Let’s say you’re a world-famous DJ. Let’s say you’ve reached the zenith of popularity — the kind of popularity that allows you to go by one name, and people instantly know who you are. Just like Madonna, Bono or Sting.
You keep good company, working alongside fellow DJs such as John Digweed, Paul van Dyk and Dieselboy. You tour with people such as David Bowie and Busta Rhymes. You’re working on a re-mix for Coldplay, you’ve partnered in the past with Suzanne Palmer, Sarah McLachlan, and Tegan and Sara, and you regularly rub elbows with those other one-name guys: Moby and Kanye.
Then let’s say you want to spread your popularity even more and capture the ring in a relatively new music scene. What do you do? How about starting a tour marketed to the always-ready-to-party college crowd?
That’s exactly what Tiësto has done. As part of his College Invasion Tour, Tiësto will be performing tonight at 8 p.m. at the Joel Coliseum Annex.
Music has been a part of Tiësto’s life from an early age.
“We always played music in the house,” he said. “My dad was a jazz-piano player, but I didn’t play any instruments. I was more of an active listener than a player. But I listened to radio, got a lot of free records and developed my own style at a club called The Spock in Breda.”
Tiësto, born Tijs Michiel Verwest in Breda, The Netherlands, has racked up tons of international accolades, sold millions of CDs, started his own record label, played at the opening ceremony for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, was voted the Number One DJ in the world by DJ Magazine from 2002-04, and has helped make the trance/house/electronica music genre a worldwide force.
And yet, the Tiësto brand isn’t a household name in the U.S. Always a bit behind the musical times when it comes to dance music — especially compared to the envelope-pushing crowds in Europe — this tour may change that.
Speaking from a hotel in Montreal, Tiësto sounds excited to play to new crowds that are a bit outside of his usual fan base.
“I don’t get to play very often for the younger crowds, so I think this is a unique thing. I thought it was time to connect,” he said. “I play Ibiza (a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea) and that area in winter, and the rest of the world for the rest of the year, and that’s an older, more touristy crowd. It’s great to get exposure with a different crowd, and give them a good show — and we’ve kept tickets cheap for the college students.”
Touring and playing shows is obviously a high priority for Tiësto. By his own admission, he’s on the road all the time, and he enjoys playing to different groups of people. That road work has built a live show that is legendary in the dance-music world, with some shows lasting up to six hours.
And those legendary shows have taken him all around the world playing shows on every continent except for Antarctica — and I wouldn’t count him out there just yet. So what’s on the agenda when he wraps up the college tour?
“I have lots of stuff coming up. I’m touring Latin America for two months, then will work on more new music for a bit,” he said. “I don’t really have a favorite place to play. If the crowd absorbs all the music you play, that’s what matters.”