It’s 1800 hours, there’s the usual gridlock on Avenida 25 de Mayo. We decide to park the car ten blocks away from the venue to arrive on time for the show. The weather isn’t ideal for walking, especially for those like me who have decided to put a suit or blazer on since the temperatures close to 30°C.
We arrive at the iconic Teatro de Colon at around half past six. It’s a mixed crowd with an average age of 35, mostly lovers of electronic dance music; and curious clubbers who donned their dancing shoes, but left their dancing attitudes at home. You could feel the energy in the theatre as soon as you enter the venue; a sense of anxiety in the air. Lights off! Back to 1987 with Blade Runners’s main theme masterpiece by Vangelis, while the shapes of Hernan Cattaneo and his colleagues, Oliverio and Baunder start showing up. ‘I Robot’ by Alan Parson Project fades in, Slacker’s ‘Wanna See the World’ follows, as the Orchestra takes off, the maestro, Geraldo Gardelin gives the signal.
The lights on the metallic construction behind the three men start to blend in, and a beautiful scenery emerges while the crowd applause’s with enthusiasm. I must add that it’s unarguably, one of the most intelligent introductions of all time.
The first track featured is from The Orb, ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’. Touching deep and full of elegant melodies, it’s a great choice to set the mood. ‘The Grid’ by Flotation comes next. Both tracks can indeed be catalogued as ‘classic’ but only to those with high knowledge of the genre. Personally, I found this choice extremely intelligent because I could bet that most people haven’t heard these beauties before. And that choice is justified by the third track, Moby’s ‘Porcelain’. It’s not difficult to imagine the crowd, especially the youngest, who react enthusiastically when the chords of this anthem start wafting from the violins, cellos and the brasses of the Orchestra. The first widely known classic and the first vocals of the night have Leandro Fresco on duty, doing his best to deliver, but not quite satisfying me or most of the audience.
‘Closer’ by Hernan and Soundexile (aka Oliverio and Baunder) the next track follows and the first original composition of the guys in charge. Oriana Favaro absolutely delivers with her brilliant voice, despite some technical issues in the first chorus. Certainly, a big moment for Hernan, Oliverio and Baunder. Next up – ‘Cripsis’. If I had to choose one track as the best from the selection, it would be this one. Another original from the guys in charge; a truly stunning symphonic version, and a beautiful composition to concludes the first part of the show.
The second part began with Way Out West’s – ‘Tuesday Maybe’ and Nick Warren (half of the WoW duo) appearing at the stage to perform was another big moment of the show. The crowd couldn’t hide the love and the excitement they had for the British artist and Hernan’s long collaborator. And this excitement got bigger when Massive Attack’s ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ followed. Another brilliant performance from Oriana Favaro, accompanied by a mystiqal forest scene that covered the whole stage. ‘Love Stimulation’ By Humate was then followed by Guy J’s ‘Dizzy Moments’. This was a great combination of tracks that connected these similar sounding classics from two different decades.
From the 90s to the 00s, and from there back to the early 90s with Frankie Knuckles’s House anthem – ‘The Whistle Track’. A tribute from Hernan to the godfather of house music; homage to one of its biggest inspirations just prior to the show’s half time. Add to all of that, a class performance from Mercurio on the electric guitar. It was ever so subtle, yet substantial, as was the one from the cellist Martin Keledjian.
“Words like violence, Break the silence, Come crashing in, into my little world”. The crowd gets its shoulders loose applauding in rhythm whilst a crimson cross appears in the background. Richard Coleman feels very comfortable on the stage of Colon while singing one of the many Depeche Mode classics. Next up, ‘Cups’ and ‘Golden Path’, or Underworld and The Chemical Brothers, if you prefer. A moment to pay respect to two of the greatest electronic music bands ever; responsible for bringing millions of fans into the world of electronic dance music. All this before closing the third part with the man that changed everything – Giorgio Moroder, we owe you ‘From Here To Eternity’. The finale is performed by Zuker, my favourite guest of the night. He delivers a monster performance and ‘fills the gap’ between the symphonic and the electronic world with his tremendous bass playing.
It’s hard to take a masterpiece to another level but the maestro Gardelin did just that. The way he used his orchestra to adapt Carl Graig’s ‘At Les’ into the symphonic world has to be a genius move. He accomplished this throughout the show, but in this specific track (at least for me) he smashed it! I will never regret spending almost a month’s salary to buy my most expensive vinyl ever back in 1999. ‘Knights of The Jaguar’; if you don’t like this track then there’s something wrong. The warm and passionate sound of the violins still resounds in my ears. Who doesn’t love ‘Right On’ From Silicon Soul? The rhythmic percussion’s that will be loved for ever and ever and the violins once again in the leading role, what a MOMENT! Smiles and good vibes all around the theatre is the only thing to be seen.
Then we are greeted with the unpleasant realisation that this spectacular show has come to an end. What we would do for just one more masterpiece. At this point, I would like to mention, if you believe that the selection of classics is easy and that there is a ‘safe way’ to go, you are mistaken. Have in mind that every remake, cover or interpretation of a classic is very risky because each slight change might sound annoying to your ears. A classic becomes a classic because people love it in its original form and that means its composition met perfection. With this in mind, the maestro Gardelin did an outstanding job. He added his magic in a respectful, intelligent, wonderful way.
The music selection was ace, but I would expect no less from Cattaneo; his talent is undisputed. Each artist who leaves their comfort zone deserves extra respect, even if the result is not as good as you would expect. In this case, the result was great. Visuals, scenery, and direction were all unique and simply amazing! I salute all the artists for these 90 minutes of pure quality performances and especially the powerful duos Oliverio and Baunder, and the other musicians that took part in this wonderful show.
The guests appear all together on the stage for one more tune. As the extremely long standing ovation finishes, and we are leaving the theatre, one thing is certain, sisters and brothers, we will make it to the promised land. After this, we will certainly remain CONNECTED.
Review credits and words by: Nick Varon