Calvin Harris, Pete Tong & Tiësto join super DJ forces for the ‘Greater Than Tour’
It is Friday night and Pete Tong, Calvin Harris and Tiësto are performing the impossible, bringing life and energy to the soulless ugly concrete monster that is Earls Court.
Love him; hate him, fairly indifferent, there is no denying Calvin (Adam Richard Wiles) Harris is spectacularly good at what he does. Songwriter of the Year 2013 at the Ivor Novello Awards, he made chart history by becoming the first artist to attain eight top ten hits from one studio album, beating the previous record set by Michael Jackson. His debut album,
I Created Disco was a part homage to the 80s part electro clash, part reaction to dance music of that era and part genius, he toured it extensively in support slots for the likes of Basement Jaxx and Groove Armada, performing vocals as well as mixing. His second album 2009’s
Ready for the Weekend noted a shift from his quirkier 80s fascination and a drift towards the EDM formula that would later catapult him into the stratosphere of popular music. In between this and the juggernaut that was to become
18 Months, Harris toured and toured and toured, a mixture of high profile support slots (including Rhianna) and national and international festival dates. Say what you like, success did not come overnight and he worked hard to get where he is. What Harris does so well and so consistently is bridge the market between dance and pop seamlessly, his collaborations (especially with the likes Florence Welch) show he clearly has his finger on the zeitgeist. Playing for seventy five minutes, (questionably) sandwiched between Pete Tong and Tiësto, Harris was the act everyone was there to see. No expense was spared on the accompanying laser show, pyrotechnics and a dizzying array of theatrics – most artists save the ticker tape explosion for the end song, Harris had multiple glitter, paper, fire and gold streamer explosions. Playing all the collaborations off
18 Months, like Stock Aiken & Waterman in the 1980s, Harris has found a formula for perfecting that moment when the beat drops, anthemic euphoria with insanely infectious pop choruses. His only vocal effort on
18 Months, Feel So Close and
We’ll Be Coming Back feat Example, demonstrate his ability to combine unexpected lyrical maturity with all the bleeps, blips and ravetastic beats you’d expect EDM. There’s not one person left still during the colossal
We Found Love and even his new single
Control is an already established sing-a-long favourite, the audience a complete mix of old skool ravers, kids, lads out on the lash and the ladies on the pull, couples, sober or smashed lap it all up, jumping, dancing, hugging, partying and having a lot of fun. Where Harris really nails it is with his mixing of his own songs other monster tunes, such as Breach’s
Jack and Fat Boy Slim’s
Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat perfectly encapsulating that Friday feeling, if you needed a handbook to creating the perfect rave, Harris has just written it. Where he plays it especially smart though is with tracks that come out of nowhere, his remix of The Killers
When We Were Young or his multiple collaborations with Florence Welch embody the Calvin Harris experience, tapping into collective euphoria with sentiments as sing-a-long. You can argue that what Harris creates is neither new nor especially groundbreaking but you can’t deny he certainly knows how to throw a party on a Friday night.