Oh dear, oh dear. It wasn't quite supposed to work out like this, eh? Despite being billed as one of Ibiza's most anticipated nights of the 2009 season, all the hype, all the posters, all the billboards in the world could do nothing for Orbital at Privilege. It should, and indeed could, have been a legendary night. Timeless classics being played to a capacity clued-up crowd in the world's biggest club seemed a recipe for great things. Instead, it actually transpired to be severely contrast with almost every attendee's expectations.
After arriving early to escape the bemusingly non-existent queue, we should have known something was up when we heard the music inside. Opting instead to give that drivel a miss, we hung around outside polishing off our wine bottles in the suspiciously quiet car park just before 2 AM, when Orbital were due to take to the stage. Orbital, of course, didn't come on stage till 3 AM. I normally wouldn't complain about such a situation, but when you have to listen to the likes of Elvis and The Beatles before Orbital, you know the signs aren't good.
And then we went inside, whereupon we were greeted with big lights, big sound, big production…and, ahem, tiny crowd. Due to the size of Privilege, the club is typically (Tiësto aside) half cornered off, as is the case with Mauro Picotto's Meganite sessions. On this occasion though, the whole club was open to the punters, many of whom had parted with €65 for their entrance fee (which incidentally is the same price to see cheesemonger David Guetta at Pacha every week) so the promoters were obviously expecting a hefty crowd.
Privilege, in case you're unaware, holds 10,000 clubbers. There were approximately 1,000 people at this gig. You don't need to be a genius then, to figure out that 90% of the club was occupied by nothing but empty space. Of course, you can't blame the promoters: We're not talking about an unknown band. This is a duo that has headlined Glastonbury, a gig which was included in Rolling Stone's Top 50 gigs of all time. A group who've delivered some of electronic music's most timeless tracks. Yet Tiësto packs the place out every week. No disrespect to Tiësto, but have Ibizan clubbers completely lost their marbles?
Regardless, the show rolled on, and we took our place at the front of the stage which to my regret was a very, very accessible task. We enjoyed the night, as the brothers ploughed through an inevitably predictable set featuring "Chime," "Belfast" and "Halcyon." Not that we were complaining—it's pretty much the same whenever their contemporaries such as Underworld or Kraftwerk play these days as well. On the plus side, we were given an enviable view of a duo very much back to their best. But where there's an upside, there tends to be a downside, particularly where Privilege is concerned. To put it bluntly, the atmosphere was shit. The night's most cringe-worthy moment, though? That was reserved for the very end when the announcer (what kind of club deems an announcer necessary anyway?) asked the "great crowd to give it up for Orbital." Cue some very sarcastic handclaps and whooping....and then silence as Phil Hartnoll gazed to the back of a very, very, empty club.