Turning an arena into a modern disco takes a lot.
An internationally known DJ such as Tiësto has to show up with much more than just his records. Tiësto’s thumping mixes of trance and electro-house are indeed the draw. But a crew of 35 helps Tiësto transport the audience with an elaborate set and lights galore.
“With my show, the club comes to you,” said the Dutch DJ. “In a club, it’s like entering somebody’s house. A stadium is your own house, a real performance. At a club, people are going there anyway. So in an arena you have to work to really make it special, take the audience away.”
The DJ and record producer born Tijs Michiel Verwest brings “Tiësto Club Life College Invasion Tour” to Scope in Norfolk on Wednesday.
“My audience includes everybody,” said Tiësto, calling from his home in Spain. “But I like to expose younger people to my music.”
The 42-year-old garnered international attention in 2004, when he became the first DJ to play live at the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics. “Parade of the Athletes,” a compilation of tracks he made especially for the games, was released later that year and boosted his profile in the dance community. Tiësto’s third album, 2008’s “Elements of Life,” topped Billboard’s electronic album chart and received a Grammy nomination.
The success came after years of DJing in the Netherlands, where he was born and grew up. While still in high school, Tiësto started spinning records in clubs, eventually developing his vibrant style at The Spock, a joint in his native city of Breda.
“I’ve always had a love for music, you know, all kinds,” Tiësto said. “It just made sense to be a DJ because I loved playing it so much.”
In the mid-’90s, he started releasing compilations of his mixes. By the dawn of the 2000s, Tiësto had become a hot name in the United States. He toured with Moby and collaborated with David Bowie and Busta Rhymes.
“My style is completely different than it was years ago,” Tiësto said. “I was playing longer tracks, seven to eight minutes, with a lot of buildup. Now, it’s developing into this mix of electro-house and vocal house. It’s smoother.”
The throbbing pulse of electronica drives much of pop these days, particularly the ubiquitous hits of Lady Gaga.
“Dance music, it’s everywhere, more popular than before,” Tiësto said. “It’s the energy. When a DJ plays, you never know what to expect. It’s the variety. People always want to dance.”