- 12 Sep 12
Marlay Park, Dublin
So this is how monster dance gigs are supposed to go! Okay, rain is falling, but all around me, young adults are playing, having fun. ‘Tis the end of an eventful summer season of outdoor giggery and, as we all know, not every event has been a happy one. Hence the tight security and the media spotlight on tonight’s show, as the current kingpin of European dance touches down in Dublin town. Not that those gathered here are concerned: they know better. The good vibes are flowing and, though there will be some precautionary arrests, the vast majority of the crowd see nothing the remotest bit inflammatory. Nope, tonight, after extensive, but still well-conducted and friendly searches at the gate, Marlay Park seems to be all peace, love and understanding.
The lead-in to David Guetta is stellar indeed. I personally can’t recall ever seeing so many dancing raincoats.
Example, in partcular, is in fine form. The past few years have seen Elliot Gleave go from throwaway, jokey distraction to bona fide star. It helps that he now has the tunes to back it up. Understandably, number ones such as ‘Changed The Way You Kiss Me’ are the big draws. But the newies are also lapped up, particularly his recent collaboration with Calvin Harris, ‘We’ll Be Coming Back’, which couples iPhones-aloft power balladry with propulsive techno beats.
Riding a rave wave throughout his set, Gleave gives his everything to the crowd while his able backing band add to the moment and provide a fine counterpoint to the electronics. The audience pumped, Example’s job done, the road to his new album Evolution Of Man looks set to be paved with platinum.
The long-haired lover from Paris finally makes his entrance as darkness (and further showers) descend. Onstage, Guetta is less musician and more cheerleader, his broad grin and seemingly genuine puppy-dog enthusiasm spilling out over the barrier. His light show too, is state of the art, though we’ve come to expect that from monster, million-selling chart acts. The audience suitably revved from all that’s gone before, the mass dancing commences — but from a musical viewpoint, the Guetta show is minimalist stuff. There are no onstage instruments and no guest vocals: the house star seems content to simply hit ‘play’ and bop around as his biggest hits blare across the evening sky. It’s sanitised dance music that pushes the right pop buttons for sure but offers little else.
Strangely, considering how ubiquitous his music has become, Guetta’s material lacks any real personality. His attempts to inject some tonight consist chiefly of holding his arms aloft, wrapping himself in an Irish flag and lowering the volume during certain hooks, like the cheesiest wedding DJ in town. As sheets of rain continue to descend, however, the evidence all around me suggests that I am alone in these misgivings: the consensus begs to differ and everyone leaves in a blissful state. Each to their own, as they say...