As it says on the tin, Hacienda Classical was the collision of two distinct musical cultures, an orchestral celebration of the acid house soundtrack which pumped from legendary but ultimately ill-fated Manchester club, the Hacienda, in the late 1980s.
Hacienda Classical | Hydro, Glasgow | Rating ***
This rave suite was conceived by veteran Hacienda DJs Mike Pickering and Graeme Park, apparently in response to last year’s Radio 1 Ibiza Prom, and delivered by the Manchester Camerata under the baton of Tim Crooks and a host of Mancunian musical guests.
It shouldn’t have worked, and in some respects didn’t – the orchestra were too often drowned out by the pounding house piano pulse which fuelled the genre, while a mini-choir of talented gospel singers were reduced to replicating repetitive sampled vocals, while Happy Mondays’ vocalist Rowetta was enlisted for a shouty version of Candi Staton’s You Got The Love.
But its most ridiculous culture clash moments - rapper MC Tunes bidding “Scotland, get your rave on”, or the distinctive floppy dancing of Happy Mondays resident jester Bez – were at least in the spirit of a messy night out, and tempered by sublime musical moments, such as the soulful saxophone hook of 808 State’s Pacific State or New Order’s epic Blue Monday, featuring their ex-bassist Peter Hook.
This was a bizarre but infectious exercise in conferring cachet on tracks, such as Inner City’s Good Life, which are already classics in their field, but the intention and the enthusiasm with which it was delivered and received couldn’t be faulted.