Pete Tong needs no introduction for any serious club-goers as he has spent decades as a legend in music journalism, DJing, party hosting, and radio around the world. The crowd at Opera wasn’t all typical clubbers though, and included an interesting mix of ravers, VIP types, and plenty of people who looked like they’d just left the office. It was a full range of ages and backgrounds, but there were two things they all had in common. Everyone was smiling. Everyone was dancing.
Local favorite Ramouz opened up for the global ambassador of electronic music with an extended set of classic progressive and deep house. The tempo was set, drinks were in hand, and the audience started to get to know one another. I saw more than one pair of light-up shoes as the shuffle crowd was out in full force. Aside from a few people who had gotten a bit too drunk (hopefully), everyone was in high spirits all night. I saw many people dancing solo, just lost in the sound of the music, there were couples kissing and losing themselves in the night, and even a few dance circles popped up.
The music never broke away from a steady house tempo, and Pete Tong did an excellent job of mixing to the extent that for long sections of twenty minutes or more, I would find myself unable to detect transitions between tracks at all, but without it feeling too monotonous. I’m not a massive house head myself, so this was definitely a long-haul event for me, but I found that it was more about riding the wave than trying to keep up. Once I settled into the groove, I found myself very pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had, and how strong the urge to keep dancing stayed with me.
Tong brought his own custom visuals with him for his set, and as the words “All Gone Pete Tong” spun around on the video screen, the crowd certainly became more and more gone. Champagne spilled down like effervescent rainfall from the VIP balcony, and I saw a few people having to be assisted out by the end of the night. They were mostly the younger members, who I expect just had too much to drink.
As the night drew to a close, the crowd started to thin out, especially as some of the drunk crews left in groups. This actually had quite a nice effect on the dance floor, opening up space for the real house heads to let out their last squeezes of energy on the dance floor or drift into reverie with their lovers. There was no encore. There was no teasing goodbye to the audience. He started instantly and he ended his set the same way. Perhaps when you’ve been DJing as long as he has, and have the name that he does, you learn to leave some of the theatrics behind and focus on just delivering a quality performance. Pete Tong certainly knows what he’s doing, and he had us all gone along with him, quite gone indeed.
Photos by Missy Stowell for Bullet Music