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  • Writer's pictureFrances

Haçienda Classical Review | Bridgewater Hall | Manchester

Weaving together Mancunian musicians, orchestral music and strobe lighting for a mix of comfortable weekday raving, the celebrated DJ’s Mike Pickering and Grame Park are back at the Bridgewater Hall for their third year of crossover classics. While the shape throwing night scenes of the Hacienda may have come to an end in 97, its portable edition has proven itself a success.

Manchester Camerata’s effortlessly exceptional orchestra brings a mature dynamic to the hectic reboot which sees live music mixed alongside the DJ’s set and amped by various adrenaline pumped acts. The standout classics Ride on Time, and You Got The Love together with Happy Monday’s stars Bez walking through with his maracas, offered pure nostalgic joy to its exultant audience.

The revival that fuses House and Gospel also offered an extensive party package, even before the initial show, special guest DJs Bobby Langley, Alister Whitehead, Peter Hook and Tom Wainwright performed in the auditorium for over two hours.

This respawning of the 1981 Hacienda movement has proven decisive, too sweet for some who believe the talents of orchestras should be fixed on a different set of classics. But as the audience packed the Bridgewater, opting even to buy the seats behind the stage, it was clear that the energy and atmosphere are warranted. The eruption of dance music and orchestral blends has several benefits, mainly that it seizes on a wider audience. The fusion of the evening has brought in a younger crowd who are less likely to pay to watch classical music but can see the undeniable talents of the uplifting orchestra which will hopefully capture the attention for future performances.

Regardless of your preferred genre of music, this far from futuristic fusion makes sense. Rather than remain haunted by the painful closure of its original nightclub, the influential music that helped shape The Ministry of Sound has been reclaimed with new dynamism. Bringing the Hacienda back to life with an immersive experience that leaves its audience in a haze of lasers, dancing with strangers and surrounded by its yellow and black backdrop.

As it turns out, people still appreciate the classics. Manchester may have been the final stop of the Hacienda Classical 2018 tour, but if you still want to Rock the Casbah you can look forward to the release of a new album and the Channel4 documentary Hacienda House Orchestra in October.

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