"10pm comes far too soon; we could go until daylight. Fatboy Slim was fucking in heaven."
Old ravers don't quit, they just choose their moments — or so it seems. We've been in the venue just minutes and at least three Norman Cook-alikes have been spotted, all salt and pepper hair and loosely buttoned Hawaiian shirts. The vibe is inclusive, the energy warm. And with Australia Day mere hours away, there is an unspoken understanding that we will go large.
Numbers front of stage are a bit light on for Nick Galea, but the bangers arrive heavy nonetheless. The local opener gleefully shuffles the length of the big rig, mixing up some proper tech house and providing a few Jesus poses so new arrivals know who's boss. Galea ends up playing overs as the main support is a holdout, but better late than never Erick Morillo arrives on the scene to juice us further. His deep grooves are as silky as expected, the legendary NYC producer sending out wave after wave of goodness. He twists out a subliminal reimagining of John Lennon's iconic Imagine, before getting a little weird and wonderful during the second half of the set. Morillo purists are delighted, while punters new to the party are clearly won over.
Memories of our previous hours grooving are quickly set alight, however, when the incomparable Fatboy Slim starts the wind up, setting the tone with an introductory blend of Star 69 and Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat. Floodlights burn, the hill goes into conniptions, and the journey is upon us, whether we're ready or not.
The set is full of the frivolity we've come to expect from the British big beat monster. Visually, it's the most mind-bending trip you've ever taken. At one point the head of Alfred E Neuman morphs 50 times over, working through a who's who of pop culture icons before landing on David Bowie. Rebel Rebel sounds out and we erupt. Musically, it's an all-time party mix of the highest order: Kernkraft 400, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Seven Nation Army, Psycho Killer — you name it. Plenty of Fatboy classics are aired as well, with Right Here, Right Now; Praise You; The Rockafeller Skank all jacked full of adrenaline and administered accordingly.
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Jumping around barefoot in three-quarter cargo pants, Norman looks like your kooky uncle who slept in a canoe at your 21st. He's a mad musical scientist with more energy than an athlete, but even with stimulants showering down in every direction he manages to remain composed and completely in control. Rave lasers pierce the night sky. The remnants of a pinger melts in front of us, and so do our minds. 10pm comes far too soon; we could go until daylight. Fatboy Slim was fucking in heaven.