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REVIEW: Tiesto Breaks Records As He Ends His Club Life College Invasion Tour

Alex Shapiro |
October 10, 2011 | 2:35 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

(c) Alex Shapiro
(c) Alex Shapiro
Raves are starting to feel a lot more like rock shows.

DJ Tiesto ended his Club Life College Invasion Tour in record-breaking style Saturday at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. 

With a crowd 26,000 strong, the show set a record for the largest audience at a single DJ event in the U.S., according to Tiesto’s sources. 

 Although Tiesto, who Mixmag recently voted as the best DJ of all-time, was clearly the main draw, he couldn’t have done it without the supporting DJs, Porter Robinson, Dada Life and Diplo. 

The openers, who can headline clubs themselves, ensured the party lasted all night long. 

Things got going early at 5:30 when Robinson, the 19-year-old prodigy took the stage. 

 Playing to a mostly empty soccer stadium, he started out with a collection of Daft Punk, Wolfgang Gartner and Deadmau5 hits, much to the small crowd’s delight. By the end of his set, Robinson had everyone on the floor in the palm of his hand, manipulating the dancers with his elongated builds, including a countdown before dropping his #1 hit, “Say My Name.” 

 By the time Dada Life started setting up, everyone was having a blast; even the vendors selling consessions were showcasing their best dance moves as they needled their way through the dance floor.

Next, Dada Life (Olle Corneer and Stefan Engblom) let loose, moving through a bunch of original tracks early, like fan favorite “Unleash the F***ing Dada.” 

They continued pumping out electro house beats as they pulled out their trademark bananas and champagne, standing on the DJ booth chowing down on the fruit and showering themselves in the bubbly. 

 Soon, a hype crowd came out dressed in banana suits, starting -- of all things—a pillow fight on stage during a fun cover of MGMT’s “Kids.” Dada Life was clearly having a great time on stage, jumping up and down to their remix of Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction” replacing the words with “Push me / and then just touch me/ till I can get my Dada Life.” 

 Finally, the happy-go-lucky vibe continued when Dada Life Rick Roll’d the crowd by playing “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley. 

By the time Diplo (Thomas Pentz, half of the creative force behind Major Lazer) came up, the sun had gone down. The soccer field filled up noticeably and the rave monsters started showing their true colors. All of a sudden, glowsticks and light gloves appeared left and right. 

 Diplo also gave the dancers a break from the crazy electro house dancing, slowing things down with a series of dubstep and moombahton tracks. He began the nasty run with a couple of Flux Pavilion songs, moving to the incredibly popular “Cinema” Skrillex remix before finally spinning “Amplifier”, a moombahton banger Diplo wrote with Skrillex. 

 The audience responded well to the change of pace, getting down and dirty to match the filthy beats. Although Diplo brought his “A” game, most of the crowd was simply waiting for Tiesto to enter the DJ booth.

Finally, around 9:30, the speakers were turned up to a deafening volume, the biggest lights shone brightly and the star of show came on stage. 

The ravers gave a roar of approval as Tiesto’s popular trance beats flowed through the speakers, placing the dancers under a dream-like spell. 

This started what was a relentless couple hours of dance music, starting with several Tiesto originals, peppered with catchy remixes, like a well-placed Benassi remix of “Otherside” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers that had everyone in the Home Depot Center singing along.  Shortly after, Tiesto even threw in another great sing-aong with Oasis’s “Wonderwall.” 

After paying homage to fellow artists, Tiesto busted out his smash hit “C’mon” and started the biggest party of the night. 

At this moment it became clear that Tiesto was the puppetmaster and the floor was filled with his marionettes, dancing at his will.  Just when the crowd thought Tiesto had used up all his tricks, it turned out he had another ace up his sleeve. After brightening up the stage with sparkling pyrotechnics, fireworks shot high in the sky, in time with the music, flooding the now-vast audience in colorful light. 

After the hectic start to his set, Tiesto turned down the lights, covered the dance floor in a shroud of fog and dipped into his back catalogue, playing his beautiful classical composition, “Adagio for Strings.” 

The crowd, which had been dancing feverishly, greatly appreciated the break to simply sit and admire the wonderful song.  Who knew violins sounded so good billowing from giant speaker towers? 

With this lull in the evening, Tiesto took an opportunity to greet his fans as a magnanimous leader.  “Today is a very special day,” Tiesto said. “You and me are a part of history.” 

Referring to the massive audience, usually reserved for arena rock shows, Tiesto alluded that the electronic movement is no longer a movement; it’s becoming a powerful force in popular and mainstream music.  “Dance is bigger than anything else in the world.  And I thank you for that,” Tiesto said.  

After his public address, Tiesto jumped right back into the hits, cranking out fan favorites like “Escape Me,” Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams,” the often-sampled “Something’s Got A Hold On Me” and “Levels” by rising star Avicii.  Finally, Tiesto ended the long night around 11 with his conventional closer, “Maximal Crazy.” 

With the music off and the lights up, throngs of people flooded off the soccer field. No one was ready to end the night so early, especially since the beats lived on in their ringing ears.  Many people discussed plans for their next rave: Hard Haunted Mansion for most. Although it’s a great party to look forward to, many agreed it’s going to be hard to top Tiesto’s College Invasion.  

Reach Alex Shapiro here

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