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EVENT REVIEW: Cream & Warehouse Project pres. Armin van Buuren, Easter Bank Holiday Special in Manchester

The world known club and festival events brand Cream in collaboration with Warehouse project presented in Easter Bank Holiday at the iconic venue Albert Hall in Manchester the Easter Bank Holiday special with the Grammy nominated and beloved dj, producer, radio host and label owner Armin van Buuren. The event was Sold Out and absolutely jam packed as were of course all the Armin van Buuren events throughout his UK Tour that included Glasgow and London. The cue outside the club was long and you had to wait for about 20 minutes to get in. There was no information beforehand about the initial line up of the event so the mystery was uncovered when I entered for the first time in my life Albert Hall which is a magnificent building that you should visit at least once in your lifetime. Posters on the walls informed us that the night starts with the local super star Craig Connelly followed by Ruben de Runde and finally Armin van Buuren who will perform for 3 hours. You could easily spot Armin fans who were waiting eagerly to enjoy him after nearly 2 years of non appearance in UK events except his festival performances in the globally known summer festival Creamfields. In the 2015 edition of the festival he played both on Armada stage on Friday and mainstage on Saturday too. I was glad to be part of both his performances and I can assure you that were both of them Armin at his very best as he  rocked the crowds. So the expectations were very high for this very exquisite Easter Sunday special. 

Craig Connelly preparing the crowd for Armin van Buuren

Craig Connelly in his explosive performance
From the moment I entered the main area you could feel the buzz and energy radiating in the  walls of the legendary building. Armin van Buuren fans could buy all the needed merchandise in the superb shopping stall that stocked anything you may desire with Armin logo in it. The stage was fantastic with large video screen and super loud and crispy sound system. The brilliant Craig Connelly was behind the decks playing mainly middle range progressive trance with progressive house influences. Floating feel good melodies, sparkling synths and inspiring vocals were mixed up in perfection from Craig who proved once again how good dj is for all occasions. Personally I would enjoy from him playing all his big anthemic proglifting to uplifting tracks but his set was cater to build anticipation and excitement for the coming of Armin. The fantastic Black Hole with Christina Novelli was included of course in the more progressive trance take but still sounded truly gorgeous. Certainly the choice of Craig Connelly was wisely made as he kept the dancefloor busy and the crowd was dancing and jumping along but with that sweet anticipation on their faces for the arrival of Armin. 

Warm melodic progressive trance set by  Ruben de Ronde
Ruben de Ronde spreading love at the Royal Albert Hall
Next on this magnificent Easter Bank Holiday special in Manchester was Ruben de Ronde well known as dj, producer and label owner of Statement recordings. His 2 hours dj set included the finest blissful atmospheric melodic progressive tracks that move in and out of trance and house with energetic electrified basslines, punchy chunky grooves and the right and exact sound to increase anticipation for Armin van Buuren. Without doubts Ruben is one of the most experienced warm up dj who knows how to build the journey and lead the audience to that state of the volcano that is awaiting for its eruption. The trance followers enjoyed every single choice of his set and they were enjoying playful basslines, flirting synths and warm feel good welcoming atmospheric and highly cinematic sonic soundscapes. The lighting effects including the spacey lasers created that out of this world spectacle for a crowd that was up for an unforgettable night. With tracks from his own label Statement recordings that goes from strength to strength with each and every single release plus releases from top labels like Anjunabeats certainly Ruben knew the recipe for the middle dish in a satisfying music dinner. As it was announced at 01.00 the Dutch King of Trance was about to go behind the decks and keep the crowd entertained for 3 whole hours. The question that is coming again and again in your mind is if it was worth the waiting?

