Review: Pete Tong Ibiza Classics, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
As productions go they don't get much bigger than Pete Tong's Ibiza Classics.
One superstar DJ, a 65-piece orchestra and thousands going large, this was a level of musicianship you don’t get from the average pop star on the arena stage.
Orchestral interpretations of dance classics is a format anyone who’s seen the Hacienda Classical shows will be familiar with, but this takes it up a level with a richer sound and a greater balance between the electric music, with Pete at the helm, and the strains of the orchestra, steered by conductor and composer Jules Buckley.
The live show is a spin-off from the album of the same name, and its predecessor House Classics, and immediately transported the wind-swept arena crowd from a drizzly Tyneside to the sun-drenched shores of Ibiza with a pick’n’mix of some of the biggest dance hits from the past two decades.
Close your eyes and you could almost be in Pacha circa early 2000s as the anthemic Sing It Back by Moloko rang out around the arena, given added oomph with a strong vocal performance by Becky Hill.
Other guest vocals came from Sinead Harnett and Mysdiggi whose energy was infectious with his raucous performance of The Prodigy’s Out of Space.
While the tempo of The Prodigy took your brain to another dimension, an impressive trombone solo for Groove Armada’s By The River slowed it down and had you reminiscing about the long summer days of the island.
Other tunes, that are as synonymous with the White Isle as aioli, were spun by the likes of Ame, ATB, Groove Armada, Daft Punk, Faithless and The Source. There were no filler tracks, each one was a banger and the crowd lapped it up.
As well as an aural spectacular, there were slick visuals. From the pulsating lasers of Insomnia to images of the iconic sunset bars which flashed on the big screen to Cafe Del Mar, this was a huge dose of stylish nostalgia which took you back to the euphoric heyday of Ibiza.
Most of the crowd may have hung up their raving shoes quite some time ago, but for one night only they were back waving their glo-sticks in the air like 24-hour party people. Going a bit Pete Tong has never been so right.