Jeff Mills

‘Light from the Outside World tour’

Friday 10th October 2014
Hamer Hall & Royal Melbourne Hotel

 Bringing classic, classy techno to all ears

The scent of marijuana surrounded the path that led me to the doors of this iconic show. Lines grew uncontrollably from the inside reception desk to the outskirts of the venue, loud echoed whispers of praise with the potent scent of anticipation, ready to experience Jeff Mills in all his glory.
With this much energy, we already knew we were in for a good night.

The entrance was bursting at the seams, everyone eager to get inside. It was necessary to push my way through the crowd, Jeff Mills enthusiasts compacted the lobby to display a sea of heads and an array of "characteristic and individual colour". This artists ability to influence and touch all ages, just added to the kaleidoscope of his talent. From average electronic music devotees to your  "Nanna’s" book club, champagne in tow, portrayed  a scene likened to the story of the "pied piper"  unaware of what exactly lay ahead, but ready for "their" journey.

The struggle that was a maze to find my seat involved two floors, escalators and a bar pit stop. As I walked down the aisle to reach the ground floor I found I'd managed to be confronted with the stage within eye level. It was the perfect position with Jeff Mills's mix station directly in front of me. Lights began to fade with an electric blue emphasizing the sixty-piece ‘Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’. My timing and location, was priceless.
Applause built, a rising storm from level to level of the auditorium and like a trance, all eyes were directed to the stage. Here we were presented with the exciting moment of Jeff Mills, dressed to the nines, both with his conductor for the night, introduced on to the stage with a fixed spot light. With only a bow, silence between them deafening, they walked to their positions and arranged themselves; The energy increased around me, ready for that taste of pure beauty at their fingertips.

With the Conductor in view, hands in place for direction, the orchestra began to pierce our hearing with soothing undertones. This kindled an unfamiliar clarity within, driven by passion that was created in front of my eyes. It was with the opening from the orchestra and the conductors headphones set, that the sound from the man we’d been waiting from, awakened our souls and hijacked our conscious state, offering the audience the collaborative sensitivity of sight and sound of what I hadn't comprehended, much less believed to be compatible. An amazing compliment of instruments and sound, igniting from the sound of trumpets arranging themselves over his looped electronic arrangement, the single silhouettes that sat still in front of me, frozen no longer. Jeff Mills had introduced an element that not only enhanced the beauty of the symphony orchestra, but enriched its composition. They were a team together.

Dwindling at the end of the melody, like raindrops evaporating above you, my chest compacted wanting more. Jeff strolled to a microphone that stood in the faint light in front of his post. He expressed his appreciation to everyone that was sitting in front of him, tailed by the introduction of his close friend who was also the conductor for the night. He gave a slight explanation for what this project and tour was all about, giving us, the listeners, a clear identification with where he was taking out minds. 
By creating “the sound of something that’s happen before, beyond our imagination” he was able to transfer his grasp by translating the  “idea that we’d be more sensitive of what we do in real life”.
This engaging monologue lead us into the next piece, something that is very important in his career. A song from one of his favourite tracks called ‘Gamma Player’. This was a record he built around “all the risks people take in their lives every day, to make a better place” he was “pushing barriers and trying new things”. No more words needed for an introduction, this was the title that perked everyone out of their seats through familiarity, forming whistles and applause galore. 

The sound of French bells vibrated the hall with screams of adulation competing with them, felt like the single element that completed the opening of this song. The consistent music, left me imprinted with feelings of pure excitement, widening my eyes to capture and see all the surroundings.  The bass shadowed by strictly string instruments encouraged the crowd’s silence of awe to uncontrollable roars of desire. Trumpets built the bass resulting in people feeling compromised to stay still in their seats, a subtle pause of church bells suggested a breather, but this was the entrée into next build up of what can only be described as a party. A drum solo bounced into the shadows of the room that detonated the sounds of bongos. This was a remarkable moment which had people aside of me giggling with astonishment. This was no show to be surprised about; Jeff is a music genius. 

Five standing ovations and many encore segments later, you knew the crowd craved for more and he was giving it right back. The audience had finally let their hair down and by that very last song; there was no butt left in a seat. Everyone was standing and the aisles were full of dancing figures, this moment was being embraced to the fullest by all that attended. Jeff Mills had created a rare party at Hamer Hall, but this party had only just begun.

Jeff’s After Party destination was found in the heart of the city on Bourke St at The Royal Melbourne Hotel. This event had already pre sold a majority of the venues capacity before the nights commencement, preparing all that entered an unforgettable night with fellow Mills fans, not too far from their side. The guest line wrapped around the building's edge straight to the entrance. Once the "entry" stamp hit the crowds wrists, eagerness and smiles grew, surges of energy engulfed them like one giant cloud, ready for what the night held ahead. To be in the presence of one of greatest DJs in the world was as surreal as it gets

This was the chance to get up and close in Jeff’s Face, while living in the moment and expressing a reaction through body movement. Drinks were flowing and energies were high, everyone was in great mood and waiting in anticipation for 1am for Jeff to be presented to all.

The night passed that didn't immobilise people. Jeff was able to encapsulate the audience into his world with every move he made. From beat, tempo or even crouching down to switch CDs, people were completely aware, on board and adjusted appropriately. The opportunity to visualise every moment having access to stand behind his decks, allowed me to watch a master at work. 

Four CDJs is rare and only but a few can re-create, producing this live was insane to watch. His hands and body would be constantly moving to keep up with each track, constantly switching and turning numerous nobs, there had to be at least one hundred different filters. The conductor from the Hamer Hall performance was present at this show, standing shoulder to shoulder with me, I could observe and relish in the friendship and guidance these two shared. When Jeff created a great mix or clean transition, they both look at one another, smile, and then nod, making you feel that this reassurance and invisible pat on the back expressed in these moments, kept Jeff going into his three hour set.

With Shouts still stirring and thirty minutes left of his scheduled set, Jeff had called it a night and made a quick change over with the closing DJ. If you blinked an eye you would of missed him. By attending both these shows in one night, I was able to experience his classical, reborn technical sounds at Hammer Hall, with the many diverse attendees watching beside me. To then delve into the depths of the after party with the resonances of what made him today; sharing his space and passion with true believers, is what has made him one of the greatest DJs of the world today. 

Each moment impacted on myself and many on different levels internally and was an experience that has to be seen, for one self, to be shared with many, with closure in his company will be an evening that I will always remember.

Thank you JEFF MILLS.

Elle Sutherland