1999 Tour Diary
31st Dec - Cream Liverpool, England
16th Oct - Brazil
15th Oct - Brazil
25th Sep - Homelands Ireland
28th Aug - Pukkelpop
27th Aug - Lowlands
22nd Aug - V99
Chelmsford, England
21st Aug - V99
13th Aug - Flux Festival Edinburgh, Scotland
10th Aug - Total Eclipse
Festival - Plymouth, England
24th Jul - Long Beach Con
Center - California , USA
23rd Jul - Bill Graham Civic Aud - San Francisco , USA
22nd Jul - House of Blues, Las Vegas, USA
21st Jul - Del Mar Fairgrounds - Del Mar , San Diego, USA
20th Jul - Club Rio, Tempe, Phoenix , USA
18th Jul - Brady Theatre, Tulsa, USA
17th Jul - Bronco Bowl, Dallas, USA
16th Jul - Austin Music Hall, Austin , USA
15th Jul - State Palace Theatre , New Orleans , USA
14th Jul - Tabernacle Atlanta , USA
13th Jul - Fairgrounds Jacksonville , USA
11th Jul - Electric Factory, Philadelphia , USA
10th Jul - Palladium Worcester , USA
09th Jul - Hammerstein Ballroom, New York , USA
08th Jul - Crane, Pittsburgh , USA
07th Jul - Nautica Stage Cleveland , USA
06th Jul - State Theatre, Detroit , USA
04th Jul - Congress Theatre , Chicago , USA
02th Jul - Roskilde Denmark
26th Jun - Glastonbury, England
19th Jun - Madrid Stadium, Spain
17th Jun - Sonar 99, Barcelona, Spain
11th Jun - Prague Castle, Prague
29th May - Drum Rhythm Festival , Amsterdam
24th Apr - Peel Session - Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
15th Apr - Amsterdam
14th Apr - Paris , France
03rd Apr - Espárrago, Spain
31st Mar - Dublin, Ireland
30th Mar - Dublin, Ireland
28th Mar - Brixton Academy , London, UK
27th Mar - Brixton Academy, London, UK
26th Mar - Brighton , UK
24th Mar - Southampton, UK
23rd Mar - Cambridge , UK
22nd Mar - Wolverhampton , UK
21st Mar - Glasgow , UK
20th Mar - Manchester , UK
18th Mar - Sheffield , UK
17th Mar - Newcastle , UK
16th Mar - Leeds , UK
15th Mar - Bristol , UK
14th Mar - Exeter , UK
8th Mar - Mass , London (Cancelled)
TOURS - 15th March - Bristol Colston Hall - Bristol - England - UK

Photo Contribution #1 - Loopz
Review Contribution #1 - Michael Brunet
Review Contribution #2 - Elex
Set List - Loopz
Ticket Scan - Tom

#1 Click on Image to view FULL size


Bristol Colston Ticket
Bristol Colston Ticket

  Set List - (intro - Clockwork Orange), Way Out, Spare Parts Express, Impact (The Earth is Burning), Know Where to Run, An Fhomhair, Halcyon (with Belinda Carlisle and Bon Jovi samples) ,I Dont Know You People, The Box, Nothing Left (Parts 1 and 2), Style, Bigpipe Style, Satan, Open Mind (F.A.Mix), Doctor Who and Chime.

