Norman, you were part of a government-backed nightclub trial event in Liverpool at the weekend – The First Dance. How did it go?
It was joyful for everyone to just feel free after the restrictions we've been placed under this past year or so. The idea was to have no boundaries, no restrictions, and to get 4,000 people in a big sweaty pile as a one-off experiment. We had to be tested before we came in, we were all tracked and traced, and we will all have to take another test on Wednesday to see what the results are. A lot of scientific research was being done on the night; the air flow within the building was being tested, a lot of scientists were wandering around with clipboards, so amongst the fun being had, there was a serious side to what was happening.
Still getting goosebumps.... much praise to all behind the scenes, especially @yousefcircus & @richchibuku 🙌— Fatboy Slim (@FatboySlim) May 3, 2021
If you were there, don't forget to get your test this week
Vid taken at #TheFirstDance 01/05/21 the pilot event in association with the Events Research Programme (ERP) pic.twitter.com/FcfCRQXHni
How did you feel personally?
I played a couple of times in Ibiza last August but apart from that, this was my first show in this country in 15 months. I was really nervous until I went on stage, then within a minute I was like, 'I remember this!' I'd forgotten just how powerful it is to be among people and to hear music that loud. I'd been going through years' worth of tunes in my little office on my little speakers but when you hear it that loud and you hear the power of it, it's something incredible. It’s all about the sense of unity that you can’t have on Zoom – it was one of those 'you had to be there' moments and we were so lucky to do it.
What was the vibe like in the crowd?
There were tears shed and it was very emotional, just a sea of smiling faces finally being allowed to congregate together again. It’s one thing liking music but there’s something very special that happens when you share it with a large group of people, all of a common mind. It’s very much like football in that respect, that sense of community and togetherness that we’ve been sadly lacking, just a bit more ravey. I’m sure that our return to the Amex will have the same kind of emotional impact on people. I would also suggest everyone brings some throat lozenges to the game when they do return. We all emerged from Saturday night with hideously sore throats having not sung or shouted for so long!
Such a joyful night. Best government pilot scheme I’ve ever been involved in…— Fatboy Slim (@FatboySlim) May 2, 2021
Big thanks to @CIRCUSmusic @yousefcircus and everyone involved.
If you were there please get your test next week the results could help more events get up and running sooner. pic.twitter.com/P4qpQLfhnP
How excited will you be to return to the Amex again?
I’ve enjoyed watching the Albion on TV, but there’s that extra passion and extra sense of togetherness when you’re shouting or singing in a crowd – and we’re all looking forward to experiencing that feeling once again at the Amex. It’s not just about the fans though; it’s also important for the players to hear us cheering them on. They’ve been playing out of their skins recently but it must help them when they hear the roar of a crowd. It must help them enjoy the game more and I’m sure they’re looking forward to seeing fans as much as anyone.
Has watching the Albion been a saviour during these lockdowns?
Football has helped me get through this in terms of my mental health. I’ve watched every single Albion game on TV and it’s been a privilege to be able to do that. It’s kept me and my friends going and a reminder of our old lives, that football and the Albion are still there. With my bad eyesight, I now know what the players look like way more intimately thanks to the subtleties of TV. Before, from my seat halfway up the West Stand, I’d recognise them by their gait or hairstyle, but if I saw them in the street now I’d be able to recognise them far more easily!
So you’ll be at the Man City game then?
If we have the green light then I’ll be there. I was at the Amex when City won the league a couple of years back, but this time they should have it won it already. I’m pretty sure we won’t be needing points at that stage to stay up either, so it should be a nice, relaxed end to the season and the players can really enjoy saying hello to us again. It was will be a nice way for them to end their home campaign and for us to show our appreciation. Putting the points to one side, they’ve had a really good season and been an absolute joy to watch.
* You will be able to read Norman's take on the season in our final home programme of the season against Manchester City.
* Norman will be on tour this November. For more details visit www.fatboyslim.net