Event Reviews

The Orb

with Witchman

The Masquerade, Atlanta, GA • April 14, 2001

It disgusts me that people who claim to listen to “techno” music don’t put The Orb as their top priority when they come into town. But then again, I’m a music snob, I don’t consider The Orb to be “techno,” and I’d probably be complaining if all “those ravers” showed up. That being said, The Orb kicked ass to the perfect crowd as Easter started. It’s almost a spiritual experience to witness The Orb take off. It was actually my “Easter Mass,” because I blew off church in the morning to attend. Like I said, they are a top priority when they come to town.


As Witchman (born John Roome) took his place behind a console for his set, you could tell we were in for a treat that evening. Solid beats with a tricky finger. Witchman seemed to be the master of the machines before him as he directed. It is an art, I don’t care who you ask. The audience seemed to agree, offering cheers and dancing for their praise. It ended too soon, but we still had The Orb to go on. You could really tell everyone wanted to see The Orb; all someone had to see was a body on stage and they would anxiously approach to see if they might be missing something.

I’m not going to run through the set list. That’s dull, boring, and when it’s The Orb, does it matter? To me, the joy of The Orb live is it changes. Sure, it depends on factors, but you can’t tell me that the four-minute version of “Little Fluffy Clouds” is the same as a 20-minute version. I’m just not going to believe you, no matter how much you insist. As Witchman and Patterson came on stage, they took the helm for a lively set.


It is a mix with The Orb. “Thursday’s Keeper” and “A Mile Long Lump of Lard” were transformed into floor-pounders. A couple other tracks off Cydonia, as well, but I was never able to quite pinpoint which ones – probably “Once Again,” though, since it is the first single, and “Terminus.” I also heard a couple of new tracks sneak into the set list. I was impressed, because it shows them continuing to evolve. The album is about two years old, though, so it should be expected. Patterson and Witchman do a great job mixing off each other, and when you see them starting to smile at each other, look out. The low end just might get a bit heavier. It’s like watching a traditional band, but their “toys” are different. But that’s why I like Orb shows: They have a live bassist. It’s a talent to play bass that well, and you know it when you hear it. At some point, I’m pretty sure I heard “Blue Room.” No. I’m sure of it.


Patterson openly admits to his Pink Floyd influences. I think, if anything, the Pink Floyd influence is heard live. It the closest you can come to truly hearing a work in progress. Music is a form of expression, and The Orb conveys a bit more than your run of the mill artist. Samples are almost always thought provoking, and it never really sounds the same twice. That’s Pink Floyd you are hearing. At least to me. Such goes an Orb show. The lights are good, and if you don’t “feel” like dancing, they show cool footage on the screens while providing a live soundtrack.

All in all, I was very happy to see such a diverse selection of tracks and mixes during the show. As I told a friend of mine, they are easily worth three times the ticket value to catch live. You should, and chances are, you won’t have to pay that much. Set lists? Who needs set lists?

Photo Gallery at http://www.burntmedia.org/documents/gallery/concerts/orb/ . ◼

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