The Orb – 18/05/91 – Portsmouth Poly Student Union

The Orb flyer May 1991I think this was probably the first time I’d seen a dance act live, and it was a real turning point for me. I had had ‘Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld’ on near-enough constant play during the previous week, and was well up for it. Spurs had beaten Forest in the FA Cup Final earlier that day too, so I was in per-ropper party mood. Andy Weatherall and a couple of local DJs had the crowd pumped up before The Orb shuffled self-consciously on to the stage, and when Alex Patterson dropped in the sexy girl vocal sample that adorns ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ the floor went berzerk. Well, as berzerk as 120 bpm can get a crowd…

To this day, I’m not sure exactly how they created the sounds – there were definitely beats coming from a pair of decks, and a freakish amount of samples and squishy noises over the top of all that – the couple of minor fuckups suggested it was more live than sequenced. The only downer on the whole evening was the drunken student twat setting the fire alarm off, meaning we had to adjourn to the road outside for 20 minutes while the Fire Brigade came and checked it out. Th’Orb would become very, very popular in my house for a number of years.

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