Welcome to the club, Armin van Buuren.
The Dutch trance DJ/producer joined an exclusive fraternity today, becoming the second EDM act ever to sell out Madison Square Garden. And he did it in under an hour. (Swedish House Mafia pulled off that feat first in September 2011 for its show on December 16 of that year, and again in September 2012 for the group’s upcoming One Last Tour stop on March 1, 2013).
“To be honest, I was surprised,” van Buuren told Billboard exclusively. “It’s a huge risk. I hoped it would sell out, but it was kind of an all-or-nothing thing, you know? It could either go really well or really [badly].”
Van Buuren is celebrating the 600th episode of his long-running radio show, “A State of Trance,” with “The Expedition,” a 12-stop world tour that sees the DJ hitting cities from Mumbai to Mexico City to New York. The radio show reaches up to 20 million listeners weekly through 40-plus terrestrial and satellite stations around the globe.
For the five-hour event, fans can expect his signature trance sound — which earned him the top spot on DJMag’s Top 100 DJs list in 2012 (and four other years) — as well as the beats of carefully selected openers. Veteran DJs Ferry Corsten and Markus Schulz will play alongside newcomers Dutch duo W&W and Germany’s Alex M.O.R.P.H.
“We made sure that it was some of the most established names and the new guys, who are really up and coming,” he said.
Like any episode of A State of Trance, the show’s audio will air on the DJ’s website, with the possibility of a YouTube live stream as well, according to van Buuren.
“It’s kind of strange to [host] a radio show from Madison Square Garden,” he conceded. “It feels bizarre to think that 12 years ago I started the show on a small radio station in Amsterdam, and this same radio show sells out Madison Square Garden. It’s definitely a top-five highlight in my career, I would say.”
The show is “amazing and a dream come true,” the DJ said, “but not necessarily because I want to sell a lot of tickets. The awards are in my cabinet and I’ve made a lot of money in the past, so I have a comfortable life. It’s more the fact that this law student from the Netherlands is now playing Madison Square Garden. I can’t play guitar. I can’t even sing.”