Back at the start of the year, it was announced that Radio 1's Superstar DJ Pete Tong along with Jules Buckley and his Heritage Orchestra would showcase their union of Classical Music and iconic Ibiza dance classics at the SSE Arena in Belfast. Having taken the show to Newcastle and Dublin over the previous few days Sunday evening was Belfast’s turn and it did not disappoint. I had previously watched a variant of the show at the Royal Albert Hall during BBC's Ibiza Prom, but this in no way compares to enjoying this spectacle in real life.
The crowd were a varied bunch ranging in all ages but all there for the common purpose which was to dance the night away and have a thoroughly great time. The stage set was a four screened affair stepping down from the roof to silhouette Pete Tong who was placed centrally at the rear of the orchestra in line with Jules Buckley who conducted the fantastic 65 piece Heritage Orchestra throughout. An array of special guest singers were also in place to belt out some of these classics and they were faultless in their execution of the various tracks to the point where you could hardly tell the difference from the original artists.
A rendition of Rob Dougan's Clubbed to Death opened the show before club classics such as Pjanoo, Lolas Theme, Sing it Back had the crowd off their seats dancing the night away. As an Ibiza regular in my youth, it was obvious to me at an early stage that the setlist was picked to appeal to all and not just the avid clubbers with the large array of commercial hits reinterpreted. Among these there were quite a few spectacular moments throughout the evening, highlights for me being Energy 52's Cafe del Mar featuring its White Isle laden filmic backdrop, Galvanize with its pounding bassline, the pumping Greece 2000, and the laser accompanied extravaganzas of Children, One and the magnificent Insomnia with its amazing green coloured backdrop and laser combination. The evening was topped off with a brilliant version of The Prodigy's Out of Space which had the whole crowd hitting fever pitch.
Although there were a few empty seats around the SSE Arena I expect everyone who was there had a great time with plenty of room for those who still decided to knock out a few retro clubbing moves throughout the evening. The majority of show-goers that I witnessed had a great time and the fans at Tuesdays Hydro Arena show in Glasgow are in for a real treat as the timeless Pete Tong accompanied by Jules Buckley has assembled and produced a simply superb spectacle.