Adding dance-rock originators Erasure and Duran Duran was a smart move for Ultra organizers. The performances should have bridged the psychic gap between old synth work and the newer acts on the live stage -- and anyways, who doesn't love some good '80s jams?
Well, thousands of Benny Benassi fans, apparently. The Italian DJ played an early-evening set to a sprawling field of party people who gleefully fist-pumped along to his set -- which even wandered through a long excursion into dubstep, including a womp-womp remix of his own hit, "Satisfaction."
As soon as he took off, though, so did nine-tenths of the crowd, leaving Erasure starting its 7:30 set to a few hundred hardcore fans. Well, so what? Everyone else missed out on a performance bursting with joie de vivre. It is physically impossible to feel anything but boundless appreciation for life as frontman Andy Bell twirls around the stage to programmer Vince Clarke's swelling disco-pop. (Proof comes in the fact that they made some clear converts out of the previously clueless audiences who had stuck around after Benassi.)
An Erasure festival set is not the all-out production of a regular Erasure show, so there was no glitter-throwing or costume or set changes here. But, there were backup singers dressed like rockabilly Minnie Mouse, and plenty of vogue-ing and jumping jack-style moves on Bell's part to make up for it. Plus, he still managed to sneak in some sequins on his Union Jack tank top.
There were also every single one of Erasure's hits you'd ever want to hear. It's still amazing to hear that Bell can still sing everything without any kind of modification, and live the songs sound as good as they do in their recorded versions.
Yes, it's a best-of act, but when the bests are so great, who cares? What's a girl in love supposed to do?