Sander Van Doorn at Ultra 2012: “Wow, why isn’t he headlining?”

Sander Van Doorn did not waste any time at the ASOT 550 stage, and started playing the best set that I heard all week as soon as Cosmic Gate was done. The track list was fantastic and the mixing was extraordinary. Sander Van Doorn mixed current favorites with unreleased singles and lesser-known tracks at an incredibly fast pace: he played over twenty tracks in one hour.  His set was characterized by a unique contrast of progressive house and trance-style melodies with thick and bass heavy electro-house drops. I had been slightly disappointed by the overall quality of sets at Ultra, and Sander Van Doorn’s performance was one of the few that exceeded my expectations. I left the set thinking “Wow, why isn’t he headlining?”

The act began with Sander Van Doorn’s new track, “Inside,” accompanied with live vocals from the lovely Mayaeni. The unforgettably emotional track had the entire crowd hooked and in a state of trance from the start; it was one of the highlights of my week.

Sander Van Doorn then mixed in “Twenty Nine” by Danny Howard and quickly switched to “Troll,” a monster that managed to make entire crowds go nuts many times over the weekend. After the heavy drop, Sander lightened things up  with a euphoric mashup of  “Sweet Disposition” and Jacob van Hage’s “On Stage.”

The melody of “Chasin” was immediately recognizable, and as soon as the bass kicked, Sander had everyone in the tent bouncing up and down with their hands in the air. Things just kept getting more exciting as Sander Van Doorn teased the “Alcoholic” acapella before dropping the earth shattering “Bazinga” alongside an explosion of confetti and discharge of carbon dioxide. The acid synths and bass in the build up were enough to get people dancing, and everyone was blindsided by a heavy Dutch-inspired drop.

Sander then transitioned back to a progressive style,  with “Drink To Get Drunk” followed by DubVision’s “All By Myself” and his remix of “Find Myself.” The rapid firing of progressive anthems with “The Legend,” a track that begins with a dreamy and lush instrumental and develops to an energetic synth line.

Forty-five minutes through his set, Sander Van Doorn paced things down with Ali Wilson’s remix of “Video Games” while Armin Van Buuren made a quick appearance via live broadcast on the LED panels.

The last fifteen minutes were absolutely outstanding.  Sander closed a fantastic mix with five tracks that each made the crowd go insane. It all began with the Dutch bleeps from Bassjackers & Anger Dimas’ latest track, “RIA.” People were clapping along with the build up as Kryoman prepared  to shoot out lasers and C02 in time for the thick drop.

Out of nowhere, notorious whistles arose alongside an emerging roar from the crowd as Sander Van Doorn’s legendary “Koko” was recognized. As the punchy synths grew louder and the bass dropped, the entire tent grew euphoric. Everyone was shouting along to the melody while jumping up and down with their hands in the air.

After hearing “Koko”, my friend Avi, who was initially reluctant to stay longer than twenty minutes, finally ran off to go listen to Knife Party at the Main Stage. Avi told me that as soon as he heard “Quasar” drop, he turned around and raged in the middle of the path, receiving approving looks from people walking.

Sander Van Doorn closed his amazing set with blissful and euphoric progressive house. He played his track “Eagles with “No More Serious Faces” followed by “In My Mind.” The euphoric melodies combined with emotional lyrics and uplifting drops were the perfect ending to this amazing set.

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