We’ve become accustomed to seeing Ibiza Classics, the collaboration between DJ superstar Pete Tong and music conductor Jules Buckley leading the Heritage Orchestra each year in the run up to Christmas: it’s as familiar as Black Friday and frankly, a lot more entertaining. At a time of renewed uncertainty the tour’s return to the UK arena circuit was even more welcome.
“It’s the show that keeps on giving,” says Tour Director Paddy Hocken. “In terms of production we regularly refresh the design, as do Pete and Jules, with the set list each year. There are nine new songs in the current tour for example, that’s what keeps it fresh and is why people come back time and time again. Because of the gap since 2019 when we completed the last full tour, lighting and video have received special attention, with both providing a big contribution to the show’s energy.”
That enforced twenty-month hiatus has impacted the production in other significant ways as Hocken explains: “It’s been a mixed bag putting this together for me and Joel Stanley, our Production Manager. Because this show tours every year and is so bankable, the regular crew personnel tend to block out their diaries anyway. So in terms of assembling the touring we’ve done really well.”
“It’s been the same with suppliers, Skan PA Hire with the audio – a d&b GSL system for the complete musical reach this presentation demands; Neg Earth with the lighting gear – a mix of Robe, Chroma-Q, SGM and Martin fixtures. That was something ‘Squib’ (Chris Swain) at Cassius Creative was particularly pleased to see. Video Design provided not only a twenty camera HD PPU system for the IMAG with Barco projectors, but also a stunning ROE CB5 LED screen running on Brompton processing. That’s been really important as Pete and Jules pushed for even more new video content which came courtesy of Jamie Chalmers from ¡Jamon!, a new talent currently under the same management as Pete. Plus some really high impact camera effects from Jack Fox of Really Creative Media.”
“The big issue has been the day to day running of the tour, local crew and rigging calls being a case in point. The fact is many of the professional stage crews and house riggers we’d become accustomed to in the past have had to find other forms of employment; many have decided to stick with it. Frankly, that means many suppliers are telling us what they have available rather than us requesting a certain number of people. That said, the arenas have been really helpful in making things work, even to the extent of giving us load-in days, or at least pre-rig days whenever logistically possible. And as Joel tells me daily (Hocken is already away, driving the concurrent Gary Barlow tour), “our own crew, plus the drivers from Transam and Beat the Street, even caterers Bittersweet, are all going that extra mile in being flexible to make this work. That’s a big deal with almost 150 people on the road including the orchestra.”
With the tour completed by the time you read this story, the tickets for next year’s outing will already be on sale. “Ibiza Classics endures because it works equally hard for its audience,” concluded Hocken. “It’s the premium version of all these types of shows, both in terms of the fully live musical content and the high production values of the technical elements. I’m sure 2022 will be even better.”
Photo Credits: Dan Reid (PTO2S-9/29) & Ash Yuod (20211126)