A day before the concert, the University of Massachusetts Amherst Facebook page blew up with ticket sales, and three hours before the concert, a line of over 200 people stretched from the street to the main entrance of the Mullins Center. From outside, the booming bass of the first act could be heard, rousing the excitement of the eagerly awaiting crowd. This was the night everyone had been waiting for – the night DJ Tiësto came to Amherst.
Entertaining the early arrivals was Randy Boyer, a local DJ from the Amherst area. He created a club-like atmosphere, with a cool display of blue lights and original sound, mixing tracks such as “Disarm” by the Smashing Pumpkins. After showcasing his originality and talent, there can be no doubt that this local DJ is on his way to a much higher level of success.
At about 8:30 p.m., the stage was invaded by the official opening act, DJ sensation Porter Robinson. Hand-picked by Tiësto to open the show, Porter Robinson is a young DJ with tremendous ability. Upon entering the stage the lighting became more dramatic, making it clear why Robinson has been chosen to open for one of the world’s most famed DJs. He is no amateur when it comes to the turntables; his sound immediately explodes into smooth, rhythmic electronic mixes. Fists pumped and hands waved as Porter took the rapidly-filling arena to a new level of excitement.
Porter mixes his own beats, exposing his new modern, fresh sound and occasionally he surprised the audience with electronic mixes of modern day hits. Among these mixes were Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and Kanye West’s “Coming Home.” As the crowd grew, Porter Robinson’s act intensified and the anticipation of the audience steadily heightened. The lights transitioned to a vast array of different colors, and the crowd looked like a sea of neon as the crowd pumped their fists to Porter’s intense bass.
The floor was almost full, slowly reaching its maximum capacity for the night, and the lower levels were also decently full. Only the upper levels were completely empty, making it evident that floor seats were the seats of choice for tonight’s audience. The crowd was determined to have the most energetic experience possible. As the lower level began to fill with last minute ticket buyers, the occupants, almost collectively, decided that the show’s seating would be floor seats or bust. Suddenly, the entire lower level of the right side of the arena stampeded into the floor area seating. Without hesitation people leaped over the glass barriers and a metal fence bordering the floor and barged past any security staff that stood in their way. Some, not all, were lucky and fast enough to get by without security noticing. But for those unlucky few, they were pulled back by the security people to enjoy the show from their original seats. The floor quickly became filled to capacity, and Tiësto still had not yet come on stage.
At 10:30 p.m., as Porter exited the stage, the location of the seats did not seem important anymore. In complete unison, the arena erupts in cheers for Porter’s amazing opening act performance and for the sheer joy of what they knew was coming next: Tiësto.
Finally, the moment arrived and Tiësto entered the stage. The entire arena erupted in screams and uncontrollable chaos. The lights went wild, the bass pounds louder and the fists pumped even harder. Large video screens added even more to the club-like performance as Tiësto spinned his most legendary hits. Cannons shot confetti into the air and giant spouts of mist spewed up from the front of the stage. The entire atmosphere moved to the rhythm of Tiësto’s incredible sound and altogether overwhelmed the senses of each audience member with unfathomable excitement.
Tiësto took control of the entire arena from the moment he stepped onstage. Everyone tried to get as close as possible to the DJ legend, regardless of where they were seated. In the center of the stage, surrounded by his massive setup of turntables and equipment, Tiësto dominated the Mullins Center. Dedicated fans of electronic music sang along with lyrics and cheered to the beat of the song. Even for firsttime Tiësto listeners, it was impossible not to move to the beat or fist pump to the bass line. The entire crowd danced straight through till the end, never wanting the show to end.
Tiësto will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the greatest artists to ever visit the Mullins Center. The students of UMass Amherst will never forget the night Tiësto took over their school. One of the world’s best DJs will surely gain fame as he brings his unforgettable tour to colleges and universities around the nation, taking them over one by one. UMass Amherst was certainly happy to oblige.
Jessica Troland can be reached at [email protected]