Tiesto @ Aliant Energy Center

For his "College Invasion" Fall tour, larger than life, trance superstar DJ Tiesto, made Madison, WI one of his stops. What? It's kinda odd thinking about Tiesto performing in Madison.

Though, given how the scene has been exploding around here, and local bookers have been getting some serious talent to come to our town, AND how this is a college tour and Madison is one of top 10 schools in the country, I guess it makes sense. This is a DJ concert anyway. He's not playing in some fancy douche bag club.

Tickets were a mere $37, which is cheap compared to almost any gig in the last 5 years.  Also, he took the trouble to come to my town.  He's bringing the show to me!  I can walk to the damn concert.  So, I decided to go.


To prove just how big a sellout he is, upon entering the lobby of the Alliant Energy Center, I'm greeted with several booths selling and advertising shit.

There's Tiesto's merchandise booth with a whole lot of overpriced T-Shirts, and other crap. There's a photo booth! You can get your picture standing next to a picture background of Tiesto! Hot Damn! There was a booth that had the Playstation Move setup showing off some game. There was a booth with energy drinks. And another for Axe Body spray.

I think the bigger offense was during Porter Robinson's opening set. The huge LED display behind would switch to ads! Which advertised the merchandise booth out in the lobby.

People love rockin' out to T-Shirts!

Porter Robinson

Opening for Tiesto was Porter Robinson. I got there around 8:30pm, so I caught the last half hour of his set before Tiesto began at 9pm. As I entered, he was jammin to a remix of Deadmau5 - Raise your Weapon that sounded like Madeon's fantastic remix. It was much longer, and the extended parts didn't sound like it at all, so maybe it was a mashup, or something.

He set was pretty cookie cutter. He played songs similar to what I've heard the locals spin around here. He threw in Wolfgang Gartner - Illmerica towards the end, which felt like he was going for the popular vote, rather than building his own sound. (At least, I think it was Illmerica. It was some well known Wolfgang song.)

But whatever, I only caught the last half hour.


Man, I got there at the perfect time. I didn't have to stand through any of the openers at all. 30 minutes after I arrived, Tiesto took the stage and started up his set.

I got the recorded the first 70 minutes of this (plus a few other clips), so take a look for yourself.

He starts off which a self indulging intro. It's probably the club life theme song. After he throws in a sample of Imogen Heap - Hide & Seek (I thought it was BT at first), and starts hopping from trance anthem to trance anthem, and eventually goes into more Big Room (or whatever) House. He pretty much kept with the Housey trend throughout the rest of the set, though some songs still kept a trancey vibe. It's the kind of sound that he's known for these days.

He DID throw in a few classic tracks, which was a pleasant surprise. One of which was Delerium - Silence (Tiesto Remix). Only it WASN'T the Tiesto Remix! Arrgghh. It was the W&W + Jonas Stenberg Remix. This song is evil. It uses the exact same build up as the Tiesto mix, but then shits all over itself with a breaky climax, rather than the beautiful atmospheric sound of the original. Fuck this song.

I caught a few other songs too, but I don't remember their names. (I did record them, though.) He ended with Tiesto v. Diplo - C'Mon.


The two panoramics above illustrate the kind of place this concert was held at. This is the exhibition hall in the Alliant Energy Center. A huge room surrounded by concrete and steel. And, as Zack reminds me, the same place were they have horse shows, and monster truck rallies. It's the same basic layout as an airline hanger.

The accoustics are horrible. The bass bounces off all the walls, and makes a thunderous sound that echos through the entire space. It drowns out any actual noise from the bass itself. It turns into this Boom-Boom-Boom. So, every bass line is identical throughout the set. You can hear this quite plainly in the video I took.

The rest of the levels were jacked up, so you COULD make out what the songs actually were. But even that had echo in this huge concrete hall. Certainly not as much echo as the bass, but it still blurred the songs a tad.

A Good Time

While, I'm pretty down on Tiesto, and he is a total sellout and a bit of a hack, I had a great time. But, with my expectations so damn low to begin with, there's no place to go but up!

The crowd was quite amazing, too. I think that was the biggest surprise for me. There were some college kids there, but they were mostly in the huge bit in front of the stage. Hanging back in the comfortable section were the actual fans. Tiesto fans maybe, but definitely Trance fans. Clubbers from Chicago and Milwaukee, and a bunch of kids that just wanted to dance and have fun. There weren't any huge assholes.

When Tiesto hit on his mark with the Trance hits, everyone in the crowd was dancing and cheering. Everyone was totally in the moment with this concert. People were actually paying attention! Rather than typing on their phone, or yelling at each other, or trying to feel each other up.

I haven't seen a crowd this responsive in a while. But maybe this could be because it was on a weekday rather than a weekend, and people weren't drinking the night away. And most trance fans are older than the new crop of EDM fans who are into dubstep, electro house, and all that stuff.

I had fun :)

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