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Entranced by L.A.'s vibe

After paying tribute to the city on his new CD, Tiesto plans blowout gigs.

May 11, 2006|Steve Baltin | Special to The Times

DUTCH DJ Tiesto (real name: Tijs Verwest) has a deep rapport with L.A. audiences -- he headlined the Sports Arena in 2005, was top billed on New Year's Eve at the Palladium in 2004 and appeared at Coachella in 2003.

So when the only DJ ever voted No. 1 three consecutive years in the prestigious DJ Magazine poll returns to L.A. to headline Avalon this weekend (Sunday's show being a special 18-and-older affair he initiated last year), it will be particularly significant.

"It's a second home for me," he says. "It feels like playing for my home crowd."

He will treat it accordingly, rolling out a show that includes acrobats, dancing girls and 40-foot plus projection screens. "Amazing," he promises.

The bashes perpetuate a love affair with the city that he committed to his most recent recording, the double-CD mix "In Search of Sunrise: Los Angeles," a collection that transcends his initial days as a trance DJ and explores the wee hours of the City of Angels through an array of dance genres, from warm house beats and inviting vocals to progressive grooves.

It's the fifth in his "In Search Of" series, and it was only natural, since Tiesto recently relocated to the Southland. "I've been living in L.A. since the beginning of the year and that's where I got the inspiration for the CD," he says from Vancouver after gigs the previous three nights in Chicago and New York. "I met a lot of people, a lot of musicians in L.A., and it was like, 'Why not call it L.A.?"

Like Paul Oakenfold and several other top-name DJs who have moved to L.A. in the last few years, Tiesto was attracted by the variety of projects the industry offers.

"You can work on a film, you can work on an advertisement, or meet the online gaming people -- there's so much going on there," he says. "And there are so many creative people. It's very easy to hook up with people."

Because of the city's fertile live music scene and the amount of talent passing through, he also finally got to check out some of his top-level peers, including Sasha and James Zabiela.

Not that Tiesto hasn't cared what others in his field are up to -- it's just that for one, he is virtually always working. And he rarely plays festival bills anymore because his international success affords him headlining status. In his native Netherlands, for example, he is able to sell out 25,000-seat stadiums.

"Mainly all the shows I do now are just me playing with one local DJ," he says. "I never usually play with other DJs."

Having the time to watch other talent is only part of what Tiesto calls a larger rebirth.

"After I went home from L.A., I learned a lot. It was so inspirational and I feel much better now as a person," he says, noting how that has translated into stronger performances. "My DJ sets are amazing at the moment. I'm killing it every night and actually I really feel reborn.

"I was just dead tired before I went to L.A. from all the touring. But I had some time off, I talked to a lot of people, and you see everything in perspective again when you see other DJs play. Some of them are struggling to get somewhere, and I realize how lucky I am as a DJ that I can just travel around the world, everywhere is always sold out.

"I definitely refreshed myself. I'm much happier now and I'm much more into my sound."

*

DJ Tiesto

Where: Avalon, 1735 N. Vine St., Hollywood.

When: 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Saturday (21 and older) and Sunday (18-plus).

Price: $50 to $75 Saturday; $40 to $60 Sunday

Info: (323) 462-8900; www.avalonhollywood.com

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