Gig Review by Ryan Beardsley with Photography by Michael Sibbons

It’s not every day you get to see a three-time Academy Award winner take to the stage, but then again it’s not every day Giorgio Moroder comes to town, in fact, this is his first ever British tour.

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I arrive at the Hammersmith Apollo to join a giddy crowd of all ages, many are there to boogie along to the finest disco tunes ever produced, others are there to appreciate the ambience of some of the best-loved film soundtracks of our time. Excitement and anticipation but also mild curiosity are in the air as conversation suggests nobody is quite sure what to expect from tonight’s show…

The Father of Disco struts onto the stage, clad in a silver bomber jacket and trademark shades where a full backing band, including a string quartet, has already assembled and now more than ever, I’m wondering what the hell I’ve let myself in for tonight. This feeling is enhanced as Moroder starts the evening with a karaoke style rendition of his first hit Looky Looky, which would be the only time he takes on vocal duties this evening (thankfully… sorry Giorgio!)

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Afterwards, he explains that this was his first hit and allowed him to the freedom to create the music that so many would go on to love – “You may not like [it] but it paid my rent for four years.” It’s clear from the outset that Moroder himself is very much in on the joke.

The party really gets going with a run of Donna Summer classics, heartily performed by one of Moroder’s ‘Bad Girls’ for the evening as part of a talented group of singers. Of course, she wasn’t able to compare to the late star herself, but comparisons are unfair when no one ever could. It’s fascinating between the tracks to hear Moroder discuss how classics such as I Feel Love came to fruition in his legendary studio, although it is clear many in the audience would rather just keep the party going.

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Next up was my own personal favourite; Chase, the theme from 70’s prison thriller Midnight Express. A synth classic where in this case, the addition of the string quartet only added to the score. Moroder was only conducting in spirit of course, but it still sounds as cutting edge tonight as it did when he created it and nabbed that first Oscar. Pioneer of electronic dance music

The hits keep coming in the form of 80’s classic; Together In Electric Dreams. Again, the singer taking over for Phil Oakley was no Phil Oakley, but it got everyone up for the biggest sing along of the night and the production was outstanding.

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Things get a little melancholic as Moroder pays tribute to two of his late friends and collaborators; David Bowie and Donna Summer while again Moroder waxes lyrical about the time he spent working with each to a backdrop of Cat People. Once again, I’m all ears but it’s clear that not all in the crowd are as keen to take a breather.

The show picks back up with (Flashdance) What A Feeling, and Moroder’s personal favourite, Take My Breath Away and when the songs are damn good, who cares if Moroder is simply clapping along and bashing the tambourine? For yours truly it’s enough to be in the presence of the artist who made all this possible whilst younger and more energetic performers are relied upon to do the hard work.

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To end the night, we’re treated to two, stone cold disco classics; Hot Stuff is performed with every person in the Apollo up on their feet and even I can’t resist recreating the famous Full Monty moment, although at first I may have been grinding away subconsciously…

Then to round things off we get Blondie’s Call Me and I can only really stand and applaud at the impact and legacy that this man has had on pop music throughout his peerless career, credit to him for putting on this show and sharing the magic with people again.

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As for final thoughts, it was absolutely mental all things considered. Part cabaret show that might seem more at home on a cruise ship, part 70’s night that you were left at home for when your parents went out with wigs and flares on as a youngster. Did I enjoy every minute? Of course I did.

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