armin taking center stage. During the encore, Armin and Trevor cut out the vocals to allow the crowd to perform with them and I've gotta give it to everyone, it couldn’t have been more perfectly synced with the crowd reacting on cue with strikingly clear precision. Each performer couldn’t help but smile…It was an evening that many will never forget. It's not every day that the world's biggest name in dance music comes to a city and gives a performance that puts fans into an intense state of trance.