Ibiza is not dissimilar to the Wild West. Lazy sunsets; hanging dawns in the sand; iconic soundtracks. In the O2 Arena, Pete Tong and Jules Buckley are illuminated under pillars of light in an epic showdown between dance-floor anthems and orchestral arrangements. This town (stage) isn’t big enough for the two of them.
And that’s when it explodes. Jules Buckley’s magnificent arrangements of tracks that made Pete Tong a cult hero pour off the stage, onto the floor and up the levels of the sold-out O2. What began in the Royal Albert Hall at the BBC Proms is ramped up by around 15,000 raving bodies and a comparable number of Watts and decibels. I’m a different person? Goddam. This is a different level all together. With a split screen projecting Jules’ and Pete’s 10-feet tall faces it’s a different euphoric level completely. Tonight there is a fascinating and brilliant fission of audiences. The dancing masses are gazing at the projected sunset but with different eyes. Some are reminiscing; the other half are wondering how quickly they can get there for the first time.
Pete, Jules, Artistic Director Chris Wheeler and the stupidly versatile Heritage Orchestra are conjuring that two-headed chimera that nods to both ends of the spectrum (ably assisted by the newly incarnated deep-house tuba). The star turns are starry (as tautologically expected). Ella Eyre, John Newman and recently-created mother Jessie Ware all deliver stonking vocals as do the premier trio of Vula Malinga, Brendan Riley and Sam White.
As the orange ticker tape falls from the ceiling and the smoke pumps into the air, John Newman says he can feel the love. We can feel it too. An encore in an equally/more salubrious arena is only right. In the meantime, get stuck into the almost-as-good-as-the-live-thing album they’ve made.
Classic House is out right here (right now).