20 Dec 2018
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Gig Review: Synthony @ Auckland Town Hall, Auckland - 30/09/2017

10 Oct 2017 // A review by Alex Moulton

The Auckland Town Hall was bustling with patrons eager to enter the site for this sold out event. 2,500 people lined up down Queen Street, and it no doubt became a logistical nightmare for the staff attempting to get everybody’s tickets checked, bags checked, and armbands attached, with doors opening a mere 30 minutes before the show was set to begin. The halls promptly choked up as people hustled to try get access to the bars to get a beverage, as they were unable to enter the GA area. Severely understaffed, the bar staff worked to the best of their abilities, but the patrons still ended up with upwards of a 45 minute wait for a drink.

Eventually, the doors were opened to the main arena, and people began to filter in, alleviating a lot of the congestion on the stairs and hallways. The advertised start time of 8:30pm came and went, with many still lined up halfway down the road towards The Civic waiting to gain entry to the venue, and those that had managed to get inside, completely unaware of the reasons for any delays. 45 minutes later, after some tests of the lighting, 80 members of the Auckland Symphony Orchestra entered from the side of stage and took their seats in the neo-Baroque styled hall, to the grateful applause of the growing crowd. Peter Thomas would be conducting this evening, and dressed in his formal blacks and a bow tie, he acknowledged the crowd and got started.

As far as attire goes, orchestral performances and electronic dance music (EDM) shows will have vastly different expectations. The majority of the patrons had chosen to go for a smart to smart casual state of dress, with only a few opting for the rave-ready hi-viz, neons, and glow sticks. This correlated well with the average age of the audience; which was much more mature than the average teenybopper, and would actually remember when these hits of the past 30 years were released.

Opening the show with the same track that they used to drum up hype in trailers and teasers, Fat Boy Slim’s Right Here, Right Now, and the crowd started to surge immediately. It quickly became apparent that the sound system was less than ideal, with the screams of the audience drowning out the orchestra as the set progressed, leaving many patrons unsure what songs they were actually listening to. The guest vocalists came up one at a time to add their expertise to tracks, such as Tali helping out on The Shapeshifters Lola’s Theme, and Laughton Kora giving his all on You Don’t Know Me, by Armand Van Helden. Apart from a slight technical malfunction at the start of Tali’s song, the guest vocalists provided strong performances that riled the crowd up, even if it was because there was finally a part that they could hear properly and sing along with.

The Synthony event struggled to find its place as a hybrid of two musical genres; even the lighting was less than ideal, with the audience bathed in light, it drastically reduced the effectiveness of the lasers and smoke machines. Perhaps this was to ensure the orchestra could see their music and the conductor properly, but it prevented the audience from truly getting invested in the musical nostalgia hit. Better darkness and black light in the crowds would have amped up the enjoyment factors as much as if they could have boosted the volume of the Auckland Symphony Orchestra

A veritable plethora of EDM was on offer performing tracks by artists such as Eric Prydz, Stardust, Daft Punk, Moby, Robert Miles, The Chemical Brothers, and Delerium. The only thing that was missing to top off the nights set list would have been Darude’s Sandstorm.

Overall, an enjoyable night that unfortunately had a few logistical hiccups, and a few sound and lighting issues. Considering that this was the first even of its type in Auckland, it would still be considered an overwhelming success, and needless to say the next iteration will surely be a must-see. 


Photos provided and review written by Alex Moulton

 

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