ASOT 600 at Ultra 2013; The Expedition invades Miami
At 12:45 Sunday afternoon, a voice cut across an edit of Hard Rock Sofa & Dirty Shade’s “Collapsar,” causing a still-filling Ultra Mega Structure to turn toward the sound.
“Good morning Miami!” the voice rang out. “Are you ready for The Expedition?” Heads started nodding. “Are you ready for 11 hours of A State of Trance?” A yes-shaped roar emerged.
The voice was Armin van Buuren’s, the set was Tritonal‘s, and the effect was pandemonium. Projected on screen from the on-site ASOT studio, the patriarch of the trance family beamed down at the crowd, encouraging them to give it up for their fellow Americans, the trance team from Texas that kicked off the live ASOT 600 experience and played the first of the day’s ten sets.
The episode saw Tritonal, W&W, Cosmic Gate, ATB, Dash Berlin, Markus Schulz, Above & Beyond, Armin van Buuren, Ferry Corsten, and Markus Schulz all taking to the decks, hitting the crowd with wave after wave of the sonic sounds of today’s trance. Hop below the break to journey to Miami on The Expedition.
Over the course of the 11-hour live-from-Ultra episode, hearts connected, the rush came, and it was pure, beautiful alchemy. Listeners from around the world joined the Miami trance family as they lost themselves in the sounds of the largest edition of ASOT 600 and, between the strobes and the smiles, the experience was blinding. But because the intent of trance is to be entranced, the details dissipated somewhere between the hexagonal ceiling and the confetti-caked floor: what remained was a feeling of all-encompassing bliss.
Though the experience can be relived through the live sets, for those that don’t have a spare 11 hours we’ve created our own ASOT600 Miami playlist to give an aural snapshot of the moments that the crowd sang as one, cheered as one, and spread their love of music as one.
Tritonal – “Bullet That Saved Me” (Tritonal Festival Mix)
Tritonal’s Chad and Dave were slated to open the festivities, starting their set just as the gates opened at noon. Though the ASOT600 intro video began playing to an empty arena, fans were literally running from the entrance to not miss a minute of the action, creating quite the scene for noon on a Sunday. To close out a set that perfectly harnessed the anticipation for the hours ahead, the duo premiered their festival mix of new single, “Bullet That Saved Me,” causing the crowd to clap and cheer along to the enlarged track.
Ashley Wallbridge & Rafal Frost vs. GTA & Henrix & Digital Lab vs. Hard Rock Sofa – “Zorro Hit Rasputin!” (W&W Mashup)
Taking the 1:00 slot, W&W’s Willem and Wardt wasted no time in getting to the good and gritty stuff. Their set either proved that trance fans like progressive house or that progressive house fans like trance, as the tracklist ranged from the duo’s collab with Armin “D# Fat,” to a snippet Beat Service’s “Aurora,” to a “Zorro,” “Hit It” and “Rasputin” mashup that caused fans to both lose and wrack their minds as they tried to ID all the elements being melodically flung together.
Cosmic Gate & Emma Hewitt – “Be Your Sound” (Original Mix)
Though Cosmic Gate kicked off their set with an edit of Porter Robinson and Mat Zo’s “Easy” and threw in Dmitri Vegas & Like Mike’s “Mammoth,” the German DJs’ overall sound was on the more classic side, and a full half of their set was devoted to their own material. While nearly three hours in the crowd had proven a receptiveness to sounds outside trance’s purview, it was equally if not more open to the soft and uplifting, a point driven home by the deafening singalong to Emma Hewitt’s vocals on Cosmic Gate’s own “Be Your Sound.”
Blur vs. Nirvana – “Smells Like Song 2” (ATB Mashup)
After thrilling fans with an “Ecstasy”-laced intro, surprising them with a Porter Robinson/Coldplay mashup and causing a stir with Estiva’s “Smiley Smilesworth,” ATB went no holds barred, throwing down a mashup of Blur’s “Song 2” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The late afternoon crowd ate it up, thrash dancing and jumping enough to give a Warped Tour crowd a run for their money. Andre steered the crowd back to trance with “Still Here” and Rank 1’s “L.E.D There Be Light,” but the energy of the angst carried through.
