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  Paul Oakenfold 05.29.2002
by Shane Bailey
photos by Hahni Mramor

Venue: Eleven50
Presented by: Eleven50

The crowd for Oakenfold at Eleven50From the inside, it may have seemed that eleven50's announcement of Paul Oakenfold's upcoming appearance in the near future was met with a less than enthusiastic response, whereas in reality it ranked as one of the most sought after shows they have hosted to date. With the majority of the tickets being sold in advance the weekend before the event, the meager 50 tickets remaining at the door the night of his appearance quickly became a hot commodity. The extra precautions taken for Oakenfold were more than apparent in the amount of extra security on hand along with the stairwell leading up to the DJ booth and bar being roped off to prevent anyone from crowding or distracting his highness. All of this only reinforced the fact that Mr. Oakenfold has become a superstar in his own right and is here to stay, regardless of the boundaries he's crossed in the past and the direction he's currently headed with his music. This superstar status was evident in what appeared to be many of his loyal listeners in attendance on what would normally be a quiet Wednesday. In fact, the patrons took full advantage of there being no dress code, and you could even hear whistles in the crowd at times. Looking past the many biased negative opinions some have developed towards Paul Oakenfold, one can't deny the energy and excitement he brings with his presence alone. It's tough to attribute his popularity to what used to be his younger listeners during what many would consider his 'prime' coming of age, or his more recently acquired fans intrigued by the increased promotion of his sound and its semblance to pop.

The Oakenfold poster at Eleven50As for the event, upon entering, Perfecto's presence was felt immediately. Everything from the projection video to the laser designs let everyone know the headliner's label affiliation. It became repetitive and was unfortunate that the visuals were limited in that regard even though the lighting more than made up for it. Liquid Todd started things off and was given more support than most openers in recent memory, undoubtedly due to the anticipation of the headliner. Nonetheless, he did not disappoint and kept the crowd under wraps until the man everyone came to see took over.

Oakenfold's sound has and continues to take a different direction over time. This is especially apparent in his latest album, Bunkka, which was being promoted at the event. Anyone that came expecting to only hear his trademarked trance anthems was in for a rude awakening and only setting themselves up for disappointment. He did resort back to his roots with tracks like Derb's "Derbus," whereas others like Dirty Vegas's "Days go By" and his own "Southern Sun" production from Bunkka strayed from his trance roots. All the while, the crowd was rocking out having the times of their lives. At least 3 large orange balloons were released and knocked around the club like a beach ball at a sporting event at one point. Combined with the dancers' performances and their use of handheld spotlights, the crowd's enthusiasm maintained its peak, as if the crowd ever needed a boost on this of all nights. Oakenfold's performance seemed to be enjoyable for all parties in attendance, and I was no exception. An event's "vibe" is often brought up when determining its success, and there was no shortage of it before, during or after his set.

At Amazon.com

Bunkka from Amazon.com Bunkka
by Paul Oakenfold

Track Listing:

  1. Ready Steady Go
  2. Southern Sun
  3. Time Of Your Life (feat. Perry Farrell & Grant Lee Phillips)
  4. Hypnotised
  5. Zoo York
  6. Nixon's Spirit (feat. Hunter S. Thompson)
  7. Hold Your Hand
  8. Starry-Eyed Surprise
  9. Get Em Up (Feat. Ice Cube)
  10. Motion (feat. Grant Lee Phillips)
  11. Harder They Come (feat. Nelly Furtado & Tricky)

Order Now at Amazon.com

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