Saturday review

Wireless 2008 overview

published: Wed 9th Jul 2008

around the site (Saturday)

Thursday 3rd to Sunday 6th July 2008
Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH, England MAP
one day £45 - for the Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday
last updated: Mon 7th Jul 2008

Its Hyde Park again for the third day of this year’s O2 Wireless Festival, where tonight we have Fatboy Slim headlining the main stage with his ‘Beach Boutique’ set to a 30,000 plus crowd.

Norman Cook is one of the original Superstar DJs and for over two decades has given us a parade of hit singles & albums. With a fruitful career starting with The Housemartins, and encompassing Beats International, Freakpower, Pizzaman, and established as Fatboy Slim for the last 10 years.

He is a DJ, producer, and musician known and recognised internationally, from Rio to Brighton. And as the organisers of the Wireless Festival say, "…A man guaranteed to bring the biggest party vibe to the park for a big Saturday night out. Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, will take to the Main Stage on Saturday night to unleash his arsenal of top 10 singles and earth quaking beats for a show that past experience suggests is not to be missed. For one night only, Hyde Park will become the biggest beat boutique on the face of the planet and Fatboy Slim will be at the controls for a show that is sure to go down in the history of 02 Wireless Festival as a must see..."

One of the earlier acts scheduled on the bill today is Cornershop who of course are well remembered for their collaboration with Norman Cook for the remixed version of 'Brimful of Asha' which became a classic hit. I miss their set but arrive in plenty of time to catch Bootsy Collins, the well respected artist and admired by Norman amongst others.

After a 'recky' of the site which is very well laid out by the organisers we anticipate the arrival of Bootsy Collins, truly a legend. Therefore he is entitled to arrive late on stage so while the photographers & journalists are kept waiting I quickly nip off to catch another act.

Performing on the Sandisk Stage which is located in the big top nearest to Hyde Park Corner entrance I manage to catch Sam Sparro playing to a packed audience. I catch the end of his set & his popular recent hit 'Black and Gold' which has most of the crowd singing along.

Bootsy Collins And The Rubber Band

A quick whisk back to the main stage to catch Bootsy Collins "...Is this the real Funk Soul Brother? Check it out now..." When you consider this man was the bass player with The Pacemakers since 1968 that became the backing band for James Brown in 1970. Although Bootsy is perhaps remembered more from the 70’s for his involvement with George Clinton & the legendary funk combo Parliament, it is no wonder he is revered so highly.

The band are performing but still no sign of the great man and the bass is being played by a younger guy with shaven head who looks splendid dressed in black military attire and with rest of band also all in black, with some wearing green military tops.

It doesn't take long before Bootsy comes on stage dressed in an eye catching red 'Funkadelic' style outfit with feathery hat. This man certainly knows how to play bass guitar and he slaps away on those four strings in a funking fantastic manner and dressed the part too. However, surprisingly we aren't to witness a load of Parliament numbers.

Bootsy Collins And The Rubber Band

A few songs in and renowned Soul Singer Vicki Anderson (mother of Carleen Anderson) is introduced to the stage. The band play a version of 'Respect' with Vicki Anderson singing with such power it gives justice to Aretha Franklin.

Soon after they switch to a James Brown Tribute Band and certainly do pay tribute to JB when they perform 'Soul Power' shortly followed with 'Sex Machine' Vocals are shared with a 'James Brown Junior' who definitely looks the part and his routine includes kicking the microphone stand in a style akin to the original legend.

A great set from Bootsy Collins & his tribute band and I would say worthy of higher billing on today's line-up.

Next on the main stage is the Swedish Pop Star Robyn wearing a short black leather jacket over black top & white leggings with 50's style shoes. She looks striking with her short bleached blonde hair. Robyn performs several of her hits including 'Show Me Love' & I recognise 'Be Mine' played towards the end of her set.


We give DeadMau5 a miss, instead to catch Underworld playing to a full house in the big top of the Sandisk Stage. Perhaps it is the choice of the artists but I feel disappointed that Underworld are performing in a big top. OK, they are headliners on this stage but in my opinion Underworld should have been 2nd headliners on main stage instead. I only manage to get past the outer barriers by showing my privileged wrist band to security.

This is a proper rave environment and we are crammed in like sardines. They play their best known numbers like 'Two Months off' and when the beats of 'Born Slippy' sound out, they practically take the roof off the place.

Fatboy Slim

Fatboy Slim takes to the stage with his decks set up on a podium and living up to his 'Beach Boutique' image in Designer 'Miami Style' shirt, shorts & sandals (which he later removes to go barefoot). All we need is a pebbly beach and the sea and visions of his legendary Brighton gigs would be conjured up.

Norman bows before us to an intro of "...World Of Pure Imagination..." and gets his set underway with 'Praise You' and the crowd responds immediately to this classic dance tune clapping and singing along to the words. Before you know it he is mixing in some 'Jungle Book' style tune and big beat samples. A few tunes in and we hear him mixing in 'Thriller' and this leads on to ‘'Work It Out' and even a burst of Village People's 'YMCA' blended in for good measure.

Norman is cooking up a storm and when he plays his 'Right Here, Right Now' the tempo reaches feverish pitch. He continues his mastery at the decks with his unique track selection and skilful mixing of obscure and classic dance tunes.

The lights and visuals come into full effect and we have a backdrop of Iggy Pop reciting as Fatboy proves his DJ prowess spinning his discs to match the visuals as well as the rhythms.

The dance grooves continue for a few more numbers with a flavour of rave including a version of 'What the F*ck'. Then out of the blue we get a burst of Cream's 'Sunshine of Your Love' which is followed with 'Lazy' by Xpress2 featuring the vocals of David Byrne from Talking Heads, and both continue to keep the crowd bopping and singing along.

Throughout his set he throws in some 'Old Skool' beats and I particularly enjoy hearing a version of 'Hear The Drummer Get Wicked' which gets a group of us grooving from side to side in time with the riff . And when he mixes in 'Jump Around'... the crowd does exactly that!

around the site (Saturday)

Just when we think we've run out of energy he plays a burst of 'I Can't Get No Satisfaction' from The Rolling Stones which is cleverly mixed in with his classic 'Funk Soul Brother'.

Fatboy rounds off the night where he started with another airing of 'Praise You' which could be a compliment to his adoring fans.

I see several people around me hugging and kissing which is brought about by a loved up atmosphere and a great performance from one of the masters.
We all go home with smiles on our faces.

review by: Paul O'Neill

photos by: Will Dennehy

Thursday 3rd to Sunday 6th July 2008
Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH, England MAP
one day £45 - for the Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday
last updated: Mon 7th Jul 2008

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