It happened: we have just left behind A State Of Trance 1000, the event to celebrate the twenty years of Armin van Buuren’s legendary radio show, after at least two years of waiting but it’s now impossible not to tell or dwell on the emotions experienced in this unprecedented Celebration Weekend of trance music: we were there and we will pass on our sensations to you.
The first sensation, probabily common, upon entering the immense spaces of the Jaarbeurs Utrecht structure, was about the time: the years of lockdown and the postponed of events were immediately cancelled, that two-year period of time seems to have never existed, it all started exactly where we left off, from A State Of Trance 950, which seems like last year, instead of three years ago.
But let’s go in order.
Friday 3rd: the red lights and background chants of the official anthem welcome us to the waiting area before the main controls: after the usual check of tickets and lockers and then the final security check, we head towards the colossal mainstage, called with the name of the event “REFLEXION”; in this day, there was also another room, the Oval Stage, worthy of being experienced for the presence of notable trance artists (Luke Bond, Ciaran McAuley, Nifra, Factor B, ReOrder and Allen Watts) but the choice fell inevitably on the celebration event in the main stage.
Even if you get used to it, the main stage always impresses with its breadth; for this edition, a simple horizontal layout was chosen along the entire front wall, below which there was a strip of reflective material which gave the idea of “reflecting” the images (reflexion, indeed); finally, the room was surrounded by a series of lights: thin “tracks” on which rested structures of lights, further emphasizing the size of the mainstage. Ruben de Ronde welcomes us at 6 pm with his warm-up that anticipates Armin van Buuren’s exclusive 6-hour set: the yellow logo we see in front is still the one chosen for event #1000 in 2021, to symbolize for the last time the handover between the old era and the new era of A State Of Trance.
At 7 pm with a small presentation with Turn The World Into A Dancefloor in the background and the voice of Armin, who retraces the two decades of passion and love for trance music and for his radio show and emerges after a few minutes starting his marathon of historical trance records with the marvelous Andain – Beautiful Things (2003): it’s impossible to decide which of the moments of the set was the most exciting because any of the historical track played (about 88) each carries with it a memory or a unique sensation; Armin has in any case been able to skilfully combine three elements: the history of the trance genre, that of his radio show A State of Trance and his musical career, with an incredible result: in the meantime that the official video of the evening is published, you can enjoy the tracklist here:
Armin van Buuren @ Reflexion Stage, A State Of Trance Festival 1000 Celebration Weekend, Jaarbeurs Utrecht, Netherlands 2023-03-03
The event was surrounded by the participation of special guests on stage: Christian Burns, who sang live This Light Between Us (2011), Ruben de Ronde, Cosmic Gate, Andrew Rayel, MaRLo, Ben Gold and lastly Susana who ventured live the legendary Shivers by Armin van Buuren (2005) and Home With You (2021).
The event of Saturday 4th night instead, staged the novelties that A State of Trance will carry forward from this edition of festival onwards. We followed the DJ sets of Ruben de Ronde, Roger Shah, Jorn van Deynhoven, Cosmic Gate, ARTBAT, Armin van Buuren, Enrico San Giuliano, Ferry Corsten, Vini Vici and MaRLo: from this night, the layout of the event was definitively also changed in the presentation of the artists and the new logo immediately appears in the mainstage at the bottom of the front led wall with the wording REFLEXION.
Ruben de Ronde again acts as the forerunner of the event, this time with a set of his tracks and collaborations, among which the new “ID” track signed together with Ben Gold probably stands out, truly intense. We move to the Cube Stage, a moderately sized stage characterized by the presence of rectangular LED lights at the top and bottom, vertical LED walls (reminiscent of the setting up of the main in the 900 edition), here we find Roger Shah who gives us a DJ purely trance set characterized by some novelties (for example New Horizons with JES, out on March 17th) and new versions of legendary songs by the German DJ. Subsequently, still in the Cube Stage, we see Jorn van Deyhnoven “at work” who, as already announced, gave life to his last and exciting dj set in A State Of Trance (visibly excited towards the end of the set): alternately, in the next room , Cosmic Gate proposed their set inevitably marked by all the novelties of their just released album MOSAIIK 2: needless to say, always perfect and enthralling.
Let’s go back to the Reflexion mainstage and here the novelties that the radioshow intends to propose from this edition are clearly evident: ARTBAT, in reality only one of them at the console, make us jump with a dj set between progressive house and techno, a inedit thing for the world of A State Of Trance which, in any case seemed close to the sounds we are used to with the trance genre, the public appreciates and all seasoned with strong atmospheres with dark tones even in the play of lights.
It’s therefore Armin’s time at the console: his set opens in an epic way as usual, with a non-random play of lights that chases the intro of the hymn song of the event Armin van Buuren & Cosmic Gate – REFLEXION: the audience goes crazy and so do we. It follows the track of David Guetta & MORTEN – Juno from last year, setting up a mainstream dj set with alternating songs, remixes and mash-ups between trance and progressive house, also touching on techno: in any case, purisms aside, there is no doubt his now over ten-year reputation as a dragger, it was impossible not to jump or wave his arms.
He is followed by the second sensational novelty of this edition of the festival, the Italian Enrico Sangiuliano, his set is 100% techno and with his performance we have two things clear: the first one, is that this techno explosion reminds us so much of the expoit on horseback between the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 2000s of the hard-trance genre and, secondly, it is clear to everyone that by now techno has become a mainstream genre, something unthinkable until a few years ago and the passages in the dj sets of its remix together Charlotte de Witte of Age Of Love – The Age Of Love of 2021 (cover of the historical song of the same name from 1992) is clear evidence of this.
Ferry Corsten, still on the Reflexion stage, delights us with his progressive set (momentarily setting aside his legendary aliases Gouryella and System F), an authentic moment of delicate and quality sound before the last two hours of psy devastation: Vini Vici, practically the kings of the current psy-trance genre, propose an articulated psy set and, in a very similar way, MaRLo wakes us up almost at dawn with a set with high bpm, a bit psy, a bit hard-trance, a bit acid … a little techno !
After 16 hours of memorable trance marathon, we can only say that the emotions experienced have repaid the very long wait: but the A State Of Trance team is already announcing the event for the next year and you can pre-register now here: A State Of Trance 2024 pre-registration