Outkast and Lo-Fidelity Allstars rock the fields, but superstar DJs Fatboy Slim and Paul Oakenfold steal punters' hearts.
The people of Ireland are behaving like this is the first time they’ve been let out in their lives. It’s barely half past three and there’s a queue outside the Cream Arena to see PETE TONG. Starved of a real super-club in the country, Irish punters are pretending they’re at a warm venue in Liverpool, not on a racecourse in County Kildare. At the huge main stage, the LO FIDELITY ALLSTARS are the first proper band of the day. They’ve barely finished their first song before two thousand confused clubbers are seen to run for cover, scared off by anything other than two turntables and a mixer.
But even without a crowd the Lo-fis are magnificent, playing a cocky, specially housed-up set of mostly new material from their long awaited second album. Later, and OUTKAST are doing a good job of creating anticipation by cleverly missing their flight and arriving on site an hour late. Eventually they arrive, Andre 3000 being particularly hard to miss given he’s chosen to wear a hilariously large pair of pink grandpa trousers. By the time they get to ‘Ms Jackson’ and the rap-funk-speed-garage-metal explosion that is ‘Bombs Over Baghdad’, they’ve got every pair of hands in the air and officially stolen the show. Stank you very much.
Following that, even BECK‘s star-spangled stage show looks ordinary. Playing ‘Loser’ was a good start, but the inclusion of a large amount of new material, the majority of which is surprisingly slow and funk-less, is a major disappoint. “This is our first show in six months,” he offers by way of explanation.
Lucky for the masses, there’s nothing but DJ sets left to go. At The Boutique FATBOY SLIM is still flogging the simple build-it-up, tear-it down style of DJing thats made him millions. When he interrupts his onstage wacky dancing by holding up a picture of son Woody to the big screen, ten thousand sweaty dancers pause for a second to go ahhhh.
No such sentiment on the main stage, however, for big bad Paul Oakenfold is in da house. While familiarity is welcome elsewhere, you cant help but wonder how Oakey‘s got away with the same DJing tricks for so long. Annoyingly though, this one man pulls the biggest crowd of the day to the outdoor stage, more than Outkast and Beck together. Dance festivals – they’re not supposed to make sense.
David O Reilly