Penn State students know all about non-stop dancing. That is why in some ways, the “Club Life College Invasion Tour” was like a mini-encore for this year’s Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon.
Back in the Bryce Jordan Center, a few thousand students filled some of the arena’s seats and most of its floor Tuesday night. Many wore fluorescent tank tops, knee-high socks, headbands and shorts. Female students wore tutus and glitter. Despite the dark cavernous arena, many of the male students donned colorful sunglasses.
Similar to Thon, the music never stopped. It didn’t stop between songs. It barely stopped between sets. Each track seamlessly mixed into the next. And if the students needed a break, it was hard to tell. The crowd on the floor never stopped dancing, waving hands and cheering.
It was one of the more diverse crowds to see a show at the Jordan Center. But the audience members had one thing in common — they were young. In fact, on the way in, the ticket lady asked me, “Aren’t you a little old to be here?” I must have stuck out like an old, wrinkled thumb.
Forever far from being mainstream, electronic music is as popular as ever. Tiesto is leading the way. The house music DJ is his genre’s most recognizable name. And with his tour, he is taking “club life” to college arenas across the country.
Compared to the pageantry of most arena shows these days, techno is the anti-concert. There is virtually no stage banter. No sing-alongs. No introductions. No silence between songs.
Instead, it’s the consummate club experience. Dancers go through a cycle of innards-shaking beats, blazing keyboard solos and predictable build-ups that psych up the crowd each and every time.
Fellow DJs Alvaro, Quintino and Tommy Trash supported Tiesto. With each act, the stage show got a little more interesting, and the music got a little louder.
Tiesto’s set featured pyrotechnics, smoke canons, lasers and some of the most bizarre, dream-like videos projected on a giant on-stage screen. When he took the stage, the crowd had been dancing for three hours straight, but that did not slow anyone down. The youthful energy only increased as the music intensified.
When it comes to a man standing behind high-priced audio equipment, there’s not much he can do in terms of stage presence. But Tiesto bobbed his head, twisted and danced, and often called to the crowd to do the same.
The concept of “club life” may be foreign to arena-sized audiences, but the carefree spirit of electronic music has connected with today’s college students on a large scale. This is a different brand of music. It’s not about a hit song or the artist personalities. It’s about getting lost in the music. It’s about dancing freely. And it’s about being young.
Jonathan F. McVerry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.