It's been almost a year since the voice of dance music first linked up with Jules Buckley for the premiere of their orchestral interpretation of some of the biggest dance classics of the last 30 years. Ibiza Classics to be exact but anyone who truly knows electronic music understands that the white isle is where these very tunes are given the anthemic qualities that allow them to transcend across the globe. They've already performed together all over the UK, Australia, and of course Ibiza but this particular night was a special one. Not only because Pete Tong calls L.A. his home but because this would be the first show in all of North America at the most legendary venue in the city of Angels, The Hollywood Bowl!
The main event kicked off at quarter past 9PM with another important voice in the music world, Beats1 curator and former Radio 1 DJ, Zane Lowe who introduced the night by boldly declaring on stage, "THIS IS IBIZA CLASSICS."
The filtered melody of Fatboy Slim's "Right Here, Right Now" started seeping in while the Heritage Orchestra's string section seamlessly joined in. A few moments later the breakbeat kicked in with a spare amount of volume falling short of the big splash it had probably intended. The mega dance-classic, "Pjanoo" came next which was highlighted by a close-up shot of the fabled piano section being played but in addition to the first drop, the second one came up short as well due to some more issues with very low volume.
Half a decade before "Pjanoo" came the filter, disco-house mammoth known as "Lola's Theme," a very fitting song for the night considering the heavy use of strings which Jules Buckley's orchestra performed flawlessly with a guest vocalist that nailed it with the slightest of ease.
Pete's very special guest, Moby was then brought on stage to bang it out on the bongos for his ultimate classic, "Go." It was a genuine effort by the orchestra and the producer himself who I felt unrepresented the song by presenting his bongo solo as the showcase when the little kid in me just wanted him to bang on his keyboard and yell "GO" repeatedly as he once did on Top Of The Pops back in 1991.
For the next twenty minutes or so, a variety of spectacular vocalists took center stage especially two of them who I felt really connected the show to the audience. First a very soulful vocal performance for Inner City's "Good Life" and second, a particular singer who lent her angelic vocals to the ethereal Orbital tune, "Belfast." It was a gorgeous moment to say the least.
Daft Punk's mammoth track "One More Time" was up next and unfortunately it felt like nothing more than an obligatory track choice. The disco-infused classic just didn't translate well with the live orchestra. The tempo was slower than normal and the orchestral parts dominated the soundscape. Simply put, the big disco kick-drum is the driving element that was sorely left out.
On of the newest tunes of the night belonged to a former Disclosure staple. It was their own garage take on the Jessie Ware pop gem from 2012, "Running." The pinnacle of the night was here and this five year old modern-garage classic had the entire Hollywood Bowl dancing up a storm.
With just thirty minutes remaining, Pete Tong, Jules Buckley, and The Heritage Orchestra covered a lot of ground. The very massive and only contemporary tune of the night, "Grey" by Kolsch had a run, Moby came back out to sing his timeless and ethereal classic, "Porcelain." Plus, the tune with arguably the biggest breakdown in all of electronic music history, "Insomnia" by Faithless set the night on fire.
To close the night, the prominent vocalist known as Aloe Blacc took the stage for a soul-drenched rendition of none other than "You Got The Love." Pete Tong summed up the performance with one word, "Amazing."