tabloid! managed it.
"That's a really difficult question," the Dutchman mumbled before a long pause. "Every crowd is different; every gig is different," he said. "Ooohhh, I love to play festivals for big audiences, but I also love the intimacy of a small club." Another long pause. "I like playing in Europe and Ibiza, but I also love the enthusiastic crowds in the Middle East, South America and Australia. I just came back from a tour in America, which was great…" He finally admitted defeat. "I really can't tell you which are my top places to DJ."
Locked in a state of trance, the DJ is hoping to leave fans across the Middle East in a similar place on Thursday when he takes to the stage in Abu Dhabi.
Voted No 1 in DJ Magazine's annual top 100 list of the most popular DJs in 2007, 2008 and 2009, Van Buuren gives us a sneak preview about what to expect at Flash Forum.
"My set has morphed into what can only be described as a theatre show," he said. "I'm here now, still working out the details. It's impressive and it will impress."
The world-famous DJ is talking about his 9-hour-a-night stage show, which has sold out in 11 countries across Europe, Holland being the most impressive with more than 15,000 tickets sold. "The Abu Dhabi show will be a taste of what's to come, which is amazing because people can get a sneak peek.
"It's not just a case of lights whipping around, while a DVD plays in the background any more. It's a fully time-coded light and sound show."
Better still, in Abu Dhabi the show is going one step further with aerialists, fire dancers and much more.
Van Buuren has built a career as being one of the hottest dance DJs and producers selling thousands of records internationally as well as attracting millions of listeners a week to his radio show, A State of Trance.
His career spans more than 14 years, but Van Buuren, as he's better known by his friends and fans, says he owes the initial inspiration to his uncle.
"I was a nerdy kid," he said. "I would write basic programmes on my home computer."
The youngster made low-profile mix tapes for his friends before learning different sequences on his computer from his uncle.
"I was so stunned by what I saw him doing on his computer that I got addicted to creating music right there and then," he recalled.
The DJ cites electronic pioneer Jean Michel Jarre as well as Dutch producer and mentor Ben Leibrand as his major influences back then.
"I loved dance music immediately — this great rebellious sound that was different to the beautiful songs of the years."
Van Buuren is also promoting his fourth album, Mirage, which was released in September last year. The album boasts collaborations from the likes of BT, Christian Burns, Ferry Corsten, Adam Young and Nadia Ali and just three months after its release, it had already reached golden status in Holland, selling more than 25,000 copies.
"It's always good to get back in the travel mood. It is what I love to do the most. When you see that crowd going nuts in front of you, there's nothing else but to love it."
A track you'd love to remix and why?
I would love to remix Coldplay - The Scientist. I love the track and it's by a great band.
A snack you can eat easily while you're on stage?
I normally don't eat while I'm playing. Only when I do an Armin only (9-hour set), I sometimes have a bit of a banana or maybe a candy bar.
One thing you can't do a show without?
A show needs a great audience. Without a good crowd, no party. A good sound system, a great visual show and the latest trance tracks. Maybe some fireworks…that's it!
Why catch Armin van Buuren...
I don't know….everyone has to decide for themselves!
The show in numbers
- The set alone will take more than 10 hours to construct.
- The sound system takes a massive 105,000 metres cubed.
- 260 moving heads (lights/lasers).
- 10,000 square metres of space to fill.
- 700 metres of cable will be laid.
- Four giant lasers.
tabloid! is giving away 10 pairs of tickets to the Armin van Buuren concert in Abu Dhabi this Thursday. Two lucky winners will also receive a CD of his latest album Mirage. To enter the competition, go to gulfnews.com/tabloid