Dash Berlin feat. Band of Horses – “The Funeral” (Original Mix)
Coming at the tail end of a set full of remixes, mashups and bootlegs was Dash Berlin’s dramatic yet endearing rendering of “The Funeral.” First played during ASOT550, the rework of Band of Horses 2006 hit has been in sets around the globe but has remained unreleased. Causing members of the crowd to grab each other and sway before letting go to shoulder shake to the outro, the track has the capacity to create the only-at-show moments that keep the trance world turning.
Armin Van Buuren & Markus Schulz – “The Expedition” (ASOT600 Theme)
Though not in the flesh, Markus Schulz made an appearance between every ASOT600 set, when his “The Expedition” collab with Armin was played along with the video set change commentary. Markus used the track to cap off his set, following a mesmerizing three IDs, five originals and a massive mashup of “Out Of My Mind,” “Spaceman” and “The Fusion.” When “The Expedition” ended but began again with the video, there was a little lurch of anticipation for an encore, but the crowd snapped out of their reverie as they were jostled for a better spot for Above & Beyond.
Maor Levi – Holding On (Original Mix)
As Above & Beyond brought Group Therapy to Miami, they also brought a little healing for a friend. The duo played Maor Levi’s “Holding On” while projecting the song’s inspiration – the daily struggle on both sides of the border in Maor’s home country of Israel. “Maor put all his emotion into this song,” the screen read as images of candles flickered by and the track’s titular lyric sang out. One of the most moving moments in a set already driven by emotion, A&B managed to inject “hopeful” into the vocabulary of reactions to ASOT600.
Armin van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie – This Is What It Feels Like (W&W Remix)
While Trevor Guthrie didn’t make it out to sing Armin’s new track for Weekend 2, W&W’s remix of the track did find it’s way back to Bayfront Park. With a crowd already singing the words despite the newness of the track, the W&W progressive edit rounded out a set that went everywhere from “Clarity” to “Concrete Angel” to “Airport Shivers,” with roughly 25 Jesus poses spotted over 90 minutes. Keeping just a few songs in common with his Weekend 1 set, Armin once again proved why he’s on top, creating a set seemingly without a beginning or end but held together by a single, continuous flow.
Markus Schulz & Ferry Corsten – “Loops & Tings” (Original Mix)
Taking the stage after Armin, Ferry Corsten opted for a quickened pulse and a darker sound. Between his own “Black Light” and a mashup of his new “Kudawudashuda,” Ferry played the beloved “Loops & Tings,” his 2012 collab with Markus Schulz. The track held extra significance during this episode of A State of Trance as later that evening Markus and Ferry performed together for the first time as New World Punx, a project born out of the success of back to back sets, the track itself, and the DJs’ longstanding friendship.
Paul van Dyk vs. Swedish House Mafia vs. Super8 & Tab – “For An Angel One Fiesta” (Paul van Dyk edit)
Paul van Dyk was tasked with both closing out The Expedition and competing with Swedish House Mafia’s last performance, a challenge he completed without fireworks but with glowsticks, balloons and plenty of confetti. Though the crowd thinned slightly around 9:15 to catch the Swede’s 9:30 slot, van Dyk started his 10:00 performance with a full arena, still going strong after ten hours. As perhaps a nod to SHM, halfway through his set the headliner inserted the famous opening tones of “One” into his “For An Angel,” just teasing the track out before replacing it with pieces of Tom Fall’s remix of Super8 & Tab’s “Fiesta.” The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Deadmau5 also found their way into his set, but again in an understated way that let the legend’s own production shine through.
When Paul van Dyk wrapped the night with his club mix of “Home,” Armin once again returned to the screen. “Ladies and gentlemen, people of Ultra Music Festival, the Expedition of Miami is now complete,” he said, eliciting a combination of boos and cheers. After 11 hours, dozens of emotions and thousands of heart hands, ASOT600 was out of Miami and off to Guatemala. The Expedition continues.