But again, it's not too surprising considering his God-like status, so I will try to shut up about it. (But seriously, if I got elbowed by one more bloody-eyed 15-year-old who looked like she just stepped off planet Seratonius, I was going to have to clock someone.)
Van Buuren was all smiles as he eased into his set, starting with an energetic beat that made me feel like I was driving the car from Knight Rider. In the shoulder-to-shoulder mess of people, a joint was passed to my left, while a mysterious monetary transaction took place on my right.
After the first few minutes, the crowd thinned just a little as some party people decided to choose oxygen over Armin. The DJ administered a thumping trance beat before slowing it down to a quiet whooshing melody. The crowd stood waiting at attention and Van Buuren flipped a switch, slapping them with crazy loud volume and sending them into hysterics.
The DJ made his signature heart shape with his fingers, sending his love out to his fans. The heart appeared in waves of color on the mega screens behind the DJ. And the crowd reciprocated the gesture, as Van Buuren basked in adoration.
The whole place went crazy as the Dutchman delivered "Sun and Moon" before changing to a driving techno beat, complete with solid red light, heavy smoke machine activity, and some major strobe action. And for a while, it even took on the feel of a dungeon-like European disco. The smell of ganja was so thick, I had to wonder whether the machines were pumping out pure pot smoke. A young man in a wheelchair was hoisted above the crowd and the DJ acknowledged him with a small bow.
Van Buuren changed the mood several more times, shifting to symphonic sounds and then to some house. The words "Take a Moment" appeared on the screen. The DJ pointed to them and then the crowd as he launched into the song of the same name: "Take a moment to live/Take a moment to cry/Take a moment to love/And don't ask why."
Van Buuren finished with a final wind up and wind down, making a yoga-like Namaste gesture to the crowd, and bowing down to them before making his exit.
Up next was ATB. The DJ made an energetic start as lots of kids snaked out from under the tent. Ryan Verxagio, a doctor from Hallandale, didn't understand the exodus: "ATB has always been my favorite since I heard him in 1999 in Barcelona playing the song that's on now, '9 A.M. Till I Come.' He's the number one reason I wanted to be here. I just bought a ticket to see him tonight."
Talented though ATB may be, Crossfade drifted away from the State of Trance tent in desperate need of some personal space.