The sparkling fairy lights draped through enchanting fig trees set amongst the mangroves of the Brisbane River truly lays out the red carpet as you enter Riverstage. Music-loving fans arriving to see Fat Boy Slim on Saturday night were suitably primed that this was going to be a magical night.
Love Deluxe kept cool tunes rolling as the beautiful afternoon breeze kicked in, followed by English duo Icarus who kept the sweet vibe happening. Crowds had not arrived in large numbers as yet but by the time 2manyDj’s from Belgium arrived onstage, crowd numbers were swelling.
The duo of David and Stephen Dewaele kicked things off with a low bass beat that within seconds pumped into the heavy blasting bass on Dirty Deeds – ‘Done Dirt Cheap’. The crowd’s instant AC/DC recognition was on high alert as they rushed to the bright lights of the mosh cage. The beats kept coming and the shapes were being well and truly cut on the decks as the two moved around and past each other like they were an extension of one another and the decks. A lot of classics were thrown in ‘Pump Up The Jam’, ‘You Should Be Dancing’ and ‘Blue Monday’ to mention a few. ‘I Wanna See You Sweat’ and ‘Bounce Bounce Bounce’ teased the crowd to get ready for Fat Boy Slim.
The impact of Fat Boy Slim’s arrival at the decks was like a lightning bolt. In front of an audience, a mix of young sweaty and shirtless teens and nostalgic craving ravers, ‘Eat Sleep Rave Repeat’ opened the set with altered images of Norman Cook masked and unmasked projected in visual and sonic arousal as the repetitious beat got the party started.
The set was one long party with one uninterrupted tune after the next. I can’t recall any song played in its entirety but the mix was perfect, flowing and pulsing through the amphitheatre. The visual show was amazing with images projected of – I’m guessing – Cook’s heroes like Che Guevara and James Brown, along with live footage of his own performance and the audiences from live onstage cameras. The Fat Boy from Cook’s iconic video clip from ‘Praise You’ made a quick cameo as well as images of his trademark yellow smiley face (not an Emoji, do your research). Revolving images of ecstasy pills and hit the strobe had me momentarily joining the many ravers wearing their sunglasses at night as our brains took a heightened shot of rave.
Fat Boy Slim raised the revel through his own classic tunes notably ‘Right Here Right Now’ introduced by a background visual of Greta Thunberg’s famous speech. It was a perfectly ‘Oz’ like visual, Greta the all seeing all knowing wise Wizard Of Oz as she implored us to act ‘Right Here Right Now’ counting down in a punch to the big beat anthem. It was a powerful tribute from Cook to Greta and the Earth. The heavy hits kept coming: ‘Praise You’, ‘The Rockafeller Skank’ mixed with The Rolling Stones ‘Satisfaction’ and ‘Sunset’, and ‘Bird Of Prey’. Highlights were mixes of Duke Dumont’s ‘Red Light Green Light’ and Stardust’s ‘Music Sounds Better With You’.
The most impressive aspect however was the inspiring energy and magic Cook creates onstage. The man’s stage presence shows no sign of losing any intensity. He absolutely saturated everyone with joy and sweat at Riverstage – we all felt like we’d joined the Smile High Club! If you get a chance to catch Fat Boy Slim in Australia it will be a musical highlight of your life.