The crowd was dressed up for the occasion, whether it was sequins while sitting up in the plush red seats, or sneakers on the dancefloor, people had come for a celebration, and that’s what they got.
This is the second time the two local institutions have combined forces, the first was 13 years ago. Recorded by RNZ, the resulting album remains a Christchurch BBQ and party staple.
The first set tonight combined the two worlds with sympathetic arrangements of Shapeshifter’s driving bass with orchestral flourishes.
'When I Return' opened the evening to a mighty roar from the crowd. What follow was hit after hit, with the band and orchestra complimenting each other very well.
Christchurch Symphony Orchestra harpist Helen Webby made a cameo in 'One', giving this reviewer goosebumps in the best way possible.
The town hall organ also got a workout, and orchestra members got a big cheer from the crowd after every solo.
'In Colour' had the crowd singing and clapping along, many dancing in the aisles.
While the music was big, the setting felt intimate and familiar. It was like reconnecting with an old friend.
In the second set Shapeshifter played a mixture of old and new tunes, with the celebration cranking up a notch or two.
This evening was about bringing two worlds together – the old and the new.
The pre-quake and now.
There was a huge sense of camaraderie among the audience; a feeling that 'yep, we’ve been through some stuff, but we’ve made it and now here we are'.
Shapeshifter and the CSO were with us every beat, string pluck and strobbing light of the way.
The evening was recorded and filmed. Can’t wait for the album!
- Shapeshifter's next performance is at Homegrown in Wellington on 23 March.
- Christchurch Symphony Orchestra are back in the town hall tonight, Saturday 2 March for the opening concert of the 2019 Masterworks Series. Phoenix, by acclaimed composer Christopher Cree Brown, has been specially commissioned to commemorate the occasion. This concert will be broadcast live from 7:30pm on RNZ Concert.