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Review: David Garrett "VALENTINES CLASSICS" EP and ICONIC Tour


Imagine a world where indulging in our guilty pleasures doesn't summon guilt, and enjoying something less refined doesn't provoke judgmental looks from the so-called cultural police. In the landscape of my mind, culpability isn't associated with the usual culprits like forbidden treats, banned books, or taboo love affairs. Indeed, I find amusement in defying those quick to judge matters of guilt, desire, or affection. However, my musical preferences continue to be a subject of considerable personal reflection. Such internal debate recently took center stage at a violin concert I attended—a performance that left me basking in both nostalgia and joy.


David Garrett came in like a "Wrecking Ball," electrifying the audience with music from Mozart to Metallica that put "Rock Me Amadeus" to shame, breaking down the walls of classical music etiquette.

It was September 29th at the Auckland Town Hall, and I was attending a performance of the ICONIC world tour. One of my favourite violinists of all time was in the spotlight. David Garrett came in like a "Wrecking Ball," electrifying the audience with music from Mozart to Metallica that put "Rock Me Amadeus" to shame, breaking down the walls of classical music etiquette. The atmosphere crackled with anticipation as David, accompanied by fellow musical mischief-makers Franck van der Heijden on guitar and Rogier van Wegberg on bass, launched into a whirlwind of catchy tunes. For me, it was a guilty pleasure extravaganza to recall my childhood dreams in which I imagined myself as the next David Garrett, boldly fusing pop with classical music while my violin teachers shook their heads in disapproval.


While Nigel Kennedy, Vanessa Mae, and Bond may have become less prominent, David Garrett remains an international artist who boldly bridges the gap between classical music and the mainstream vibes. He once paved the way for Lindsey Stirling, The Piano Guys, and even TwoSet Violin to emerge. There was a time when performing classical music in any way resembling mainstream culture was considered sacrilege. David isn't just an violinist; he's a master of blending classical tradition with the pulsating rhythms of rock. For that reason, seeing him at the Auckland Town Hall was truly moving. The nostalgia of the show brought tears of joy to my eyes and reminded me of the need to forget the old rules of classical concerts. It was amazing to see everyone, young and old, loving the music and enjoying themselves. