Up to 20 musicians, including a string section, a laser light-show, video projections and smoke effects were involved, not to mention a cast of hundreds from among the audience, in which the corporate loomed large, ready to applaud everything that moved, including, at one point, the roadies.
But could William - cult post-rave knob- twiddler, re-mixer to the stars (Prince, Madonna) and producer of non-live music - pull it off? The early signs weren't promising, with the opening section, "The Electric Chamber", comprising reinterpretations of classical themes given the trance treatment, gently cajoling one into, well, a trance.
The second section, featuring Orbit's ambient techno project, "Torch Song", was an improvement but the suspicion still nagged that it was all a Dadaist joke. William Orbit? Dave Chelsea (who designed Orbit's command module)? One began to scan the names in the programme with increasing incredulity. Did Orbit's "neo-rhythms" really "phosphoresce on the cusp between real and surreal", or was he simply taking the piss?
It wasn't until after the interval, and a set from vocalist / cellist Caroline Lavelie, that things really started to, er, take off, with the ambient-folkie "Moorlough Shore", and Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You" (such a good song that it couldn't really fail).
The final section, entitled "Strange Cargo", put the final pieces of the jigsaw into a certain shape. Beginning with real acoustic music (with Orbit on classical guitar), it developed into a techno-jam, accompanied by fractal-pattern video projections; people even started dancing in the aisles. It was music, clearly, for CD-Rom, future home entertainment for the computer age, and, of its kind, very, very good. It was also, of course, an update on progressive-rock: indeed, this could be the book that follows Genesis. Clever old WEA.Reuse content