Information Highway Star
In which a packed New Year’s Eve schedule poses no problem for vibemeister– so long as he has an Internet connection
THE INTERNET IS a wonderful resource. As I write this I’m sitting on the beach in Phuket at the breathtakingly beautiful Amanpuri, having just finished the final edit of the music for a new promotional video for the Gucci Group. My requirements? One laptop with the necessary software, a pair of headphones lest I disturb my neighbouring sun worshippers, and an Internet connection. Lo and behold, the mix is now done and delivered within minutes of completion, and the beauty of it is that I never even had to leave my sun bed.
You may at this point be wondering what has brought me to this paradisiacal location and why I’ve chosen this particular spot to complete the task at hand. Well, truth be told, I didn’t choose it; rather, it chose me. I’ve been given the enviable opportunity to combine business with the most blissful pleasure – I’ve come here on official duty to perform for two events at this legendary location. The first of these was the annual pre-New Year party for the Aman group owners, the Zechas. Their son Ajai is a dear friend, whose unforgettable wedding to his beautiful bride, Michelle Saram, I had the honour of playing at two summers ago in Sri Lanka. My second engagement was the main event itself, the New Year’s Eve party.
The Zechas’ party was held at their stunning villa in the hotel. As guests walked in they were treated to a sumptuous buffet, traditional Thai music and a mesmerising dance performance. Once they’d had a chance to sample the delicious local cuisine and knock back a drink or two, I took to the decks and began to coax partygoers to the impressive dance floor and stage that had been built in the garden.
As I upped the tempo, guests were lured from the buffet for a dazzling cabaret show by Russian dancers who put on a raunchy and risqué performance, much to the crowd’s delight. Soon the floor was packed and the party was in full swing. I kept the energy levels high until we wound the bash up at a relatively respectable hour to ensure that all present remained fully charged for New Year’s Eve.
I had two days to relax before my next show, so I kicked back and took time to catch up with the many friends from Hong Kong, Europe and the US who had flown into Phuket to spend this magical time of year together. In between, I squeezed in a few highly relaxing massages and a trip to the hotel’s incredible spa for a full service and Certificate of Roadworthiness before my main performance.
There can be few places as tranquil as Amanpuri – its setting really is second to none. As you walk through the grounds, it’s impossible not to marvel at the impressive villas that blend perfectly into the surrounding landscape. The sand on the beach is as soft and white as any sand can be, and the temperature of the crystal-clear blue water is never anything less than perfect. Every night you’re blessed with the most magnificent sunsets as the warm tropical night closes in. It’s hard to feel anything but inspired in such a fabulous location, and as the big night came around I couldn’t wait to get started.
Before midnight I’d been invited to join the Zechas for New Year’s Eve dinner around the main pool, which had been immaculately dressed for the evening with jaw-dropping displays of hanging flowers. A lavish buffet was laid out as guests awaited the legendary midnight fireworks display. More partygoers arrived as we neared zero hour, and by the time the clock struck 12 everybody had congregated around the steps, where they were thrilled by the most spectacular pyrotechnic show.
This was my cue to open the dance floor that had been erected down beside the beach. I had a concert-sized sound system in place and a DJ booth built way above the floor, giving me a bird’s eye view of the proceedings. I couldn’t have hoped for more perfect tools and surroundings to lay down some of my musical arsenal. As I kicked in with the first song, there was an influx of guests down the stairs, and in no time the dance floor was filled and rocking away. For the rest of the night I played a succession of remixes and mash-ups of recognisable crowd-pleasers, which ensured that the space stayed filled until we wound up in the early hours of 2012.
I’m now left with two days before heading home. And thanks to the wonders of technology, I can combine these idyllic surroundings with my professional duties too. What a fantastic start to the year!