Manchester’s Electronic Alchemy: The Chemical Brothers Return to Where It All Began

In the place where their paths first crossed, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, the iconic duo known as The Chemical Brothers delivered a hypnotic live performance at the AO Arena in Manchester. Before the show starts the DJs already make their presence felt with three expansive screens and an elaborate strobe lighting arrangement and the ambiance was further enhanced with the deployment of smoke machines, collectively crafting an immersive atmosphere, as Tom and Ed graced the stage. The iconic duo wasted no time launching into “Go” sending the crowd crazy with it’s pulsating energy. A statement of intent for the night ahead.

The Chemical Brothers have carved an enduring legacy within the music industry as pioneers of electronic music. Since their inception in the late ’80s, Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands have consistently pushed the boundaries of the genre. Their ground breaking use of synthesizers, drum machines, and innovative production techniques helped shape the electronic music landscape as we know it today and all of this is on show at the arena. The duo’s ability to seamlessly blend various musical elements, from rock to hip-hop, has made their sound both distinctive and inclusive, this was evident with tonight’s crowd. They’re renowned for their light and visual live shows and tonight is no exception. It’s hard to focus on the two DJs due to the visual show spread across the three huge screens. A dazzling array of lasers and captivating on-screen visuals accompanied beloved tracks like “Swoon” and “Chemical Beats,” creating a sensory feast of epic proportions.

As the night unfolded, The Chemical Brothers unleashed hit after hit along with their latest efforts. The pulsating beats of tracks like “Do It Again” and “Hey Boy, Hey Girl” had the AO Arena bouncing with fervour along with the two DJs on stage. With a string of iconic albums and chart-topping hits it is clear that The Chemical Brothers are still one of the main driving forces in the world of electronic music.

In a touching tribute to Manchester’s musical heritage, the duo seamlessly blended New Order’s “Temptation” into their own “Star Guitar”. The music flowed seamlessly throughout their 23-song performance, with anthems like “Galvanize” and “Block Rockin’ Beats” propelling the night to an exhilarating climax.

The Chemical Brothers couldn’t take their leave without an encore, and they returned with the enigmatic “No Geography.” One of the evening’s standout moments came with their performance of “The Darkness That You Fear,” a track from their latest album, “For That Beautiful Feeling.” The night soared to its zenith with the hypnotic and mesmerising “The Private Psychedelic Reel”.

Friday’s show marked one of the AO Arena’s most exceptional nights in 2023. The Chemical Brothers’ Manchester rave homecoming was a testament to their enduring legacy in the electronic music field. Long may they bring that beat.

The Chemical Brothers Setlist AO Arena, Manchester, England 2023, For That Beautiful Feeling

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