Review #1
- Michael Brunet
Bristol's Colston Hall is not the type of venue that I would have imagined Orbital playing for a headlining tour: for one thing, its typical theater/opera setup impressed a conservative atmosphere upon the audience (or at least on me anyway), and more importantly, the place was almost all seats. Both of these factors seemed to condemn the widespread manic dancing that has come to be a staple at Orbital shows, but by the end of the night a majority of the crowd had transcended the atmospheric restrictions of the Hall and boogied as if their lives depended on it. But more of that later... By the time that I finally arrived to Colston Hall at around 7:45 (for an 8:00 show), supporters Plaid had already started their set. As someone who'd never heard them before, it is difficult to describe their sound, but the melodies and hardstep beats reminded me very much of a cross between u-ziq/Aphex Twin knob-twiddling and some of Boards of Canada's more serene synth lines. Definitely a Warp recordings artist in that they are very difficult to describe in a neat fashion. For most of the band's 35 minute set, the audience was content to sit in their assigned seats (not me - at A8 I was directly in front of one of the speaker towers, which wouldn't have bothered me except that I couldn't even see the stage) and languidly nod their heads to the phat beats rolling over us in waves, showing their appreciation in sporadic bouts of hand clapping (many of which came during songs' breakdowns rather than at their conclusions). I must admit that a more enthusiastic reaction would have been difficult - the two members of the group did little more than shuffle back and forth while playing with their samplers and keyboards at a snail's pace - I know that it must be daunting to be the opening act for such a frantic live performance as Orbital's, but it would have been nice for one of the band members to at least look at the crowd every once in a while. It seemed that the audience enjoyed Plaid for the most part, but the Hall remained over half empty until almost the end of their set at approximately 8:20. From the moment that the Plaid lads wandered offstage, tension began to mount in the auditorium. A huge line of people streamed into the space, and those already seated began perking up with anticipation every time a member of the stage crew emerged to afix another cable to the Brothers' huge bank of keyboards and other assorted equipment. Finally, after a rather sinister orchestral intro that seemed more fitting to the noirish In Sides tour than the new "happy" Orbital of 1999, and a massive puff of smoke, we saw four narrow shafts of light cut across the front of the stage, and Phil and Paul appeared. As per usual, Phil muttered a quick hello, and then, in synchrony with the rotation of a number of projection screens on the w-shaped background, the first tune began. Not sure what it was, as it must have been off of Middle of Nowhere, but it was as brilliant as anything that they've ever done. As slow-motion, slighty-blurred nature images were projected onto the screens behind the main stage, dense major chords pulsed out to the audience in regular rhythm. For a moment there I could swear that I was seeing the Orb rather than Orbital: nature shots, beatless music, and an audience of hundreds just staring at the pretty pictures rather than dancing. But as the music continued to build, beats emerged, and soon a few nutters crawled up to the front of the auditorium and commenced a baggy pants dance circa 1991, much to my glee. As the music segued from one MoN (Middle of Nowhere) track to another (I can't possibly describe them all, both because I'm not entirely sure where the tracks began and ended, and also because I was too much in awe of the experience to focus on remembering the details), more and more people jumped up from their seats and made their way to the central aisle for a spot of dancing. Then, just as the recurring image of clocks, gyroscopes, and calenders faded from the projector screens, a green oscilloscope replaced them, and the crowd erupted. "Impact", the first familiar tune of the night (and a cracking brilliant one at that) propelled a good hundred people to start the dance hands-in-the-air style, and Phil looked extremely pleased to finally get this Bristol crowd jumping. From "Impact" the style changed again, back to a MoN tune with a very minimalist feel, accompanied by consumer goods and slogans plastered across the projector screens. As the song progressed, samples of anger became intertwined with the beats, and I think I might have heard "no good.....I don't know you people!" in there somewhere, thereby identifying the tune. This track (whether it was "I don't know you people") was by far the least Orbital-sounding track I heard all night (not that it's very easy to identify any Orbital track, as their style is so wide): at its beginning I almost could have attributed the sound to Richard Hawtin in his Plastikman guise, and there wasn't really much of a guiding melody to stir the crowd with. The Brothers H quickly remedied this problem, dropping a much-shortened "Halcyon" and "The Box" into the mix and bringing a good many more people to their feet. In tune with the vibe of the night, they then dropped back into tracks from the new album, giving us a beautiful track of lush pulses and Yellow-album bleeps as a soundtrack to perhaps the best visual presentation of the night: an ultrasound image, followed by a sci-fi body scan of a woman, interspersed w/ binary and circuitry in a man-machine meld theme. Great stuff. By this point people were getting pretty tired, so the housey-remix "An Fromhair" was the perfect remedy to get them on their toes, followed by a slightly out-of-tune "Style" straight into the closer of "Big Pipe Style." As the lights dimmed and the projectors hummed down prior to the encore, I was a little disappointed. The last two tracks, comprising the first single-oriented material from Orbital in the last three years, weren't quite up to snuff and as a result the audience didn't get too excited, with many people sitting out the last track. But what the show lacked in those final moments of the true set, it made up for in spades during the encore. Paul and Phil sauntered back onstage after only perhaps a minute of rest, and proceeded to mock the crowd by cupping their ears and waving "louder" as the chants for "Satan!!!" threatened to bring down the building. Finally, after half the kids in the place had gone hoarse (myself ceratinly included), the opening line "daddy, what does regret mean?..." subtlely slipped out of the speakers in direct opposition to the sonic assault that was to follow as "Satan" entered Colston Hall. This tune was by far the most aggressive that I've ever heard Orbital play, either live or recorded. The brothers spared no time in bringing in the huge tribal drum section of the track, and the overlying guitar riffs were harder and chunkier than ever before (perhaps lifted from the Spawn sessions with Kirk Hammet). All together, this track more than brought the audience back to life after a brief lull; it shocked them forward as if they had been hit by lightening. With Phil egging the crowd on by making the sign of the devil and Paul pounding his keyboard as if this was the last show of the tour, this was *the* defining moment of the night. All around, including on the somewhat precarious-looking balcony, people were dancing frenetically, hands in the air in a half-pogo move last seen at a Prodigy concert at Glasto, while cheesy flame-tinged sillouettes of the devil himself paraded across the projector screens. Top stuff! From such a huge tune Phil and Paul then introduced another oldish track revamped for the live circuit: Open Mind (the Funky Alternative Mix). Possibly on the suggestion of our good man Steve Price, the Hartnolls decided to give this all-ahead-full track a try in the live show, and coming out of such a loud track as "Satan", it worked its wonders. But even it was eclipsed by what happened next: the song ended, and for only the second or third time all night, silence was heard between tracks. Then a long "whoosh"ing sound echoed out across the Hall; somewhat familiar, but certainly not part of any Orbital track I knew. The sound continued, followed by a faint sample which only a few audience members seemed to hear, but which unmasked the biggest surprise of the evening: a little girl's voice said "but where can we go?", followed by an older man's (who perhaps was wearing a scarf) reply of "this box will take us through time and space...." After a few more Tardis wooshes, the familar bassline kicked in, and there it was - the omnipresent Orbital pisstake. But instead of mimicking bad 80s rock, this time around the brothers Hartnoll decided to take on perhaps one of the most well-known science fiction themes after Star Wars and Star Trek: after a lengthy traditional rendition of the theme in its entirety, the introduction to Doctor Who became a breakbeat-laden frenzy that had everyone and their dog pogoing around their seats with huge smiles on their faces. Once again, Orbital score a coup by rearranging old, obscure, and (often) ridiculous material into new forms - this tune will soon become *the* requested track from live bootleggers. And with good reason; it was wonderful fun, even if not an original Orbital beauty. And serving to whip the crowd up even more, Phil and Paul then launched into the evening's true finale with their first hit, "Chime", after what may have been a short encore snippet of "Impact." By the time the last chord shimmered through the speaker mountains, I looked around and was confronted by a sea of smiles. At many points during the night people had been dancing with such abandon and happiness that it seemed to be much like what I had heard of the 1989-1991 "loved-up vibe" (that I sadly missed in the United States), but at this particular moment everyone had but one sole united purpose: showing their appreciation to one of Techno's (it's just an all-encompassing term - no flame wars please) greatest live acts. Half an hour before it ended I wasn't sure that the concert had been entirely a success: the new material, other than the Dr. Who track (which Steve assured me would *not* be on the album ;( ) and Style, was met with less enthusiasm than I would have imagined, the sound system was not perfect (treble seemed a but more screechy and distorted than it needed to be), and I was a bit sad that some of my favorite older tunes were absent, or severely pared down for the performance ("Halcyon" and "the Box" especially). But after the blistering encore I had no doubt: throughout 1999 Orbital would continue their legacy at the forefront of live dance music. They were cheered offstage, and wholeheartedly deserved it. My first Orbital concert ended, and with it an indelible memory etched itself onto my addled brain.

