October 6, 2009…That was the date Tiësto released the highly experimental “Kaleidoscope", his last all-original studio album. To say the time has come for another chart-topping album is an understatement. The fie year wait for “A Town Called Paradise" is more than twice as long between “Elements of Life (2007)”, his 3rd studio album, and “Kaleidoscope(2009)”, his 4th.
We were lucky to be invited to the album release party at Terminal 5 in our hometown of New York City. Overall, it was an absolutely awesome and well-organized party…at least for the press personnel. Here are some of our impressions from the party. I kept it short and sweet:
THE TIESTO BIRD STILL STANDS
For many people who still are attached to the trance days, before he dropped “DJ” from “DJ Tiësto”, the bird symbol is one of the last remnants that connects the ever-evolving Tiësto to his trance roots. You might be thinking that it’s such a small thing to notice, but people do, and the old-timers will appreciate that the bird hasn’t been done away with completely.
7UP ABSOLUTELY KILLED IT
7UP isn’t always the first brand (even soft-drink for that matter) dance music fans think of when associating with artists in our beloved scene. That being said, they did an all around FANTASTIC job being Tiësto’s main sponsor for the event. They outfitted the three levels of Terminal 5 with classy yet amazing lighting work. The second floor, which housed media and VIPs, boasted two open bars fully integrated with 7UP products and two-person cafe tables. At this point, I’m already blown away by the decor, and Spaniard DJ/producer Danny Avila hadn’t even started his opening set. Well done, 7UP. You definitely made a splash with this one.
STAR-STUDDED LIVE PERFORMANCES
Although there is nothing new in Tiësto having have top-shelf vocalists on his tracks, the thing that impressed me the most is that they were all here at once. It felt like every transition there was another vocalist on stage. We were blessed with vocals from artists like Matthew Koma and Icona Pop to Quilla. However, the one performance that really stood out to me was the live performance of Red Lights. The vocalist Michel Zitron, who is technically uncredited and rarely makes a MainStage appearance, blessed us all with a truly outstanding vocal performance. On top of that, we were all given wristbands upon entrance that stayed off for the entire show…until Red Lights played. The crowd, including myself, went absolutely euphoric when the theatrics were paired to Michel’s smooth vocals. There were rumors going around the crowd that there was going to be a crazy special guest. As the night got on, I realized that Hardwell was also in New York City at Times Square announcing his stadium tour. It suddenly struck me that he might be the special guest…and he was!
THE ALBUM ITSELF
I’ll be the first to say that I was honestly expecting a typical “EDM” album from Tiësto. I couldn’t be happier that the album wasn’t all about more big room house with repetitive drops that we have gotten used to with the new Tiësto. I always felt that this type of music stifled his true musical genius that he gave us all the way through to “Kaleidoscope”. I can safely say I am TRULY impressed with the album as a whole and how different it is to the modern EDM landscape. There are a lot of indie house cues in the vocals that remind us of “Kaleidoscope” and a lot of 2000’s house melodies. Of course, he didn’t go back in time and give us 8-minute trance masterpieces, but he is doing something better - moving forward from the rather stagnant big room house scene. There is music in it for everyone…the old schooler’s and the new school EDM crowd. There is true musical integrity and talent in this album even though I think it’s a year or two ahead of it’s time.
Overall, the party was absolutely great. The production value and decoration was awesome, the opening set by Danny Avila got the crowd going really well, and Tiësto’s music was on point. What really amazes me is that the night didn’t have a feeling of a typical concert, but almost as if you were a friend of Tiësto and were invited to witness his reintroduction to the world of studio albums.