Before I get to the review, I’d like to thank the John Labatt Centre, who so graciously provided me with a pair of VIP tickets to the show, vouchers to cover a round of drinks, and the opportunity to share my experiences with the online community. The concert made for a night that I will never forget.
Tiesto is a bit of an idol amongst those I associate with, so on the night of September 17th I certainly wasn’t the only person headed to see the show at the JLC. What better way to prepare then to get everyone together, get dressed up, and head to the show as a group?
Late Saturday afternoon I made a playlist of every Tiesto song I could get my hands on, cranked the volume to the limit, ordered up some pizza, and welcomed some friends over to get psyched. We had a few drinks, donned our brightest neon and craziest tights, and covered ourselves in body paint declaring our love for the world’s greatest DJ. I won’t pretend I didn’t do some Youtube research to find out what appropriate attire for these shows might be. Let me say now that I’m glad I left the high heels at home.
Now this certainly wasn’t my first concert, and as Tiesto is the one show I swore I’d never miss, I knew I’d have to throw myself into the insanity that is the front row of General Admission. C’mon, it’s Tiesto – anything but front row just isn’t good enough. Being at the front, however, means you’re also going to be subjected to your feet constantly being stepped on, being shoved in every direction at the same time as people try to get infront of you, losing anything that isn’t tied down, and temperatures of roughly a thousand and ten degrees. Being the overplanner that I am, all these factors just mean that your concert outfit needs to be carefully planned. You don’t want to have to hold on to anything, so jackets and sweaters are out of the question despite the frigid Canadian September temperatures, and anything like cameras, purses, bags, or souvenirs are nothing but an annoyance. I couldn’t have planned better, wearing simple tights, tank top, and flat (covered-toe) shoes, with only a small wallet for my belongings.
In order to secure our front-row spot, we planned to be at the show before the 8pm door time so we didn’t have to fight for placement. Unfortunately after some miscommunication, those plans were dashed – we weren’t on the bus til well after 8pm and not to the JLC for another half hour. At least we made it, though we missed a fair bit of the first act.
We finally arrived at the JLC around 8:45. By that time, the place was already buzzing with fans and excitement. We could hear the sounds of the first act, Dubbs (or was it Zedd? I could have sworn his name was Zedd) coming from the floor, but we had errands to run before we could join the crowds. One of our friends was running late and I had his ticket, but with him outside and us inside, we had to try to co-ordinate getting him in. I spoke with Stephen at Gate 1, who was helpful, and let us pass the ticket across through him when our friend arrived. Next, we headed over to Club Cambria to buy a round of drinks with the vouchers provided by the JLC. Our server, Amber L, was extremely helpful in explaining why we couldn’t order straight shots of liquor, and chatted with us about the JLC Reviewer endeavour after asking how I got the vouchers.
After our rum and cokes we headed onto the floor. Though we were late, through some miracle we managed to make our way right to the front of general admission, just 2 or 3 people from the front. On our way in, after several checks of ID and tickets, we were adorned with gold bracelets, laminated VIP lanyards, and cloth stickers, the purpose of which we never did discover (it spent the concert in my wallet instead).
The first act was great. Zedd, or Dubbs (whoever he was) put on a great show, with excellent music and stage presence. His act was accompanied on the big screen by a Twitter Feed of all those tweets tagged “#collegeinvasiontour”. Everyone loves to see their face on the big screen, and I found even myself tweeting outrageous things just to get a reaction from the crowd. That’s dangerous, that is. Not everything I tweeted came across the big screen, so I can only assume someone was monitoring what was shown – probably for the best.
After a series of killer tuned from the first act, Porter Robinson was up. Though not an avid follower of Porter, I was familiar with his name as he’s often spoted on the “Most Popular” section of Soundcloud.com, and also opened for Skrillex at the London Music Hall earlier this summer. This is a guy who’s ROCKETING up the charts, considering he’s toured with both Skrillex and now Tiesto, he’s certainly an act to watch out for. A fair bit of the music he played was well-known remixes, which, when mixed with his original hits, made for something everyone could enjoy. I’ll certainly be checking out more of his music in the future. And, (slight fan-girl moment), he’s not exactly the ugliest guy out there either.
