Saturday 10 December 2016

Review: Jenny Greene and RTE Concert Orchestra cut the gloom with joyous panache - exactly when we need it

Jenny Greene and the RTE Concert Orchestra, 3Arena

Stephen Byrne

Published 14/11/2016 | 10:09

RTE DJ Jenny Green pictured with RTE Concert Orchestra conductor Gavin Murphy in the Three arena before performing last night. Picture: Gerry Mooney
RTE DJ Jenny Green pictured with RTE Concert Orchestra conductor Gavin Murphy in the Three arena before performing last night. Picture: Gerry Mooney
RTE 2fm DJ Jenny Greene at rehearsals with members of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra ahead of their joint gig at Dublin's 3Arena on November 13.

A funny thing happened when people returned home from the annual pilgrimage to Electric Picnic. An unexpected name kept cropping up in conversations, alongside LCD Soundsystem, New Order, and Lana Del Ray regarding highlights of the festival. That name was Jenny Greene and before long the number of people who claimed to have attended her show at the Rankin’s Wood stage, exceeded the capacity by thousands.

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The performance saw 2FM DJ Greene, collaborating with the RTE Concert Orchestra to re-imagine dancefloor classics such as Snap’s Rhythm is a Dancer, Such was the buzz, a repeat performance was inevitable.

On Sunday night's 3Arena show, Greene cues the beats throughout, but her real role is curating the set-list and facilitating the merger of two disparate musical genres.

The orchestra spends the lion’s share of the evening out of its comfort zone, performing an eclectic array of material from Everything But the Girl, Faithless, and SPQR with aplomb at all times. Orchestras are rarely lauded for their percussionists, but they played a pivotal role throughout this performance. 

Perhaps it’s no coincidence then that the orchestra shines brightest with the material in and around its wheelhouse, Robert Miles’ Children, and the night’s highlight, an imperious rendition of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings.

That said, the hardest job of the evening falls to singer Gemma Sugrue. The sole vocalist, she is tasked with anchoring the rearrangements of iconic songs with distinctive, beloved vocal performances such as Massive Attack’s Unfinished Sympathy, a role which she handled expertly.

In a week when we lost Leonard Cohen and America elected a fascist 'Oompa Loompa' president, Jenny Greene and the RTE Concert Orchestra cut the gloom with joyous panache, exactly when we need it.

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