Clear your diaries without question immediately. Dubai is expecting legendary British DJs Graeme Park and Mike Pickering - the original partnership of iconic Manchester club the Haçienda - to execute excellent music in the city. But don’t expect old school anthems blaring into a crowd of sweat-soaked souls, as the duo are recreating a rave alongside a full symphony orchestra in Dubai Opera. We know.
Two thousand lucky music lovers will experience two powerful, poignant performances with the promise of club classics from the ‘70s right up until the 2000s (Ride on Time and You Got The Love, anyone?).
The 20-date tour – featuring a choir, Latin percussionist and classical orchestra alongside the DJs brings the music of the venue back to life in spectacular style – but it was only originally supposed to be a one-off. “I vividly remember thinking ‘I think it could be better as a tour’”, Graeme tells Grazia. And commenting on the 2018 set, produced by former New Order co-founder and bassist Peter Hook, he enthuses, “It's the best show we've done and people are in for a real treat.”
The only tour difference for Dubai is the orchestra, as the majority of musicians will be from the Middle East. “That in itself is really exciting,” Graeme gushes. “There’s a different kind of energy to it.”
While reliving nightclub experiences is undoubtedly a nostalgic delight, this tour marks far more historical importance. Graeme’s DJ story mirrors the evolution of dance music and club culture. Back in the early 1980s a record shop owner in Nottingham opened a nightclub and asked Graeme, who worked there at the time, to select the discs. Determined to showcase house records from Chicago, Detroit and New York as a new style of music, Graeme soon built up a reputation as a house pioneer, which brought him to the attention of Mike Pickering at the Haçienda in Manchester. A nine-year residency and world-wide recognition followed.
Nineteen years on, the Haçienda – which closed in 1997 due to financial losses and poor management decisions – remains the nightclub the city is best known for. This, in part, is due to its immortalisation in 2002 British comedy-drama film 24 Hour Party People and its iconic legacy of hosting names such as Madonna, The Smiths, The Happy Mondays and Oasis on stage.
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Photos: Supplied and Unsplash