Blackpool Rocks 2021: Fatboy Slim lights up Blackpool North Pier with masterpiece production for resort's first summer festival party
Blackpool North Pier was the right place and for hardened ravers and party-ready youth the time was now to let loose and party under the summer skies with the master of DJs Fatboy Slim at Blackpool Rocks.
Blackpool Rocks The Return promised to be the ultimate party opener of the summer and with the likes of Solardo, Nuwa Nrth, Absolute, Franky Wah and DJ Heidi heating up the decks for the first big show in many months.
But the praise was very much deserved for the rave ringmaster that is Fatboy Slim real name Norman Cook, who proved he was still a force with which to be reckoned.
The evening air set in, the temperature came down but the tempo definitely kicked up a notch as the 57-year-old tuned in with a video introduction to rally the troops and a smooth, pared back version of Praise You, a teaser for what was incoming.
Minutes later and the crowd was bouncing to 'Eat,Sleep,Rave, Repeat' no further warm up required.
Any lingering fears for the uncertainty of confined spaces and large gatherings dissipated as revellers went full throttle into dance mode.
There on out, the legendary producer tantalised his audience, which could be described as intimate given the usual stature of his gigs. At times it felt like being in the studio in Hove, the next the feel of the Ibiza sunset at the end of the North Pier.
Ahead of his Blackpool visit, he promised 'something special' and in the moment it certainly felt a privilege to experience the familiar sounds of Rockafeller Skank and Star 69 What the F**
He mixed it up with Weapon of Choice - which sent the veteran ravers wild, and then diverted to a big beat and some house energy to gather in the younger generations.
From front of stage he orchestrated the crowds through an acapella version of Felix Da Housecat's 'Sinner Winner' - it is a part of the set at which he excels, showing his younger counterparts just how to stay on top the minute you 'press play.'
Large portions of the set feel improvised but this is where he excels in the editing stakes, the mechanics of the music all work so well together.
The video production was effective without the usual pyrotechnics and cannons that usually accompany shows of this scale. Two hours of pure energy that the audience will feed off for some days to come.
Credit too to the festival masterminds Danny Howard, Alex Huckerby and the Cuffe and Taylor team pulling off quite the feat, through a time when the odds were stacked against them.
It had been a long time coming but the celebration they set out to achieve.
The night perfectly captured the elation and joy of rave culture whilst paying respects to the spirit of the era we've all just spent the last 18 months living through.
Rounding off the night the voices fired up for Praise You and with time for just one more out came Ultra Nate's 'Free'
And Blackpool rocked....