On 5 February 2015, Fedde Le Grand, working with Sjoerd van Schooten, RTL’s Director of Live Entertainment, became the first dance music act to play at the Royal Theatre Carré, Amsterdam, as it opened its doors to a capacity crowd of 1,200. With live vocalists, moving stages, projection mapping and audio-visual effects tuned to three hours of Fedde’s latest tracks, GRAND was realised after months of planning.
Speaking on the opening night about the concept, van Schooten said:
“Royal Theatre Carré is an institution for Dutch people, but I’ve always wanted to push the boundaries of what the space can achieve. We are a city here in Amsterdam that has a deep love of our antiquity, but we are also the leading territory in dance music. When discussing our ideas and plans with Fedde it was like a moment of clarity that this was the special place we were waiting for. I’m so pleased to see it come together right here.”
This synthesis of the old and the new, the meeting of two worlds was the inherent motivation for Fedde from the start. Without having reverence for the venue however, this could not happen. He adds:
“I think lots of people were quite sceptical about what Grand was at the start. ‘Dance music at a place where I watch plays?’ ‘You’ve got to be joking!’ Even I wasn’t sure it could become a reality. As we planned and things were added on I began to see the way in which we could create a truly dramatic live dance event that people of all ages and cultures could enjoy.”
The thirty-strong Dutch Show ballet, live trapeze acts and a legion of break-dancers were called upon to provide the extra special spectacle of the concert. Guest performances from Niels Geusebroek, Julian Perretta, Denny White, Marcel Veenendaal of DI-RECT and Jonathan Mendelsohn completed the live element of the performance. All compiled by French designer and choreographer Marc Forno, he spoke after the opening night about the process:
“I am very used to putting a show together quickly, but GRAND was a whole different experience. My background is in theatre; I knew nothing of dance music! Although after my meetings with Fedde it all started to make sense. I could see how the music was as emotive and as consuming as a production so the costumes, the dances and how we were going to interact the old venue with the new records all made sense.”
With this initial six date and sold out run completed, Fedde plans to take the concept on tour.