Review #2 - Elex
Orbital were playing the second date in their first real tour in three years, and this was fairly evident from the atmosphere in the Colston Halls bar. The mandatory before-gig drinks over and done with, groups trickled into the 'arena', where Orbital's live set was arranged, and the support act, Plaid, were performing. Plaid's tracks were mainly an funk-acid-jazz fusion affair, ending with a minor blues guitar crescendo, and making way for some more peculiar warmup tape, this time featuring what was unmistakably a barn owl hoot. More drinks were in order.
The atmosphere was definitely on a high. Steeped in anticipation, and with only a hint of pot, it continued, until a single flash of light off stage caused one of those inexplicable silences. A pause, more silence, and a second point of light joined the first. Two pairs of lights bobbed onto the stage, and the crowd erupted.
First up was a track I had not had the pleasure of. Full of synth-strings, and generally typical Orbital, to which a chop-up of moonlit water, a total eclipse of the Sun, and speeded up footage of a clock was played on the screens behind the set.
This epic subsided, and the familiar bass of Impact kicked in. The brothers had done away with the usual startup to this particular anthem, and animated the already compulsive beats with some four-to-the-floor 909.
The crowd were literally, dancing in the aisles, and indeed anything else which was flat enough. The bright spark in the promotion company who had booked a venue with seats for a dance act, should be, as someone later wrote in the guest book, sacked.
Back into unfamiliarity when the shortened Impact finished. The screens bearing such consumer slogans as "Buy now, Pay later", beneath pictures of household objects, memorably, an armchair, and a grater.
Halcyon and The Box thundered past, interspersed by yet more unknown tracks, including a short outing into drum and bass. New tracks or improvisations, the audience didn't care. A track off the Style single, An Fhomhair was played, to the sight of contorting rubiks cubes on the screen.
More new material played out to the usual "Thank you very much, Colstonl" from Paul, and Orbital left the stage. Not for long, though, as the omission of essential tracks from the first half left the audience craving more.
Back into their nest of mixing desks, headlights bobbing, there could only be one track that they could play first. The warm synth glow, which inevitably lulls the first-time listener into a false sense of security, crept from the sound system. "And by the way, if you see your Mom this weekend be sure and tell her...". A barriage of white noise launched itself from the speakers, synchronised with images of falling H-Bombs, brainwashing in action, barking dogs, thugs, and an unhealthy amount of subliminals travelling across the bottom of the screen.
On the come down from Satan, a sample was played, which, to all those over 30s in the crowd, was recognisably from Doctor Who. A deep bass, which slowly morphed into the swirling depths of the Doctor Who theme tune, with a few danceable twists thrown in. A sea of people with fixated grins on their face bobbed frantically, and all hell broke loose as Chime was dragged out.
Orbital then played out to the heart-stopping performance of Chime, and Colston Hall emptied, amid a various conversations which seemed to range from how awsome the gig was, to how braindead the promotion was. Both were equally amazing.
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