If you had a record player in the early ’80s there was a good chance you owned a copy of Hooked On Classics. The K-tel release was, for many Australians, the first taste of classical music they had ever experienced. The works of Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Mozart and many others brought life, in most part, by a continuous beat which played under the masterworks.
More recently, Australian composer and conductor George Ellis has given the phenomenon a new lease of life with a 28 Piece Symphony Orchestra including a live drummer and of course that unmistakable clap track… Oh, that clap track.
After a sell-out at the Sydney Opera House, George brought the show to Newcastle’s Civic Theatre for two performances on Saturday 16 November, and we were lucky enough to be in the audience.
With local journalist, Scott Bevan on MC duties, the Orchestra and “rock band”, conducted by George Ellis, led us down the memory lane with choice cuts from the Hooked On Classics series interwoven with more traditional pieces including operatic works led by a cast of amazing vocalists. It was both a spectacle and an Aural marvel which had the Civic both captivated bopping along in their seats.
At one point during the performance, Bevan pointed out to the audience that many members of the ensemble were Novocastiran which, of course, led to much applause and hometown pride. But for us, it was that unmistakable clap track that took us right back to a time where releases like the Hooked On Classics series were the pride of place at dinner parties and often became the soundtrack of mum and dad cleaning the house on Sunday afternoons.
Performed over two hours with an intermission, the Re-experience of Hooked On Classics was nothing short of triumphant and left the Civic Theatre Audience no choice but to offer a standing ovation as the curtain closes on an afternoon of retro goodness.
There’s no doubt that everything old is new again and Hooked On Classics is Tré Cool.