Grace Price-Salisbury witnessed the sheer force of two Manchester clubbing institutions joining forces.
Hacienda Classical, along with Manchester Camerata, returned to where it's incredible journey started out for one of its biggest shows to date at Depot.
Now in its fourth year, the event has become one of the highlights of Manchester’s musical calendar. It’s been 22 years since the club closed down and 17 since it was demolished, but, if Saturday night proved anything, the spirit of the club – and what it represented to a generation – is still alive and well.
Most people present were old enough to remember the Hacienda days, seemingly looking to relive their misspent youth for a night and looking to throw some shapes to their favourite tunes. But the younger crowd were present too, albeit in smaller numbers, hoping to experience a taste of good old school Manchester music first hand.
Although Depot at Mayfield was quite an upscale for Hacienda Classical, it felt like an ideal venue for this type of event due to its rave -like atmosphere synonymous with both the Hacienda and Warehouse Project. Split over two rooms, Depot played host to some of the live acts of the night, including A Certain Ratio, Soul II Soul and, of course, Hacienda Classical. The second room, Concourse, was where Hacienda legends Mike Pickering and Graeme Park warmed up proceedings before the main event.
Although sometimes a worry with events of this size, the sound was truly fantastic. The Manchester Camerata Orchestra blended brilliantly with original Hacienda DJs Mike Pickering and Graeme Park in recreating a mash-up of house classics. The set-up is obviously a well-oiled machine by now, and the atmosphere in the venue was joyous.
When Voodoo Ray was dropped a few songs in, it felt like the crowd really ignited. One of the undisputed true classics of dance music, that glorious melody translated impeccably to the orchestra, its delirious vocal given depth by the choir.
And as if that wasn't enough, it mixed straight into 808 State's 'Pacific State' and it was there, with its huge sweeping chords rendered colossal by the Camerata, a proper hands in the air moment took place.
There were loads of those moments though. Derrick May's 'Strings Of Life' was an obvious essential choice to be featured and it didn't disappoint. Towards the end of the set, Peter Hook also made a surprise appearance to sing Blue Monday to an ecstatic crowd.
The various elements on stage, with no focus on one particular individual, felt true to the rave party spirit, while there was still lot for the audience to feast their eyes on. Although it couldn’t have stayed exactly the same as it was in the 80’s and 90’s, reinterpreting the hits with an orchestra and live singers kept that love alive and avoided it being just a tribute concert.
From the moment they hit the stage, they delivered tune after tune after tune, bringing the Hacienda back to life with their on-point classical compositions. Everyone was there to have a good time, with absolutely no messing about.
FAC51 The Hacienda have recently announced plans to throw another reminiscent party to close out the year. On Tuesday 31st December, The Hacienda NYE Resident's party will take place at the new 850 capacity warehouse space, Viadux Manchester located just a stones throw from where the original Hacienda club stood.
Appearing on the night, revellers will hear sets from past resident selectors of the world famous, influential dance club. DJ Greg Wilson, the first to ever DJ to mix live on TV, will be joined by the likes of Chad Jackson, acid house DJ Jon DaSilva, firm favourite and long term resident Graeme Park, Allister Whitehead and Tom Wainwright.
Tickets for The Hacienda NYE Resident's party are available to purchase below.
Image: Rob Jones