“Best DJ in the World,” “Most Popular DJ in the World,” and “Richest DJ in the World” are all titles that have been attributed to Dutch DJ, Tiësto. Though the first two titles are points of contention (the latter being that Tiësto’s net worth is $65 million), it’s hard to deny his presence in “big room” electronic dance music over the last 10 years.

Last year I was able to cross off another one of the DJ Mag’s “Top 5 DJ’s” off of my list (I still have yet to catch Above & Beyond live) when Tiësto embarked on the College Invasion Tour, the “largest dance music tour to ever hit the American college market.” Though I was no longer in college, I wasn’t about to miss an opportunity catching him spin. After the phenomenal experience I had, I was ecstatic for round two when he continued the tour again this year.

Different dates had select emerging acts as openers including Bingo Players, Dada Life, Zedd and Quintino. Australian DJ, Tommy Trash, was the opener for San Diego who got people pumped up and shuffling to his brand of energized electro house. Trash thoroughly warmed up the audience for the main event.

Tiësto dropped bomb after bomb, showcasing more of his electro side of more recent years compared to his trance tunes of his earlier days. Such massive club hits included “Maximal Crazy” (charged dance floor filler), “Pair of Dice” (progressive house anthem featuring Allure- Tiësto’s alter-ego), “C’mon” (fist pumping banger featuring Diplo), and “Hell Yeah!” (hard electro collaboration with hard dance heroes- Showtek). Accompanying the audio assault was a variety of expected LED visuals, lasers, and fog machines to dazzle the senses.

Tiësto spun a few tracks of his last album Kaleidoscope, which in many ways marked his transition in sound as a producer. This album has had a ton of replay value for me with its blend of pop tinged electro-trance. Songs like “Feel It In My Bones” featuring Tegan & Saraand “Century” featuring Calvin Harris, glistened through the massive sound system, reproducing the sound that can be best appreciated in a setting like this one. I was, however, disappointed that he didn’t play “I Will Be Here,” one of my favorite tracks by him and off that album.

An essential function of a DJ is to also introduce new tracks, and I feel like every EDM outing for me there is one song that is unfamiliar and requires a mandatory song ID. That song happened to be “Clarity” by Zedd, a euphoric progressive vocal house track that managed to get a big smile out of me. I looked forward to hearing him spin on New Year’s Eve. One track that came out of left field was a trap remix by Carnage of Hardwell’s “Spaceman.” It was interesting to hear some dirty low end as Tiësto managed to incorporate the trending genre.

Even though everyone should have expected the “new Tiësto,” he did manage to slip in a few of his trance anthems towards the end of his set including: “Adagio For Strings” and “Traffic,” which was appreciated by young and old Tiësto fans alike (I definitely saw some older EDM veterans in attendance).

All in all, it was a great night and Tiësto still has what it takes to guide the crowd on an epic ride.

– Submitted by Jesse Nathason, Music Design