Top DJ has race and music fans entranced

Armin van Buuren delighted music and F1 fans on Friday night at Yas Island.

Armin van Buuren, the globally celebrated DJ and producer, got race and trance fans going during a spectacular light and music show last night at du Arena on Yas Island as part of the Formula One race weekend. Dolores Johnson / The National
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ABU DHABI // Trance music fans flocked to du Arena last night to experience the first DJ to headline the Abu Dhabi F1 after-race concerts.

Armin van Buuren, one of the world’s top DJs, captivated an international crowd with his thumping music and intricate light show last night.

Mohammed Al Torbeny, 22, said the Dutch DJ’s music was special on recordings but would lift him up even more live.

“His music is a huge tension releaser and it lifts up my mood. I have been listening to Armin for three years. It definitely releases tension and lifts up my mood when I’m down,” said the Abu Dhabi native.

“It’s different when you see him live, the energy I get from him is even more intense.”

Another fan, who has been following the Dutch producer for more than a decade, said she was glad a DJ was finally headlining the race concerts.

“We’re going to get a different crowd tonight because it’s been mainly bands up until now,” said Sally Woodcock, 34, from Aberdeen, Scotland.

Even though Formula One brought her and her friends over to Abu Dhabi, she said they were here because they loved Van Buuren.

“I’m a big trance fan and there aren’t many trance DJs out there any more. He’s still managed to keep old school and he’ll show everybody how to have a good time.”

Ms Woodcock said she had come for the visuals as well as the music.

“He’s a good-looking young man and the vocal trance isn’t bad either.”

But not all were happy with the selection of yesterday’s main event. Rob Page, 43, from the UK, said it was a family event and the choice of the DJ was not a good one.

“I’m here because I come every year, but I don’t like it. I’m not happy with it.”

Mr Page said the artists should have broader appeal because people from all over the world were coming to these events.

“He might be famous, but I don’t know who the guy is,” said Mr Page.

But 37-year-old AvB, as the DJ is known to his followers, attracted even injured fans.

Zayed Al Hameli had twisted his knee two weeks ago rollerblading but decided to come on crutches anyway.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” said the Emirati, who was celebrating his 16th birthday.

He said the concert would be the longest that he had stood up for since his injury.

“I’ll be hopping on one leg. It’s going to be lots of fun.”

The Dutch producer still holds great appeal among the masses, reflected by currently being No 3 on DJ Mag’s Top 100, a list he first broke into in 2001 and has topped five of the last six years.

Following in the footsteps of Tiesto, Paul van Dyk, and BT; Van Buuren became the fourth trance artist to receive a Grammy nomination this year when his single This Is What It Feels Like was nominated for Best Dance Recording.

F1 weekend festivities are set to continue with Pharrell Williams headlining today’s show and The Who wrapping up the after-race concerts tomorrow.