New York 29-09-2009,
The Dutch disc jockey, mixer and producer Tiësto got a rock-star welcome — a full house chanting “Ti-es-to!” — for his set on Friday at the Hammerstein Ballroom, the second of three sold-out nights there as part of his world tour. Far from the typical disc jockey toiling unnoticed in a booth, Tiësto occupied center stage with his turntables and mixers, at times under his own huge video image.
Tiësto is a titan of trance, the most crowd-pleasing beat in electronic dance music — perhaps because it’s unsubtle enough to tell even a dance-impaired clubgoer when to move. Virtually unchanged since the 1990s, trance is basically a gargantuan boom-chicka-boom with a steady kick-drum on every beat, and it’s supremely adaptable: euphoric, martial, perky, ominous, indefatigable. A trance D.J. set cycles through stark beats, pushy synthesizer lines, pop vocals and song remixes, and passages in which the beat drops away and synthesizer chords hover for a reverential moment, awaiting the next round of thumping propulsion.
The 3,400-capacity Hammerstein is modest compared with she stadiums and arenas where Tiësto has played across Europe and the Americas. He brought an arena-rock production, complete with video, flash pots, smoke machines, streamer cannons and a wall of strobe lights that flashed to signal segues. Near the beginning of a set that ran well over four hours, he unleashed subwoofers that could simulate full-body massages for the whole club, then used them sparingly as wee-hours stimuli.
Tiësto’s next album, “Kaleidoscope” (Ultra), is due for release on Oct. 6; through the Hammerstein set, the video display often showed kaleidoscopic images. The album is not a disc-jockey set — Tiësto does those for Sirius XM satellite radio — but a collection of new songs and instrumental tracks. Tiësto collaborated with singers from inside and outside the dance-music sphere, among them Jonsi (from Sigur Ros), Kele Okereke (from Bloc Party), Nelly Furtado, Priscilla Ahn, Cary Brothers, Calvin Harris and Tegan & Sara. Most tracks are poppy songs about love, devotion and inner strength, buoyed by the trance beat.
The early part of the set featured those songs, with the female singers appearing in glamorously unreal video settings over Tiësto’s head, synched to the track he was playing.
With his promotional duties mostly done — he saved a few of his own songs for a later stretch — Tiësto turned back into a club D.J., as the set became more instrumental and more diverse. He dipped into his own older recordings, and perhaps for local color, he remixed songs by New York bands: MGMT, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. He set aside the beat at times, teasing the crowd to clap along before he ratcheted it back into place. He toyed with somber, quasi-classical passages or piled up percussion layers and synthesizer zaps. But the beat never paused for too long. Sooner or later the boom-chicka-boom was back in full force, as Tiësto gave dancers exactly what they expected.
Source: The New York Times