Review: Pete Tong Ibiza Classics - Motorpoint Arena Nottingham
Updated: Dec 12, 2019
You've got to love 90's dance music!
I guess for people of a certain age, like me, it reminds them of their clubbing days. You'd never have found me at a rave in a field, but I spent so much time clubbing that I ended up working there. (It was in both promotions and bar work unfortunately before you picture me as some kind of cool Annie Mac type DJ)
It was an era where people went to clubs to dance, they went on holiday to dance. Maybe it was just me and my group, but you drank in a club because you were thirsty from dancing - not to get legless. They seem like simpler times, but maybe we were all just younger, or maybe it's all gone a bit Pete Tong since!
DJ and pioneer Pete Tong was massive and judging by the crowd at Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena, nothing has changed. Visiting with his Ibiza Classics tour he absolutely blew the arena away, which for one night only became the best nightclub you've ever been to. With standing/dancing tickets in the region of fifty quid, it was likely more than a lot of us paid for Club entry back in the day, but joining him for the ride was the 65-piece Heritage Orchestra along with vocalists Beverley Knight, house legend Robert Owens, Becky Hill, three equally talented backing singers. Many folk got their moneys worth arriving early to catch DJ Andy Baxter’s set with the floor filling up well before the main gig began.
The Ibiza Classics show was developed after a successful BBC Proms show at the Royal Albert Hall three years ago, and Pete Tong’s collaboration with the Heritage Orchestra went on to play arenas around the world, including the Hollywood Bowl and two sold out nights at the O2.
It also spawned the album Classic House - which sold over 200,000 copies and reached number one in the UK - and the follow-up Pete Tong Ibiza Classics which has so far amassed over 120,000 sales.
This is the second gig I've seen where an Orchestra has recreated the sounds of the 90's, the other being Ministry of Sound, gone are the days of an orchestral performance being something restricted to a reserved classical performance. There's something about that number of musicians coming together to create a sound you grew up with that is really rather special, so much so that you can feel the atmosphere in the arena build. It's quite a spine tingling moment when the first notes of Clubbed to Death ring out over the speakers
It's not just the orchestra that are massive - everything about the night is. The light and laser show for example is amazing , as are the guest artists - the massive vocals of Beverly Knight and Becky Hill are brilliant additions each delivering three or four remixed versions of club classics. A massive screen behind the orchestra and legendary DJ provides a backdrop of images of Ibiza, iconic clubs along with bespoke film of dancers transporting the crowd back to their heyday.
I am not going to lie, I was one of the seated audience members but still thoroughly enjoyed the show. During the course of the one-and-a-half-hours, Pete and co delivered a set of reworked classics transforming pulsing club anthems into orchestral numbers - Sing it Back, 9pm, Touch Me, You Got The Love, God is a DJ - anthem after anthem sounding like they'd always meant to be performed this way.
So Pete Tong it's right!
*My tickets were gifted but my views are my own
Photos by Richard Newbold