Despite its iconic status and influence, The Hacienda famously never made any profit. In fact, the club housed in a former warehouse on Whitworth Street West was a cavernous money hoover from the get-go. When it opened in 1982, it struggled to bring the punters in. After it became popular in the early 90s, as the home of ‘Madchester’, the city’s gangsters moved in, meaning a huge amount of security was required every night, eating into profits. Closing in 1997, it’s fortunes were wrapped up with that of Factory Records, which had funded the club and soon went the same way. Therefore you can’t really blame Peter Hook, who funded the club for many years through New Order’s records sales and now owns the rights to the name, from wanting to get a bit of cash out of the thing now. However, while the Hacienda Classical shows might have initially had a slight air of cash-in, he and the rest of the original Hacienda gang have been holding these events to much acclaim for two years now, with tonight’s concert their third time in Glasgow.
The size of the Hydro makes it an ideal venue, with a rave-like atmosphere down in the standing area, as we watch the colourful spectacle on stage. The crowd tonight do Glasgow proud, with most throwing shapes and knocking backs pints. The bar certainly doesn’t seem to be suffering from the problems the Hacienda did (another factor in its demise was that they never sold enough alcohol, most of the crowd preferring water to accompany whatever drugs they were taking). The sound is truly fantastic. The Manchester Camerata Orchestra blend brilliantly with original Hacienda DJs Mike Pickering and Graeme Park in recreating a mash-up of house classics, such as Sabrina Johnston’s Peace. The set-up is obviously a well-oiled machine by now, and the atmosphere in the venue is joyous.
The staging incorporates the Hacienda’s famous stripes and colourful lights spell out PEACE and Fac 51 (the club’s Factory Records catalogue number). Rowetta even has a Hacienda-themed yellow-and-black dress. The various elements on stage, with no focus on one particular individual, feels true to the rave party spirit, while there’s still lots for the audience to feast their eyes on. Then we have Peter Hook appear side stage to sing Blue Monday to an ecstatic crowd. While he has a fine voice, it it still rather odd to hear him singing instead of Sumner. The crescendo of the night is Rowetta’s version of You’ve Got the Love. What a set of pipes! She is a true star, and the Hacienda Classical concerts have given her an opportunity to shine. It’s the perfect end to tonight’s party – top one!