See also: Our Q&A With Tiesto
The Home Depot Center
October 8, 2011
Better than…shows that aren't the biggest of their kind ever.
The last time I saw Tiesto was February 2002 at Exit in New York City, when all the cracked out ravers wanted nothing more than to huddle together and dance. He sent shivers down spines by the sheer power of his keyboard. I thought of him as what it meant to be young and free.
A decade later, performing before 26,000 people at the Home Depot Center in Carson on Saturday, I assumed he would be jaded, but when he came on stage a smile lit up his face, while smoke and streamers sprayed all around. He spun the pretty, feminine songs that he's known for, mixed with hard beats. His show came alive with William Naraine's “If I Could Fall.” “If I could fall, in love with you, would you be just a little bit stronger.”
“Jeans Too Tight” flashed on the main screen behind Tiesto and the six vertical screens in front of him while he rocked sparkly headphones. He thrust his hand in the air to the beat. The crowd danced hard while a smoke machine, pyrotechnics, strobe lights and firecrackers kept everyone engaged.
Tinie Tempah's “Pass Out” played, and someone shouted, “Fuck yeah! I can't get enough of this song!” (“Yeah, yeah, we bring the stars out, we bring the women and the cars and the cards out, let's have a toast, a celebration, get a glass out, and we can do this until we pass out.”)
Dozens of people (mostly girls) took advantage of the mist and dark and jumped the barricade to try and get closer to the DJ. Security escorted them out, grabbing them by the wrist, but the ladies continued dancing while being shoved out of the blockaded area.
Perhaps Tiesto's most famous remix — “Silence,” composed by Delerium and sung by Sarah McLachlan — was greeted by a universal chorus of cheers. As McLachlan's voice rose up — “In this silence, in this white wave, in this silence, I believe” — the fans' screams bordered on hysterical as people fist pumped and convulsed to the hard beat.
Oasis's “Wonderwall” also found an appreciative audience, as people sang along. Tegan and Sara's “Feel It In My Bones” burst forth in a display of pink and gold fire shooting out from the stage, as security guards tried to stand firm but got caught up in the playful crowd and bounced balloons back and forth.
The throaty Hadley sang on Dinka & Danny Inzerillo's “Reach For Me” and had Tiesto bobbing up and down, as she belted out “I feel you near me, why don't you reach for me, cuz I'm gripping these sheets and I'm shaking from the inside.”
Lights came on and illuminated the crowd jumping up and down to Sneaky Sound System's “I Will Be Here” — another strong, pretty voice. “You don't mind if life's not that pretty, it will soon disappear, it will be miles away, away from here.” Tiesto waved to the crowd as he cut into Kay's “Work Hard, Play Hard.” “I own this shit all week, this beats for all my freaks, we're running on no sleep.”
“Dr. Gonzo” was epic. Pink and green firecrackers shot up at the peak of the song. Strobe lights came on to intermittent shots of people with eyes closed and hands in the air, doing Melbourne shuffles, bunny hops, gyrating hips and whatever other dance moves to keep the momentum going.
Kanye West's “Lost in the World” started with a whisper, then built to a pulsating rhythm with “You're my freedom, you're my jail, you're my lies, you're my truth, you're my war, you're my truce.” Tiesto continued with “Here on Earth,” as people clapped furiously to the Cary Brothers singing, “I'm a sucker for your game, it's the way you tease, and it's so unreal, when we touch the ceiling.”
Finally, Tiesto spoke: “Hello, Los Angeles, today is a very special day. You and me are part of history now. This is the day that we'll all remember that dance music is bigger than anything else in the world, I thank you for that! So let's celebrate and party!” Ironically, Samuel Barber's” Adagio for Strings” played in the background during his speech, which is a common death song that was played during Albert Einstein's and Grace Kelly's funerals.
The 42-year-old DJ switched gears to Example's “Changed The Way You Kiss Me,” at times blacking out the song so the crowd could fill in the lyrics: “I know you're gonna miss me, I guarantee you'll miss me 'cause you changed the way you kiss me.”
CC Sheffield's “Escape Me” came on to a roar, as the couple next to me jumped up and down holding each other and literally shed tears to this song: “I don't want him tonight, I don't wanna be cruel, I don't wanna deny, failure is my favorite thing.”
White streamers sprayed out to Eurythmics's “Sweet Dreams,” and the once played out but now classic Robin S song, “You Got To Show Me Love” and The Pretty Reckless's “Everybody Wants Something From Me.”
“This is the last track and we have the world so we have to go maxima crazy!” Tiesto said, as he ended his more than two-and-a-half-hour set with a grand finale of white confetti, fireworks and golden firecrackers popping into the night sky.
Critical bias: I'm cheesy, so I missed Tiesto's songs from 2001 with the soft, sad and pretty vocals like Nicola Hitchcock's “In My Memory” and Jan Johnston's “Close To You.”
The Crowd: Exuberant 18 to 25-year-olds in booty shorts, midriffs, boots and sneakers. They clearly came solely to dance.
Overheard in the Crowd: “Fuck your fucking pictures, let's just fucking dance,” and “I would pee here right now but I don't want to mess up my outfit.”