Review by Tom Frodsham
You’d have to be a bit out of sync if you didn’t realise how much of a big deal Calvin Harris is in the world of dance music. Go back 6 years when he first emerged with ‘Acceptable in the 80’s’ and you’d NEVER imagine that from them to now he’d be (according to Forbes magazine) the highest paid DJ of 2013 earning something like $46 million! Yeah I thought it was a bit overestimated too but after writing credits, and producing for major international artists like Rihanna, Kylie Minogue and Dizzee Rascal it makes more sense.
Now Harris has his own national ‘Greater Than’ tour with fellow DJ Tiesto (who was second by the way on that Forbes list) taking his catalogue of dance anthems to an arena near you. I’ve never been to a gig billed as a DJ set before, well not one that’s as high profile as Harris and I was a bit sceptical with how you can pack out an arena like Manchester’s Phones4U arena and keep it entertaining – after all Harris is only stood behind some decks pressing ‘Play’ right?
The arena was absolutely packed with what I can only describe as the ‘Deansgate Locks’ crowd but true to form Harris knows his fans well and he made every single second count. I forgot how many great dance tracks he’s done and he certainly kept pace with a demanding crowd. The stage was backlit with graphics and lasers throughout the set and every now and then he’d mix a treasure of a song in like ‘Sweet Nothing’ in to keep it interesting. His unexpected remixes are worth YouTube-ing when you’re getting ready to go out too. He performed his latest remix, The Killers’ ‘When You Were Young’ even converting me to like the track a bit more.
Apart from the video display, there wasn’t any entertainment or attraction to focus on during the night but why would you need it with a string of dance anthems to keep you on your feet? And even when the slightly tipsy gentleman next to me started throwing up all over my seat – I still managed to enjoy the atmosphere! Without a doubt the best track of the night ‘Thinking About You’ in its lengthiest form was the highlight. It’s only at gigs like this can an extended cut of a track make you appreciate it more. With flames and lasers and neon visuals – the arena was like it’s very own ultra clubbing experience, simply packed with thousands of dance devotees.
Even though Harris only played for an hour it felt like a lot longer which isn’t easy with a hungry crowd that could have kept up all night, so thinking about that $46 million, maybe it’s money well spent?