Dec. 7, 2002

Oakenfold Takes "Bunkka" on Road, Debuts Band

By Randy J. Klodz

Heralded by many as the world's best DJ, Paul Oakenfold launched his genre-stretching tour, in support of his recent album, "Bunkka," in late November that saw his show storm into Chicago by making a stop at the Riviera Theatre on Dec. 7.

A venue that's mainly a home to rock shows, the Riveria was transformed into a club-goers delight, fit enough to resemble scenes out of "A Night at The Roxbury," only Hollywood actor Richard Grieco was not the celebrity of focus, Oakenfold held the limelight.

For the first time in his successful career, Oakenfold held his performance with more than himself and his DJ equipment. Since "Bunkka" has more of a pop/rock influence—with famed guest vocalists Ice Cube, Nelly Furtado, Perry Farrell and Crazy Town's Shifty Shellshock, among others—leading the way, there comes the need for a "rock-like" show set-up. As the lights dimmed, Oakenfold—greeted by the crowd to chants of "Oak-eee," waves of glow sticks and spinning lights—took the stage with guitarist/bassist Tim Hutton of Groove Armada and director/drummer John Tonks of Tricky at his sides.

The backdrop for the stage consisted of a large projection screen displaying images of nature and music video-like portrayals of each of the aforementioned guest vocalists. Oakenfold's show opened with an extended version of "Time of Your Life," that showcased the power of motion pictures, color and sound. Former Porno for Pyros and current Jane's Addiction singer Perry Farrell appeared on the screen, singing his vocal parts in sync with Oakenfold's band.

"Hey Chicago, it's great to be back," Oakenfold said in his Austin Powers-meets-Pierce Brosnan vocal tone upon the completion of "Motion." "This is our first run with this set-up and we are excited."

Oakenfold continued on, mixing his way through tracks "Hypnotised," and the radio hits "Ready Steady Go" and "Starry Eyed Surprise," which features the raspy-smooth vocals of Crazy Town singer Shifty Shellshock, "Oh my starry eyed surprise / Sundown to sunrise / Dance all night / We're gonna dance all night / Dance all night to this DJ." The audience endlessly bobbed and weaved to every electronic loop, drum beat and guitar strum offered throughout the night.

Oakenfold's current tour of the United States is scheduled to end on Dec. 21 at the Wiltern in L.A. For more information on Paul Oakenfold, or this tour, visit www.pauloakenfold.com.

Paul Oakenfold Photo: Randy J. Klodz