Radio 1 Ibiza Prom with Pete Tong

Prom 16: Late Night With … BBC Radio 1: The Ibiza Prom with Pete Tong

pete-tong

Pete Tong

The choice of Pete Tong to present an Ibiza-themed Prom created a fair bit of controversy in the last few weeks, but the decision paid off handsomely in what was effectively a Proms Essential Mix, with almost all the parts played by live instruments.

[Watch here: http://bbc.in/1JxeD63]

Keen listeners to dance and classical music – and there are a number! – will know the gap between the two is not as great as it might seem. A tune like Derrick May’s Strings of Life, for instance, could comfortably sit alongside a piece of Steve Reich – while Moby’s Porcelain would not be out of place if followed by a piece by Erik Satie.

Both songs were part of this set, a cleverly designed montage of 23 tracks that majored on arrangements made by Jules Buckley for the Heritage Orchestra. These were not ordinary arrangements either, including a sousaphone and a bass flute in the mix! They were not wholly successful in the hall itself, either, but have a lot more detail when heard on the radio – the Royal Albert Hall not being built for club music! Naturally the bass dominated – as it probably should in dance music – and some of the mid-range detail, on which Buckley had clearly laboured – was difficult to pick up.

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Jules Buckley at the Ibiza Prom. Picture (c) Chris Christodoulou

This was not a deal breaker, mind, for a high spirited beginning with Fatboy Slim’s Right Here, Right Now was perfectly judged, and set the tone. The only problem – for me at any rate – was trying to tell my brain that this was a Prom where dancing was not only permitted but actively encouraged, as the below picture shows!

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The Royal Albert Hall in the Ibiza Prom Picture (c) Chris Christodoulou

The set moved between orchestra-dominated action and guest appearances from Ella Eyre and John Newman, who both acquitted themselves admirably. Eyre has a terrific voice, which she lent to Inner City’s Good Life and her own hit with Rudimental, Waiting All Night. Newman also has past with Rudimental, and his Feel The Love was warmly felt, before a closing cover of The Source feat. Candi Staton’s You Got The Love.

My only two personal regrets were that someone had not tried to arrange Josh Wink’s Higher State of Consciousness – a true Ibiza classic – or, from the blissful end of the spectrum, Groove Armada’s At The River. Those are quibbles, though, for the night was a roaring success, climaxing with the brilliant Café del Mar by Energy 52.

Over the next few days I will publish some links to songs played in the course of the Prom, linking them to classical music – so that you can hopefully see how connections can be drawn between the forms. Safe to say, though, that this particular Prom crossed a few bridges and opened several doors!

 

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