Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Orbital - Halcyon + on + on (2001 mashup)

Orbital were one of the most moving live acts I've ever experienced. The first time I saw them was Thanksgiving night, 1997, at the House of Blues in New Orleans. No one I knew could or would go, so I went alone. At first, the crowd was pretty thin and an opening act that sucked out loud put a grim vibe on the scene. The employees were not into a shitty night with no tips and by all indications were hoping to get out of there as soon as possible.

Then Orbital came on.

For the next three hours they rocked that place to the timbers. It was unbelievable. They came out on a dark stage with their trademark dual head-torches and they lit it up with a soulful and heartfelt performance that moved from playful to deeply emotional to completely in-your-face rocking. There was a gospel event in another part of the club and when it let out, the people stayed on and it was hands in the air time. Suddenly a scant bored crowd became quite the energetic throng. The sight of a gospel choir in their Thanksgiving best up in the balcony smiling, singing and dancing bordered on the transcendently surreal. Even the angry bartenders and waitresses were bouncing. It was a joyful noise and a memory that will always remain with me, unfaded. We all became family in that room that night.

What was really amazing was that they actually played the entire show. There was a minimum in the way of sequencing or even drum machine patterns. One of them was usually playing the beats on an Akai MPC60 or a Roland R-8, from what I could see. They even improvised.

I had a drug-free out-of-body experience during that performance. I could hyperbolize until the end of days and it still wouldn't come close to capturing the feeling.

This unofficial mashup has made the rounds before, but it was the most serviceable video I could find for this tune.

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