|Tiesto in Concert|
|Written by Dan Macintosh|
|Tuesday, 27 January 2004|
Since DJ Tiesto is denied movement by his chosen musical art form, the producers of this concert DVD decided to work the movement around him, instead. His concert cubicle, if you will, is inside the center of a large wheel of lights, which shoot out from him in long bright color bursts. These light beams blink, turn and change colors throughout this performance. For instance, when a dance take on “The Star Spangled Banner” comes up in the set list, these lights appropriately become variations on a red, white and blue patriotic theme. In addition to the auditorium’s multiple banks of lights, there’s also a large ball hanging over the audience. In other words, DJ Tiesto rests in the eye of one huge and storming special effects display.
DJ Tiesto is also aided by video screens in front of him and behind him. Sometimes these screens just show accompanying colors, while at other times, thematic pictures are presented. For instance, at one point during the show, British Union Jack photos fill these screens, and during another section, a few racy nude women become the show’s temporary illustrations.
One hindrance to his cause is how DJ Tiesto too often looks more like a weekend athlete than any kind of a famous musician. Instead of dressing in sparkling outfits, Tiesto prefers to draw from a seemingly endless collection of soccer jerseys. He also has short hair, a clean-shaven face and a sunny disposition all around. He never appears angry or mean, and prefers to bounce happily to the music whenever the mood strikes him. Sometimes he’s shown simply shuffling through his numerous albums, while at others, he’s captured encouraging his audience to clap their hands over their heads in time with the music.
DJ Tiesto never speaks out loud, by the way. Instead, an announcer who sounds an awful lot like the fat host of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” acts as his spokesperson for this event. “Everybody claps your hands,” he pleads at one point, and later says, “Let the DJ know how you’re feelin’.” And on more than one occasion, he precedes musical segments by saying, “We continue around the world.”
Such a world tour analogy is appropriate, since two distinct regions of planet Earth are saluted extensively during this concert.
Beginning with the track “Orange Studios,” the arena is bathed in orange light as various special guests are viewed taking the stage. These include Asian male actors praying, and female actors fanning themselves. A long dragon train costume also wanders about the stage and dances to traditional music. These thespians are backed by various traditional percussionists and such. After their initial musical number is completed, DJ Tiesto takes over reins again. As he gets into his far more tech-inspired “Coast To Coast,” his special guests are left on stage looking like they don’t quite know what to do with themselves. The dragon folks try and dance a bit, but this is clearly not their kind of a parade, if you know what I mean.
Music of the African continent is also spotlighted in this show. At the beginning of this section, Omar Ka & Fula Band takes the stage to the sound of a traditional chant, with a lyric about world peace. Next, these musicians -- who are joined by dancers on a raised stage – continue to perform Afro-centric music, sans Tiesto. All the while, the stage is colored with Africa’s red, gold and green colors.
A few “in the flesh” singers also join Tiesto during his concert. It was truly wise, for instance, to bring on Mavie Marcos (of Andain) to the stage to sing “Beautiful Things,” since she is, indeed, a beautiful thing. Mr. “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” later introduces Jan Johnston as the “First Lady of Trance,” as she also sings atop a raised stage in a nearly see-through white dress. She vocalizes with a girlish little voice on a song that repeats the line “I feel wonderful” more than enough times to get her point across.
Musically, it’s hard to tell apart a lot of DJ Tiesto’s various works. He obviously has the magic touch when it comes to mixing dance music, but after a while, one starts to long for more real songs. Nevertheless, “Lethal Industry” is a true crowd pleaser, and on it, even the mild-mannered DJ Tiesto appears to be enjoying himself a whole lot. At the end of “Rush,” the track slows down to a complete halt, making it the first truly quiet moment of this whole set.
The second disc in this set has a whole slew of extras. These additional elements include a “Making Of “ feature, a Micha Klein Visual Showcase, the Mmore Fan Of Tiësto, the “Traffic” music video, a TV commercial “Tiësto In Concert” and a commercial for Coca-Cola/Tiësto.
Overall, the approximately three-hour concert portion of this release is a visual/musical success. But the producers’ need for special guests and regional spotlights vividly points out some of the glaring limitations of electronica concert music in general. Since it’s not a song-based art form – nor should it ever be, quite frankly -- it will never truly amount to pure listening music. But, if nothing else, the creators of this package earn extra effort points for attempting to lift this performance above something that merely shows one lonely man surrounded by his machines.
Just as dance music always sounds better in a club, concerts are more often than not “you had to be there” kinds of events. But based upon this DVD, Tiesto shows a whole lot of performance promise. If anybody can turn electronic music into must-see DVD material, Tiesto’s the most likely candidate for such a large breakthrough task.