With Robbie Rivera
11.13.10 | 1STBANK Center
Holland's native son, superstar trance DJ and dance music producer Tiesto, boasts a resume that would be hard not to find impressive. Some of its highlights: Headlining Coachella and Bonnaroo; a Grammy nomination for his 2007 album, Elements of Life; performing during the opening ceremony of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. He's even been knighted by the Dutch crown.
After first breaking through to American audiences in 2000 following the smash-success of his remix of Delerium's "The Silence" featuring Sarah McLachlan (one of the very few dance tracks to ever receive widespread airplay on American radio), Tiesto's popularity has only increased in recent years.
In spite of all that, his performance Saturday night in front of an only half-packed house at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield was somewhat underwhelming. Robbie Rivera was playing when I arrived around 10:30 p.m.
The Puerto Rico-born DJ (who's done remix work for the likes of Madonna and Kylie Minogue, among others) had the crowd moving to a commercial house set that didn't really do it for me. Tracks I noticed included remixes of Peter Bjorn and John's "Young Folks" and iiO's "Rapture," the latter apparently still getting a massive response in 2010 (Deep Dish's 2001 remix of "Rapture" was one of the biggest club hits of that year).
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Rivera worked the dancefloor until around 11:30, when Tiesto appeared in the DJ booth and took over the controls. To his credit, the sound in the 1STBANK Center immediately improved, due to both increased volume and expert equalizing. If nothing else, Tiesto's performance was professional and technically proficient.
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The music itself, unfortunately, was really just the same style progressive trance popularized in America by Paul Oakenfold in the late '90s. How Dutch DJs like Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren and Ferry Corsten have managed to remain massively popular playing such a stale genre is something of a mystery to me. Tiesto's set was 90 percent progressive trance, the other 10 percent being a combination of commercial house and electro. I guess there's something to be said for accessibility.
I was a bit surprised by the turnout, especially after having recently witnessed a sold-out Bassnectar show at the 1STBANK Center last month. Tiesto is touring -- in fact, it's a massive, 150-date tour spanning five continents -- in support of his new album, Kaleidoscope, released last month on Ultra Records and featuring interesting guest appearances from Sigur Rós vocalist Jónsi and Bloc Party singer Kele Okereke. As such, I'd expected a full house, yet the place didn't seem to be close to capacity.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: I cut my teeth on Sasha and Digweed-style progressive house/trance back in high school, but don't have much interest in DJs like Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren or Ferry Corsten. Nonetheless, I tried to approach this show with an open mind. Like I said, Tiesto impressed me a little with his technical proficiency if not his track selection. Random Detail: The crowd was older than I was expecting. Most of the people there wouldn't have been out of place at Beta. Not a whole lot of young people or ravers in attendance. By the Way: I'm starting to warm up to the 1STBANK Center a little. Rave on!