Finally, around 11pm, it was time; Tiesto was preparing to take the stage. Stage techs could be seen running around to adjust equipment for the God of house music, while Kaleidoscope from Tiesto’s fourth album of the same name began to play. This was accompanied by a video on the big screen. For the first several minutes, the crowd went insane, though Tiesto was yet enter the booth. Suspense grew as the song continued but the booth remained, dark. Suddenly, there he was, the man himself, Tiesto. I, along with a good number of other people in the crowd, managed to capture an amazing video of the event, in which I can be heard screaming “OH MY GOD, TERI, IT’S TEISTO, TERI, IT’S TIESTO, OH MY GOD” and other various nonsense. You wait so long for a moment like that, and when it finally happens you’re really not sure what to do with yourself. The whole thing was so surreal, as I’d dreamed of seeing Tiesto for the last several years, but never thought it would happen, especially not with the opportunity to be so close. I didn’t know what to do with myself, I was so hyper, and ended up more or less going crazy with the rest of the crowd.
If you’ve ever heard Tiesto’s music from CD without seeing him live, let me tell you, they’re two entirely different things. They’re nowhere near the same calibre, heck, I wouldn’t even class them together. Tiesto’s music on CD is great, but it has moments that are far more mellow, laid back, and relaxing despite the electonic beats. Live, Tiesto’s music is full of non-stop energy, and even his slowest songs are transformed into the most energetic mixes you’ve ever heard. You just can’t compare the two. If you’re not a fan of Tiesto’s recorded music…. you just can’t judge it until you hear it live.
Being in the front of the General Admission section was insane. Everyone was going crazy. We were mere feet away from the stage. While it’s something you can’t go to a concert without experiencing, it’s exhausting. You’re constantly fighting to keep your spot, not lose anything in the bustle of the crowd, but still get the most of your the music. Shortly after midnight, all of us were exhausted, and we retreated off the floor for a breather. Soon enough, however, all of us were ready to head back in, though this time we hit the VIP section. Set farther back and up to the side, it’s certainly not the front row, but if anything it was more enjoyable. Though we weren’t so close, we also weren’t fighting to keep our spots, so our attention could be focused on enjoying the music rather than the crowd around us.
There are so many word I could use to describe the show that I don’t even know where to start. It was epic. Insane. Awesome. Incredible. Absolutely unbelievable. It was so surreal, I could hardly believe I was there.
It certainly appeared that the show wasn’t sold out, with a good number of seats in the stands empty, but the energy in the crowd was so high, it wouldn’t have mattered if the crowd was one hundred or one hundred thousand.
Every song was so intense, there was non stop movement. Before the night was over, every inch of my body was sore. The next morning wasn’t exactly pretty for my exhausted muscles.
While nothing matches the pure energy and excitement of seeing your favourite artist live, there is one thing to be said for knowing too well the music they’re playing; you pick up on every single mistake. Tiesto made very few of these, despite the high level of skill required for live mixing, but I did pick up on one in particular. At one point, during a transition from one song to another, the beat was off. I noticed it immediately. I looked up and could TELL Tiesto had made a mistake. He shook his heads, put his headphones on, and made an adjustment. After another quick listen, he repeated the action. Finally, he was happy, and the beats lined up perfectly, as they should. I turned to my right and asked my friend, another superfan, and she’d picked up on it too, though another member of our group didn’t have the slightest inclination that he’d made a mistake. If you know the music too well, you’re going to pick up the slightest imperfection. Now, I’m not saying this is a bad thing at all, in fact, it was interesting to see that he was capable of messing up, and his skill level allowed his to made a sensitive adjustment in barely a split second. I guess musical Gods are humans too, afterall, and it shows that there is something required to play a live show like that – it isn’t just a recording.
By the end of the show, we were all thoroughly exhausted and completely satisfied with the show. “That was AMAZING” was a line exchanged more than once between us. Though we were tired and ready to collapse, two hours didn’t feel long enough. We’re all ready to see another show of that caliber as soon as possible.
I honestly doubt any show will live up to that performance – I really do. Between the venue – small enough to be “intimate” (as intimate as you can get with something like that), but large enough to be a party, amazing sounds, the of course, the artist – I just don’t think it can be matched.
Tiesto and JLC – you’ve forever ruined me for other live music, and for that, I thank you.