Fatboy Slim – Live Review – Scarborough Open Air Theatre

Fatboy Slim Live Review Scarborough Open Air Theatre (2)

By Charlotte Oliver, July 2024

Hot on the heels of playing Glastonbury (which included a rare cameo appearance on bass with Paul Heaton for a classic Housemartins song), Fatboy Slim brought his ‘Loves Summer’ tour to Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre. And what a night it was!

Fatboy Slim AKA Norman Cook is a musician, DJ and producer who was a key player in establishing the Big Beat dance music scene. Since his celebrated 1996 album ‘Better Living Through Dance Music’, Fatboy Slim has released a further four albums spawning such massive dance hits as ‘Rockerfeller Skank’, ‘Praise You’ and ‘Right Here, Right Now’. His live shows have become famous almost as much for their spectacle as their music, so when I packed into Scarborough’s glorious Open Air Theatre alongside 7,999 other dance music fans, it was not without a degree of anticipation.

Fatboy Slim Live Review Scarborough Open Air Theatre (3)

Support came from Meg Ward

“Seamless mix”

Opening for Slim was Meg Ward, an electronic dance music DJ and producer from Pontefract. Ward filled the OAT not only with her gorgeous bass-rich beats but also her captivating stage presence, bringing the sunshine to a soggy evening both literally and metaphorically. (I suspect I’m late to the Meg Ward party but if you haven’t heard her before and are even remotely into dance music, I heartily recommend you look her up – you’re in for a treat.)

At around 8:30pm, Fatboy Slim took to the stage to cheers from a very up-for-it audience (the England men’s football team having qualified for the Euro 2024 semi-finals only minutes earlier). Starting his set with Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ was a great move, bringing the whole house (including the thousands of seated fans) to their feet to dance, despite the heavens opening once again. Slim then went on to deliver a seamless mix of tracks, peppered with samples of many of his most well-loved hits such as ‘Praise You’ and ‘Eat Sleep Rave Repeat’. Accompanying the music was a stream of visuals cut to the beat which included images of many rock stars such as Bowie, Blondie, Jagger, and actors Brad Pitt and George Clooney, as well as Christopher Walken (famously associated with Slim for having danced in the video to the track ‘Weapon of Choice’).

Fatboy Slim Live Review Scarborough Open Air Theatre (1)

“Roars of approval”

The light show was impressive too, and included a flurry of lasers at various points in the gig which upped the audience’s energy even further. Everything about the evening was carefully designed to add to the atmosphere of excitement and celebration, and it worked, with the audience dancing nonstop throughout. Slim’s years at the forefront of British DJ culture were evident in both his choice of tunes and engagement with the crowd. An early mention of the locals’ affectionate name for the town, ‘Scarbados’, was greeted by roars of approval and cemented the audience’s adoration of him.

After a solid two hours, Slim closed the show with a string of hits: the Doobie Brother’s classic ‘Without Love’, a reprise of his own ‘Praise You’, and ‘Right Here, Right Now’ mixed into ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ending with an encore of his mega-hit ‘The Rockerfeller Skank’. The cheers that echoed through the night sky as Slim took his final bow showed just how much the audience enjoyed the night. Fatboy Slim Loves Summer and Scarborough Loves Fatboy Slim!

images: Cuffe & Taylor

By Charlotte Oliver, July 2024


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