Armin van Buuren knows better  the way to interact with his fans

Armin sing's along on his latest single
The answer is pretty obvious, yes it was worth anticipating for Armin van Buuren because indifferent of how much you may admire or not Armin van Buuren, one thing is certain that behind his decks gives always his best performance with wide smile in his face encouraging the crowd to take part and join him in the beautiful inspiring euphoric journey in a state of trance. Armin is well known as perfectionist and his performance was calculated in each detail to bring excitement and endless goosebumps and shivers to his UK fans. His 3 hours long dj set included wide variety of sounds from big room / Dutch trance  style that his younger new EDM festivals audience appreciate the most as may have discover him through his mainstage performances on top festivals like Creamfields and Tomorrowland, euphoric proglifting anthems, melodic psy tech trance crackers like Mark Sherry meets Space Frog vs Derb - Follow Me and the final hour was full on uplifting euphoric trance that the older audience like me seems to enjoy the most along with the new breed of uplifting trance fanatics. He included many club versions of his singles from his latest album Embrace like Embrace with that unbelievable saxophone riff, Strong Ones and Heading Up High feat. Kensington and what was more exciting whenever he played any of his latest tracks you could see in the big screen behind him either scenes from the music video of the track or the singer of the track singing that was great as it offered the illusion of watching a LIVE PA from those singers. The Armin army was dancing and singing along with him making the most of his fantastic dj set. He is well known for interacting with his audience and in this show as well he took the microphone couple of times to talk to them and express his gratitude that he is back in Manchester and UK that he feels like being at home.

Manchester on Easter Sunday was in a state of trance
Exceptional night that will be remembered for sure including all the latest trance anthems making his selection and mixing techniques truly memorable. Around 3.55 he played the last track and you could sense that the audience could stay with him the whole night. He encourage the crowd to embrace the magic and feel the energy unleashed for the last 5 minutes. When the music ended and the lights were turned on the audience was transferred back 2 reality with heavy rain waiting them outside making the long way back home even longer and more wet. Let's hope that he will return soon with his Armin Only Embrace tour in UK as this crowd deserves to experience it. Last but not least keep in mind that Armin van Buuren will perform at Creamfields on Friday Night at the Armada Stage. For tickets click here
Colorful peaceful explosions were part of the experience during Armin's dj set

Time to say goodbye but will reunite at Creamfields
Quick Review of the Event:
[review top="1"]
 [item value="10"]Venue: Royal Albert Hall, Manchester[/item]
 [item value="10"]Lighting and laser effects[/item]
 [item value="10"] Loud and crispy sound system[/item]
 [item value="10"]Stage design[/item]
 [item value="10"]Pyrotechnics and colorful confetti explosions[/item]
 [item value="10"]Climax  / Drop / Crescendo / Pay off moments during the show[/item]
 [item value="10"]Intensity, Drive and Energy during the show[/item]
 [item value="10"]Goosebumps / Shivers moments during the show[/item]
 [item value="10"]Emotional affinity and heartfelt moments during the show[/item]
 [item value="10"]You can’t get this memorable event out of your head[/item]
 [item value="10"]It has potential to be named as one of the Top 3 events of the year[/item]
  [item value="10"]Interaction between djs and audience[/item]
  [item value="10"]Audience was continuously involved by dancing and singing along[/item]
  [item value="10"]Audience age mixture with younger and older fans [/item]
 [item value="10"]Dj set Armin van Buuren[/item]
[item value="10"]Dj set Ruben de Runde[/item]
[item value="10"]Dj set Craig Connelly[/item]
 [item value="10"]Overall feeling about the event[/item]
 [content title="Summary" label="Overall Score"]The Easter Bank Holiday special with Armin van Buuren is definitely one of the highlights  of 2016 for Manchester. The stunning venue, the high standards of the production of the whole event from stage design,lighting, sound system and dj sets turned this night into an epic special experience that younger and older fans of the uber talented dj and artist will keep forever in their hearts. Love It [/content]

Don't forget that ‪#‎CreamClassics‬ are coming next two days Friday 15th and Saturday 16th of April at the Liverpool Cathedral.

Thanks very much to Rio from Cream for the press accreditation.
Event Review written by Dimitri Kechagias, Music Journalist and radio host at 1mix radio.

Additional info: