Peter Hook says he was wary at first but now admits he’s really fallen for the Hacienda Classical concept as he prepares to come to Sunderland later this month.
He's a self-confessed raver and admits the idea of performing with a 40-piece orchestra was never on his to do list.
Yet fans of Peter Hook have seen him reliving the glory days of the Madchester scene in a unique way in recent months, and now he can’t get enough of it.
“It’s a classical rave – what’s not to love about that?” he laughs as he chats from his Mallorca summer home. “We’ve been doing it since last year and even now people still think they’ve misheard when you tell them about it.”
The former New Order bassist and co-owner at the now legendary Hacienda club in Manchester is among the stars who have been involved in bringing back the glory days of the late 1980s and early 90s with Hacienda Classical, a show unlike any other.
It is the brainchild of the famous Manchester nightclub’s regular DJs Graeme Park and Mike Pickering, and takes some of the era’s ground-breaking dance tunes and gives them a classical twist, with 40 members of the Manchester Camerata Orchestra joined by singers from the AMC choir.
Park and Pickering appear on stage to mix the tracks as they always did, and the orchestra joins them. They are also joined on stage by Happy Mondays singer Rowetta as well as Hook himself for a revised and remixed version of the New Order classic Blue Monday.
If the idea seems a little bit hard to get your head around, worry not because you’re in good company. Hook – or Hooky as he is widely known these days – was sceptical at first.
“I just couldn’t see the allure of it. I had to go and think about it for a while and then I started thinking that there could be something in it. Graeme and Mike would never have risked their reputation on something that wasn’t going to be right.
“As soon as I saw where they were going with it I realised they were onto something. They’ve created a classical rave – DJs and talented musicians on stage together creating something which is simply incredible.
“I’m a raver at heart and yet even I could see what was happening. It was taking the best of everything Graeme and Mike love about the music and adding soul and passion.
“They’ve created something hypnotic and frankly incredible and I have to say that I have never been happier to have been completely wrong.”
Hacienda Classical is coming to Herrington Country Park for a one night only performance on Friday, August 19, and Hook is hoping ravers young and old from across the region will turn out and to relive a piece of UK music history.
Tracks which have been remastered, mixed and arranged with the orchestra include Happy Mondays’ Hallelujah, Candi Staton’s You Got the Love and a Guy Called Gerald’s Voodoo Ray.
“It’s not a classical concert, this is a rework of some serious nightclub classics and as such we’ve seen a diverse audience in our previous performances.
“I think I was initially expecting audiences to be fat old clubbers like me but there have been so many young people turning up which is really exciting. That’s what the Hacienda was, it was about young people having a good night with the best music.
“I feel Graeme and Mike have brought it back. You look into the crowd and there are youngsters there dancing just like their parents did 25 years ago and it makes you realise we were doing something right back then.
“We did make history back then and to see it evolving as it has into Hacienda Classical is something none of us could’ve imagined. Money can’t buy this kind of history and I appreciate being able to be a part of this again more than anyone can imagine.”
HACIENDA CLASSICAL AT SUNDERLAND – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
The Hacienda Classical will come to Sunderland for one night only on Friday, August 19, 2016 at Herrington Country Park.
The acclaimed show has already performed to sell-out audiences in London, Manchester, Glasgow, Brighton and Lancaster, and the Wearside performance will be the ninth this year.
It is being staged by Northern Sessions, which is Sunderland Live’s in-house music promoter and promises an evening of dance classics with a twist.
A 40-piece string ensemble from Manchester’s Camerata Orchestra performs some of the biggest tunes from the heyday of the Manchester scene, born out of the now legendary Hacienda nightclub.
They are joined by Mike Pickering and Graeme Park who were among the original DJs at the club, as well as members of the AMC Choir.
Joy Division and New Order’s Peter Hook has been at the forefront of the project as executive producer, and he also appears alongside Rowetta throughout the show.
Tracks featured include Blue Monday by New Order, Strings of Life by Rhythm Is Rhythm, Happy Mondays’ Hallelujah and You Got the Love by The Source and Candi Staton – sung by Rowetta.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy festival-style food and drink with stands offering everything from hog roasts and coffee to beer and doughnuts.
General admission tickets cost £35 and are available now from www.ticketline.co.uk/hacienda-classical- northern-sessions#bio or by calling 0844 88 89991. VIP packages are also available, priced at £100.
Further information on the event is available at www.thenorthernsessions.co.uk.