Ministry of Sound Classical Had the Festival on its Feet Again!

As the audience filtered into the Grandstand and Lawn areas on Saturday night, superstar DJ Danny Rampling was stage left playing some Ministry of Sound classics to get the audience warmed up for what was to come.

As the 30-piece London Concert Orchestra came onto the stage, Rampling ended his brief set and waved farewell to the audience to a great roar of cheers.

When the orchestra hit the notes of the first tune, almost all of the audience on the Lawn and in the Grandstand rose to their feet and starting dancing and waving their arms in the air – and hardly stopped until the encore was done and dusted. By the end of the show, even the few sit-down hold-outs in some of the front rows of the Grandstand had got to their feet and were dancing along.

The first few songs were accompanied by four female vocalists which included Janice Robinson who sung ‘Dreamer’ which was her number 1 hit in the 1990s as the first vocalist of Livin’ Joy. Unfortunately we weren’t introduced to all of them and neither did the conductor tell us his name.

As with Pete Tong and the Essential Orchestra last year, the mixing of a classical orchestra with dance songs worked extremely well this evening, breathing new energy into many well-known tunes from the past decades.

Right Here, Right Now by Fatboy Slim and The Shapeshifters’ Lola’s Theme were among the better-known songs in the first half of the set. One surprise was a cover of The Bee Gees’ You Should Be Dancing from 1976. Hardly a trance classic but it worked well enough. The pace did sag a little during a mid-set trio of slower songs which included a video of the NHS choir singing (a nod to the 75th anniversary), but the orchestra soon ramped up the energy again. Maybe we all needed a slight breather after all that energetic dancing…

The likes of For An Angel by Paul van Dyk and the classic Café Del Mar by Energy 52 soon got the crowd dancing along again. One More Time by Daft Punk and Robert Miles’ Children also got an airing, the latter slowed down slightly from the original and given a new lease of life by the orchestral rendering.

All good things come to an end sadly and nearing 10.30 pm the conductor turned around from his musicians and announced it was time to go. But then he asked: “Do you want one more?” Silly question of course, as he got a torrent of “YES!!!” shouted loudly back at him.

For the solitary encore, the opening bars of the iconic Insomnia by Faithless soon emerged into the night air. As the beats to this timeless classic dance anthem built and built, the people on the Lawn just got wilder and wilder, turning into a seething mass of humanity deliriously dancing their lives away. It was a brilliant version of the song and the roar when it ended must have been heard in Reading.

It was a great night of music, joy, singing and dancing. Well done to the Ministry of Sound Classical orchestra. Come back soon.

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