An ocean of sequins, glitter and maritime-themed sailor outfits greeted me as I entered The Forum. It’s been 25 years since the Vengaboys exploded onto the scene and a quarter of a century later, it’s evidently clear that people - still love to party.
DJ Nick Skitz
The dance floor was already close to capacity when DJ Nick Skitz took to the stage. The Forum, a venue usually home to live bands had now been transformed into a massive night club. No time was wasted and DJ Nick Skitz came out strong with hard-hitting bass beats that reached deep into the chest cavity of every patron in the venue. He paced his set brilliantly and continually built the momentum throughout the night. There was never a lull in the energy and that is always highly commendable when well executed by a DJ.
Reel 2 Real
I was completely caught of guard by the next artist that came out. The Mad Stuntman of Madagascar fame himself! His larger than life personality and tremendous presence instantly brought the energy levels way up and goddamn - did we move it, move it. In a single song he captivated every person in the crowd and had them eating out of his hands.
Up next were the UK’s electronic sensation, N-Trance. Once again we felt ourselves lifted to another level. Their set was so infectious that I found myself dancing against my will. Those who know me, know that I never dance (my wife can vouch for that). However when the beats are this good, the body reacts without consulting the mind. Electronic Pleasure is more than just a song, it’s the perfect description of what seeing N-Trance live feels like.
Leaving the UK we crossed the ocean with the next act coming all the way from Holland. The Eurodance chart toppers, Alice DJ. With every new artist that came on stage the venue seemed to keep getting fuller and fuller, with an endless stream of patrons pouring in. They had the audience singing at the top of their lungs along to the smash hit, Better Off Alone and had us all moving in unison with simple yet effective dance moves that the crowd, including myself, was happy to comply with.
I realise I’m repeating myself by this point but once again the energy in the room rose as the crowd roared as Whigfield aka Sannie Charlotte Carlson took to the stage. With songs like Sexy Eyes and Saturday Night the crowd was enthralled. These songs have been around for nearly 3 decades and in that time, they have lost absolutely none of their appeal to an audience that loved them just as much today as they did back in the 90’s.
The lights dimmed and a video played across the screen as a loud commanding voice narrated the words appearing on-screen. In what can only be described as an unreasonably epic intro, we were being hyped up for the headliners. The one, the only, Vengaboys. Bursting on to the stage in flamboyant and fluorescent attire they made their grand entrance, heralded by a flash of pyrotechnics. They went straight into Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom and the crowd sang louder than the sound system could keep up with.
The set wasn’t just their hits, but a non stop collection of some of the biggest dance songs and remixes of all time.
The set was closed with, We Like to Party and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that each and everyone of us was aboard the Venga Bus, as massive inflatable balloons descended from the ceiling of the Forum Theatre. The word nostalgia is defined as; a feeling evocative of a longed-for past time or condition - and that is exactly what seeing the Vengaboys made us feel.
Years ago when many of the artists I saw tonight first emerged, a lot of people, including myself thought that they might be a passing fad or even a little gimmicky. Maybe Eurodance and Techno was nothing more than a trend. However, no gimmick or trend can endure for 25 years, and then proceed to sell out two shows in a row.
What is it that makes an act like Vengaboys not just endure but thrive for as long as they have? Having witnessed it for myself I think I know the answer. This music makes you feel good. It brings people together and for a moment your problems go away and you are all united in the same warm, fuzzy emotion. And that my friends, is something that will never go out of style.
This review is dedicated in loving memory to my dear friend and brother, Jacob Ngahere. Let us always remember the party.