Day two at Tomorrowland 2013: Chuckie shreds with Slash, Axwell packs on new music, Armin delivers emotional dedication
Revelers who returned for the second day of Tomorrowland were treated to a refreshed festival grounds and an entirely new musical experience. With Friday’s rain leaving areas of the festival muddy and unpassable, organizers re-mulched many of the walking paths and replaced the downtrodden floorboards from the day before. Replacing Carl Cox & Friends, Laidback Luke brought his own cast of characters for the Super You & Me stage while Axwell, Avicii and Armin gave fans little reason to leave the festival’s Main Stage.
Baking in the mid day sun, Zedd’s legion of followers pushed and shoved their way to the security barriers, desperately hoping to catch a close up glimpse of the flannel-clad producer. As beads of sweat pooled on his forehead, Anton showcased a vast selection of tracks from his back catalog. When urged to jump to the drop of “Fall Into The Sky” revelers obeyed, creating a thunderous clap of stomping feet that complimented the stage’s volcanic eruptions.
With the sun peaking near 5:00pm, W&W was trooping through a set at the Full On Ferry stage, the day’s premiere trance arena. With one arm of the trance duo dismantled, Wardt stood solo without Willem who remains absent due to health conditions. After thirty minutes, that void was filled as Ferry Corsten came to his side to close off back-to-back. The floorboards creaked and groaned under the weight of the packed tent, mud oozing up through the cracks as the crowd’s body heat created clouds of humidity that turned the tent into a sauna by W&W’s conclusion.
Cocoon Heroes takeover of the Cafe D’Anvers sponsored stage featured a stand out performance from Joris Voorn, whose set caught our attention as we explored the expansive festival grounds. Taken in by his lively tech house styling, Joris wisked us away and kept us locked in for his entire set, overriding our festival wanderlust with one of the funkiest sets of the afternoon.
Chugging past 6:00pm, Pete Tong had claimed the Pearl Stage as his own Garden of Madness. Always a devotee to the art of DJing, Tong avoided the mainstream fare that many of his contemporaries would spin, opting to showcase an eclectic selection of tracks that only the Radio 1 magnate would play. Paying no mind to the status quo, Tong embodied his “music first” mantra — a philosophy often overlooked in the wake of one hour festival time slots.
Meanwhile, just over at the Main Stage, Chuckie had been brewing a special sort of atmosphere for his Tomorrowland crowd. Opening with a completely original mashup of Tiesto’s “Get Loose” remix with Lil Wayne’s “A Milli” vocal, he was off to the races with David Guetta and Glowinthedark’s festival horn-tooting “Ain’t A Party.” Joined on stage by legendary Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, the duo bridged the gap between electronic and rock as the top hat sporting guitarist shredded along to Chuckie’s energetic spinning. Capturing the attention (and hearts) of attendees, Chuckie made an honorable move towards Bingo Players’ “Cry,” orchestrating the crowd to sit down and asking them to pay their respects to Paul, who remains on a hiatus after announcing his cancer diagnosis only a week ago.
Moments after, Axwell stole the last spotlight beneath Tomorrowland’s day two sunshine and wasted no time doing so with an introduction of “Center Of The Universe.” Ax brought a slew of unreleased tracks to his Volcano appearance, flaunting future Axtone hits such as Michael Calfan’s remix of “Reverie,” a potential new Thomas Gold production, and his own collaboration with Sick Individuals which he used to shutdown the Main Stage just in time for the sunset. Avicii followed suit, setting the volcano ablaze in a grand fireworks display. Faithful fans were treated to selections from his forthcoming album and those of us who caught the Avicii bug early in his career were delighted to take in the soaring vocals of “Seek Bromance.”
While the likes of Tommy Trash and Martin Solveig had been holding down Super You & Me, Laidback Luke and his superhero trio suited up to take over the butterfly stage. While Solveig and Chuckie played Batman and Spiderman for last year’s spectacle, they did not reprise their roles. Instead, Sander van Doorn made the unexpected cameo as Batman, Dimitri Vegas donned the Iron Man costume, and Luke remained at the helm as Superman.
Over at the Q-Dance stage, the relentless kicks continued despite the down pouring rain as hundreds of poncho wearing lunatics kicked and thrashed along to Wildstylez. Our second helping of hardstyle in Europe, we found ourselves unable to turn away from the mayhem as Joram Metekohy unleashed a barrage of low end kicks whose concussive wake blasted the rain sideways into our faces, the lightning streaked sky adding an ambiance to the evening that trumped the stage supplied pyrotechnics.
As torrential rains soaked the festival grounds in sheets of water, a legion of Prydz faithfuls sought refuge underneath the Pearl stage. Waves of mud-caked fans sprinted from all corners of the grounds, splashing through deep puddles in a mad dash to close out their second day with cleanly conceited progressive house. Soaked from head to toe, we tossed our cameras and our cares to the wayside and handed the controls over to Prydz who curated a set rife with IDs and Pryda classics.
Rain continued to pour through 11:30pm and Armin van Buuren came rushed towards the colossal mountain. “Good evening Tomorrowland… I just want to make a very special announcement,” the world’s number one DJ readied the crowd. Keeping poised he continued; “I just came straight from the hospital and I want the world to welcome…” pausing for a moment as the trance god choked back tears. “My wife just gave birth to a son,” he declared proudly dedicating the entire set to his newborn child.
Andrew Spada and Dylan Farella contributed to this article.