Fatboy Slim reflects on ‘historic’ Brighton Beach concert 20 years ago

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Fatboy Slim has said it feels like his free Brighton Beach concert in 2002 was a “historic” moment as he celebrates its 20th anniversary with the release of a special box set.

The DJ, real name Norman Cook, hosted the Big Beach Boutique party for more than 250,000 people 20 years ago, with some labelling it the “biggest event the UK has ever seen”.

To mark the occasion, he has announced the upcoming release of a box set called Right Here, Right Then which includes multiple recordings of the original Brighton set.

Reflecting on the 2002 concert, Cook said: “There’s no event like that that has ever happened before or since. Living in Brighton, there’s still echoes of it across the city.

“The city will never forget what happened that night and it just felt like it was a gathering of all the tribes.”

He continued: “The thing I really realised most was how beautifully behaved everyone was because you look at how overwhelmed we were in the numbers, if anything had gone wrong, if there had been any fighting, mobbing or panic, if any one thing had gone wrong we would have been in a lot of trouble. But everyone existed beautifully.

“The locals of Brighton let people sleep on their floors, fed people and clothed them and it was kind of a Woodstock moment where it was like all hands on deck.

“It feels suitably historic. Now that it’s 20 years old, it feels historic.”

The musician noted he was “too stressed” about crowd safety to fully enjoy the experience at the time but said that he can now look back and remember the moment fondly.

He added: “I can look back at the footage, remember the tunes, that sunset, my home seafront looking like a carnival in Brazil, so many beautiful people having the time of their lives, I have never seen such joyous madness, such good-natured abandon.”

The anniversary box set will pay homage to the event with recordings of the set as well as a new DJ mix, a DVD of the original concert, a 48-page book with photos and a foreword by the musician.

Oxegen Festival 2010 – Ireland
Fatboy Slim (Niall Carson/PA)

Cook described the upcoming album as “half nostalgia and half the present day”.

He explained: “It’s the set I played 20 years ago, and the set I played 10 years ago if you buy the deluxe edition.

“Plus a new set… it’s trying to evoke the same feelings with different tunes but you can use it as an interesting comparison.

“Now in the digital age it’s much easier to mix more. In those days, everything had to be mixed by hand. Now, we’ve got more weapons at our disposal.”

Cook shot to fame as Fatboy Slim in 1996 with the release of the album Better Living Through Chemistry and his other hits include his 1999 single Right Here, Right Now and Praise You.

The upcoming anniversary box set, Right Here, Right Then, will be released on September 2 on BMG.

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