Joey’s first gig in the US: Chicago’s Vision

January 23rd, 2013

It was a cold and rainy Saturday morning on the 22nd of December 2012 in Amsterdam. My stuff was checked in and I had my laptop as hand-luggage. The time had finally come, I was going to fly to America. And not just for holiday matters, but also for my first US gig ever!

As soon as I’d boarded the plan, I opened my laptop. I really wanted to make some nice edits for my gig that night. But then it happened…the battery was empty! I was happy I saved everything in time. The remaining flight time was still 7 hours, so I had to bide my remaining flight time watching some movies. After a 9 hour flight we landed in Detroit. From there, I had to change flights to Chicago. But first I had to get through border security…always stressful! Luckily, I appeared to be legal in the USA, haha. I jumped on the plane, and with WiFi aboard was able to make some Facebook posts and Tweets to notify people about my gig.

Finally, the plane started its touchdown in Chicago. I could clearly see the place swamped with malls, Christmas trees and Christmas decoration. Since I was on holiday together with my girlfriend and she has some family living there, they waited for us at the arrival gate. It was really nice meeting them for the first time. We received a great warm welcome at their home, but with the local time being 9PM already, I could definitely feel the jetlag coming in…but no worries, my set time was 3:30AM-4.30AM. Time for a disco nap!

The alarm went off at 1:30. I freshened up a bit, grabbed my USB stick and headphones..and off we were – heading for downtown Chicago. But not without an essential stop at the shop for a Red Bull though! And then there it was…one of the biggest trance clubs in the States: Vision! With Armin van Buuren, Leon Bolier, W&W and Paul Oakenfold having played there, I felt very honour to be the next one to grace the decks. We entered the club around 2.30AM, and got a great feel of the vibe there. The dance floor was packed and people were dancing to the beats of resident DJ’s Mario Florek & RJ Pickens, who were playing some tasty prog-trance. Eventually, I got on stage and introduced myself. Before I knew it, people wanted to take pictures with me. And I hadn’t even started playing yet!

Only 30 minutes left. I played at many big clubs and events but I still get nervous every time I have to get on stage. I went on stage and Mario told me ’1 track left’, so I knew that my moment was  coming shortly. I grabbed my USB, insert it into the Pioneer, selected ‘Lift Off!’ by W&W and plugged in my headphones. I was all set. Mario Florak & RJ Pickens were done. The MC gave them a thank you and people were cheering loudly. Here it was: my moment, my first gig in the USA. The MC announced me: ‘Ladies & Gentlemen. Straight from the Netherlands, we bring you Armada Artist: Renvo!’.

That was my cue. I hit the play button, with the track already set to the moment you hear the ‘Lift Off!’ vocal, since I really wanted to start with a bang. The club was on! People threw their hands in the air and started to scream. Out of nowhere, all my nerves were gone and the only thing I felt was adrenaline. I completely lost myself into the music, and the crowd seemed to love it. They felt my energy en kept dancing to the beats. I was really enjoying it.

I kept checking the audience and saw people smiling at me, pointing and making the heart sign with their hands. This really gives you a great feeling, appreciation for the work you do. I signed back at the people and smiled back at them. I never forget the times that I was standing front row at one of Armin van Buuren’s shows, waiting for the moment that he sees my pointing at him and smiling back at me. So that’s why, for me, it’s important to always interact with the audience. To give something back.

They say time flies when you’re having fun. Well, it sure does! The first time I checked for the time I saw that I had only 10 minutes left. I played my track ‘Breakout’ to give those last 10 minutes an extra boost. The melody came in and people raised their hands, waiting for the big drop. The break was building, the drop came in, I was jumping, all the people were jumping and going wild at my very own track. That’s the best feeling you can get as a DJ & producer. When people go crazy on your own music.

My set was finished. I was sweaty, my ears had a light buzz in it, but the people were cheering and clapping. For me, that’s the most important feeling after a gig. I grabbed my stuff and went to the exit. I stopped for pictures and autographs a few times.

At home I dropped my stuff, went to bed and started enjoying the after vibe of my gig.

And at that very moment I was absolutely sure, in 2013 I will make more music. So be prepared!

Joey (Renvo)

Want to respond? Email us via blog@armadamusic.com !