After having to sell my ticket last minute for the previous Cream Classical, I was waiting with my finger hovering ready for the tickets to go live on this one. Panic set in as the screen refreshed saying sold out, I know they sell out pretty quick but surely not this fast? A quick refresh and boom I’m back in the game, but just in time as they were down to the last few tickets.
The whole classical idea has become more and more popular with lots of brands putting their take on it, I’ve now sampled four different events. But in my eyes none of them compare to Cream Classical. But these guys have had a fair head start on the rest of the pack with the first Cream Classical being held back in April 2016.
So my excitement levels have been building all week for this one, even more so as it also a birthday treat. I’m finally in the car heading though the tunnel under the River Mersey on my way to Liverpool, chosen soundtrack for the journey has to be some classics to get me in the mood courtesy of The Space Brothers.
As you pull up the sheer size of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral just hits you, I’d forgotten how big it was (It is actually the seventh largest cathedral in the world). As you walk up you can feel the energy and excitement of everyone making their way in. Quick ticket check then onto security for the usual obligatory touching up, and stroll past the sniffer dog. I think a sniffer dog is a bit OTT for an event of this kind, but I’m sure it is part of the agreement to use the cathedral.
That’s it I’m in! There is a real buzz in this stunning building, after a quick gaze around taking in the surroundings of this breath taking cathedral I head to the loo, then down to the bar to grab a quick drink. Above the bar is a huge stained glass window with the iconic Cream logo being projected onto it, which I remember looking so cool from the last time I came. Drink in hand I weave my way to the front to find a good dance space and where I think might be a good sweet spot for the music.
The venue fills up and its now go time! A quick welcome from Ellen Louden, Cannon Chancellor of Liverpool Cathedral telling us we are more than welcome in this place and the lights dim. You can feel the tension amongst the crowd waiting to hear the Kaleidoscope Orchestra come to life.
The first notes blast out and what has become Cream’s ‘spiritual’ home comes alive, arms reach for the heavens and the congregation go crazy. People dancing, whistling, screaming, singing along to the orchestra’s take on ‘Inner City – Pennies from Heaven’.
The classic house vibe continues with ‘Subliminal Cuts – Le Voie Le Soleil’, ‘Atlantic Ocean – Waterfall’ and ‘N-Joi – Anthem’. The choir are dancing whilst they sing their hearts out, then as show curators K-Klass’s anthem ‘Let Me Show You’ piano hook drops, the venue goes wild and cheer much to their delight.
The lights dim once more and the futuristic synths of ‘Bassheads – Is There Anybody Out There’ start playing, building up to the electric guitar and pianos, then cleverly blending into “Afrika Bambataa – Get Up & Dance’. The crowd is in full swing dancing away, smiles from front to the back, camera phones recording away and showing everyone on social media what they are missing out on.
The tempo calms once more with a xylophone creating the bridge in to the intro of ‘Rhythm on the Loose – Break of Dawn’. Strings of violins accompany that iconic piano riff whilst people catch their breaths. Then another cheer erupts as Cream anthem from Alison Limerick ‘Where Love Lives’ drops.
Whilst the pace has chilled out, I can’t help but look around and take in the full 360 degrees of what is going down in this magical space. Cream have got this so right the sound levels are perfect. As someone that suffers from tinnitus, I’m very conscious of my hearing and always have my ear plugs with me. But I didn’t feel the need to use them, as the sound engineers had done such a good job. The sound levels were spot on you could hear all the various instruments and vocals clearly, its wasn’t overly loud but just right to pack a punch. But you could also speak to the person next to you without having to shout (plus my ears didn’t ring afterwards).
‘Bucketheads – The Bomb’ now paves the way for ‘Felix – Don’t You Want Me’ which is greeted with yet another roar from the crowd. It is a truly brilliant take on this classic with flutes creating a magical feel to it, which work ever so well with big synth riff layered with lots of other elements of the orchestra. Its is at this point the lighting jocks let rip with the lasers, with huge beams firing out in every direction across the cathedral.
Then we are treated to some trance, with none other than ‘Mystery Land – Y Traxx’, I can feel the goose bumps race across my body to the vocals of a soprano belting her lungs out, and I have a huge smile from ear to ear as I dance away. The tempo drops down and beats drop out to just a vocal solo, and the goose bumps are back as I recognise ‘Nalin & Kane – Beachball’ coming in.
As Beachball comes to an end the the coloured lighting glows up the nooks and crannies of the cathedral red, that infamous sax track ‘Laurent Garnier – Man with a Red Face’ drops. Multiple red red lasers fan out across the venue dancing with the other lighting, but it is short lived as ‘Underworld – 2 Months Off’ gives everyone another breather.
As that track finishes, blue lasers fill the room as a guitar and choir start to play out their rendition of ‘Solarstone – 7 Cities’, as the track builds to its peak purple lighting and lasers frantically dart from wall to wall. As the track softly comes to an end white lights beam up to the ceiling and the choir break into song bringing in trance classic “Tastexperience – Somersault’ with the choice of lighting dance now switching to green lasers/mood and and white beams. The xylophone really stands out to me in this track, which seamlessly mixes into ‘Paul van Dyk – For an Angel’. Which is met with fist bumps from the members of the orchestra not currently playing an instrument, the stings are really prominent in this one creating a stunning rendition and dusting the cobwebs off a track that I consider to be a bit tired and over played thanks to being featured on countless albums. So it was nice to appreciate it once more, as it really can’t be ignored as a classic from any trance lovers past.
Then just like that things switch to techno classic ‘DJ Rolando – Knights of the Jaguar’, the atmosphere in the cathedral is electric. It is truly is heart warming to see so many different generations come together in unity for this event. You’ve got millennials whom weren’t even born when these tracks were released dancing away with groups of the oldskool Cream faithful, there are even some pensioners in front of me hugging each other and dancing away with ravers shaking their hands and showing them love and respect.
As the show comes to a close ‘Massive Attack – Unfinished Symphony’ plays out with the choir singing and dancing in unison whilst towers of white lights shine up towards the roof, followed by fans of white lasers. The choir leads the track out and the lights dim, the crowd erupt in appreciation followed by a chant of ‘One more tune’
The orchestra don’t fail to deliver and we are treated to ‘Grace – Its Not Over’ as a finale. You can see smiles beaming out from the whole orchestra, as they play and dance the last track of the night out. On the dance floor everyone seems to have stepped it up a notch knowing this is the last one and the place is going nuts as blue lasers dart in every direction!
It’s not everyday that you get to ‘rave’ in a Cathedral, and with the perfect synergy between the orchestra, sound and lighting it made for an unforgettable night.
Thanks for more amazing memories Cream!
Watch it all here: