Live Review: Fatboy Slim @ Riverstage, Brisbane
Norman Cook A.K.A Fatboy Slim, the original master of the mix, made an appearance in Brisbane last night for what turned out to be a mercifully cool, dry evening at Riverstage. Slim’s tour of Australia’s major cities this month follows his 2015 album ‘The Fatboy Slim Collection’, featuring 51 of his most popular hits.
Fans have been waiting since the show’s announcement last November to see this legend in the flesh, and it’s safe to say that no one could have been disappointed by the performance he gave. The crowd was testament to Cook’s timeless appeal.
“…it wasn’t long before several girls (and a few guys) in the audience had been hoisted onto shoulders.”
People from all walks of life came to get their rave fix, from denim-clad teenagers and men with no shirts through to ladies wearing formal dresses and rockers in their late 60s reliving their glory days.
Support act DJ Erick Morrillo was on the decks until 8:30, and the sound could be heard from miles around. Morrillo’s successful performance was down to the three key ingredients he brought to the stage: infectious performance energy, psychedelic visual effects on the big screen, and beats capable of sending anyone into a hypnotic trance.
Morrillo’s seamlessly-blended mix had an effortlessly cool, laid-back vibe and some John Lennon thrown in for good measure, but by the end of his set the crowd was growing restless for Fatboy Slim. In a fitting tribute to the late great David Bowie, Life on Mars played to fill the gap between the sets, distracting eager and excited fans with a settling dose of nostalgia.
In his modest, quiet fashion, Cook came onstage ten minutes later and was instantly met with thunderous applause. He jumped straight into Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat, a favourite amongst young and older fans alike, and it wasn’t long before several girls (and a few guys) in the audience had been hoisted onto shoulders.
To Cook’s credit, he worked and played hard through the whole set without a single break between the first and last song. Delving deep into his endless catalogue of hits, he merged them into one long, rave-inducing blend of sound.
The level of excitement in the crowd only grew as the set went on. Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat was followed by What The F*ck?, a song featuring some of the most confusing lyrics ever recorded: “They know what is what but they don’t know what is what/They just strut/What the f*ck?”
“There’s nothing like seeing the father of big beat spinning the discs with all the passion and excitement of his youth, having as much fun as anyone in the audience and even whipping out some dance moves onstage.”
The fact that it doesn’t make any sense has probably only helped the song to transcend generational boundaries. Other crowd favourites included Renegade Master, the instantly-recognisable The Rockefeller Skank, Ya Mama (Push The Tempo), Weapon of Choice, and Wonderful Night. Proving that he is still the king of spin, Cook wove electro-favourites like Jack by Breach and Do It Again by The Chemical Brothers into the mix with such expert flair that it was easy to forget he didn’t write them.
Near the end of the set, he also paid tribute to Bowie, bowing as his iconic painted face appeared on the big screen to raucous applause from the crowd. Amongst my favourite parts of the night was the mash up of The Rockefeller Skank mash up with the Rolling Stones’ classic Satisfaction guitar riff, and after hearing a snippet of Right Here Right Now in the mix, I thought the show couldn’t get any better, but I was wrong. Cook’s epic mix of Praise You kept the crowd dancing until the very end and screaming for an encore long after he mopped the sweat from his face and left the stage.
A Fatboy Slim show is a non-stop audio and visual experience – a trance-inducing kaleidoscope of colour, sound, and visual effects – and while it was aurally and visually captivating, the best thing about the show was the authenticity.
There’s nothing like seeing the father of big beat spinning the discs with all the passion and excitement of his youth, having as much fun as anyone in the audience and even whipping out some dance moves onstage. Good news for those who love a good rave: despite his impending 53rd birthday this year, Fatboy Slim doesn’t look like he’ll be slowing down any time soon.
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