TIESTO at the Docks (11 Polson), Sunday (May 21). $60-$75. 416-640-0966, www.ticketbreak.com. Rating: NNNNN
Tiesto is world-famous for spinning records, but most of his notoriety comes from his ability to break them.
It's a career built on milestones of "most evers" and "first DJ to" achievements - like being voted number-one DJ in the world three years in a row, rocking the Olympics opening ceremonies in Athens in 2004 (the largest DJ gig ever) or the countless parties in far-off corners of the globe where attendance figures hit U2 levels.
When I finally catch up to the flying Dutchman, born Tijs Verwest, he's chilling out in a Vancouver hotel room in the hours before a gig, having just returned from an Asian tour. I ask about highlights.
"Jakarta," Tiesto says coolly. "I played to 28,000 people on the beach. It was my first time there."
So goes the astoundingly charmed existence of a trance DJ from a little town called Breda an hour south of Amsterdam.
He used to mop floors as a precondition for playing a club there, where he first got started. But after he remixed Delerium's Silence, an epic electronic hit in 2000 featuring Sarah McLachlan's vocals, Tiesto could have bought that club.
That track made just about every imaginable dance compilation in the world, and ruled the UK charts for weeks. It even got some mainstream radio spinnage in the States, and that was said to be a first for the house and trance genres.
Then, in 2002, the coronation took place. DJ Magazine's top 100 DJs poll ranked him first and continued to do so until last year, when German trance master Paul Van Dyk inherited the throne.
However, Tiesto relinquishes the designation eagerly. With power came bitterness, jealously and resentment, all of which Tiesto will gladly bequeath to his successor.
"There's less tension now," says Tiesto in broken Euro-English. "It's so much nicer to see someone else's name at the top. Let me just do my thing. The whole number-one thing was overrated. My life has only become better in the last year. The number of shows, the number of people I reach - it doesn't hurt me at all.
"There's a lot of jealousy in the business because I've achieved so much. My shows are always sold out, everywhere I go in the world, always. So a lot of DJs are jealous. It's a shame, you know, but there's nothing you can do about it."
Still, Tiesto isn't made of Teflon. He says he keeps occasional tabs on Internet haters and responds to fair criticism. On websites like Tranceaddict, armchair DJs often take shots at his mixing style. They're presently dissecting the structures of his new mix compilation, In Search Of Sunrise 5, which Tiesto is currently supporting by touring.
"The best football players are on the sidelines," says Tiesto sarcastically. "They always know it better. 'You should mix like that or like this.' But I think if you're in the game you have to catch the moment and do what you feel. If you follow your heart you can't go wrong."
At this stage, you'd assume Tiesto will need to jump the Grand Canyon in a DJ booth or spin records from space just to get a buzz.
"Just keep rocking the crowd," he says, as though it ought to be obvious. "They give you the pleasure, then you give the pleasure back. As long as I enjoy myself and they do, there's a chemical reaction, and that's what keeps me motivated. That's my addiction: rocking the crowd and playing energetic tracks. It's something beautiful that gives me energy."