Chemical Brothers Live, North Shore, Auckland, New Zealand, 9th March 2002, By Ivan Vukovic.
On Saturday, March 9th, 2002, The Chemical Brothers visited New Zealand on the latest leg of their 2002 World Tour, to promote the "Come With Us" album. Below is a review of the gig by Ivan Vukovic for Planet Dust. For more reviews and Chemical Brothers inspired original music, visit Ivan's site http://ivan.orcon.net.nz.
Article © Ivan Vukovic 2002.
Well, for me, this was the second time I've ever seen this band live, and, suitably, it was on their second ever visit to New Zealand's shore. Fresh from the start of their "Come With Us" tour in Japan and Australia, Tom and Ed were set to bring us their legendary live show, this time to include songs from the latest, and fourth in series, LP.
Sunday night, perhaps a strange time of week for a concert, but nothing was going to stop Dave and me from seeing, perhaps one of the greatest live shows on Earth at this moment. As this was held practically in our backyard, I met Dave at his place, and then it was a 2 minute walk to the venue. Not many people can say that The Chemical Brothers had a concert in their backyard, but Darko, Basti (who didn't attend the concert, but rather listened from their balconies) Dave and I can claim that!
When we got there, famous, and departing, bFM morning show host Mikey Havoc was fully into his funky set, trying to warm up people for the big act later on in the evening. Following him was Timmy Schumacher, who played a rather progressive set, lots of beats and bass lines, nothing too obvious, and despite not moving as many butts as Havoc did, he did provide a fresh alternative to the house beats, which sadly do get overplayed in this country.
Then finally, the moment we've been waiting for the last couple of months - The Chemical Brothers enter the stage to a rather enthusiastic cheer. Myself and Dave managed to get a front row spot, there can be nothing less! There have only been 2 or 3 shows that I've been to in my life that I haven't made it to the front row. Lets just say that if Tom and Ed saw a familiar face in the front row of the crowd from 2 years ago at Big Day Out, that face was probably mine...
Anyways, before I lay out the set list, to summarize: The show was very energetic, the visuals very entertaining (and at a few points hilarious), the sound was good, and overall I must say better than their last visit to NZ. Maybe for me it was because I had Dave with me this time round.
So, this is what we were treated to:
Just a steady psychedelic excerpt rolling, one they've been using for a while, with a ringing male voice in it.
Come With Us
Tipped as the third single from the new album, this was a rather energetic opening, very intense build before the first kick, perfect to get the crowd going, despite the track sounding somewhat dated by their standards, very much taken out of the "Block Rockin' Beats" and "Loops Of Fury" book.
The music never stops during the show, they seamlessly perform one track after another, slowly mixing segments and various samples from the next track into one finishing. With the main sample "Music that triggers some kind of response" announcing the start of this track, we were treated to a rare big beat moment from their third LP, the 1999 "Surrender".
Block Rockin' Beats
Everyone knew this one... "Back with another one of those block rockin' beats". This was perfectly mixed into
Song To The Siren
One of the highlights of the evening, the song that is responsible for paving their way into record deals, and club fame in UK in the early 90's.. Phat beats, phat sirens, absolute madness. And you can just see how euphoric it all gets when the two "brothers" embrace themselves, probably remembering the early days when starting out in their bedroom studio with this track. Also featured during this song was a vocal sample from their remix of Prodigy's "Voodoo People", "Rock The House In".
Under The Influence
What seems like a live favourite, with the huge bass swoosh and fast techno beats. Gets the crowd into a real frenzy, introducing the to
It Began In Afrika
The first single from the current album, a huge club favourite during the latter stages of 2001. The studio version isn't very convincing, however this song works wonders when played live.
Out Of Control
One of the more famous singles from "Surrender", the live version is predominantly instrumental, giving justice to the brilliant bass line. We hear snippets of the vocals from the original, being messed with in a live environment by the duo on the stage.
The single that announced the release of "Come With Us", a deviation from their usual works, this track was also one of the highlights. It was responsible for a very happy atmosphere, it simply put a smile on the thousands of faces behind us, the crowd loving every split second of it.
The Sunshine Underground
The masterpiece from "Surrender", the bongo infested, eastern influenced, tranced-out monster brings a warm feeling yet sends adrenaline pumping through the veins of the fans.
One of the new tracks, the live version of this was far more upbeat than the album cut, as it morphed from the previous track into the next one. The only way to recognize it was the vocal sample that was set off a couple of times during it, and it's acid bass line.
The classic from "Dig Your Own Hole" was also pasted across some manic beats together with it's famous sirens and the cut up Noel Gallagher of Oasis vocals. Much more energetic than the album mix.
Hey Boy Hey Girl
Everyone knew this one too, "Here We Go!". That acid hook is just addictive when put together with those semi-house beats. The heaving bodies seem to continue on for miles and miles.
Another one from the new album, an epic style track like "The Sunshine Underground" and "The Private Psychedelic Reel" which seemed to notify everyone that it was the end of the show. Another track to also be massively reworked live, with the majestic strings and shuddering vocals from Richard Ashcroft of The Verve thrown over some tranced out bleeps and beats. The Chems walk off the stage.
It took the crowd about 10 minutes to "convince" the Bros to come back on stage for an encore. Suitably the open up with "The Brothers Gonna Work It Out" and it's heavy beats and powerful bass.
The Private Psychedelic Reel
This is what we're here for. An absolute uplifting experience, not only is this the greatest Chemical Brothers song, it is also one of the most important musical pieces of the last century. With this track they proved what music is all about - the states of the mind, and it was also about not being stuck in the mainstream, doing what's expected of you. A whole eastern feel brought by the sitar, heavy beats and monstrous strings mashed up together in an electronic mayhem. If there is one song to describe what these guys do, it's this. We were treated to a massive 10 minute "medley" of this. Absolute euphoria!
Well as you see, this was, to simply put it great. There's no point in me telling everyone they missed out if they weren't there. You can only understand how someone missed out when you're there, when you're a part of it. It was great to see Dave have such a good time as well, I'm really glad he came along. I don't know if I'll ever have a chance to see these guys again and if they'll carry on writing more music and touring after this current round. But I know that if it indeed is the last time that I could have seen them, I made the most of it!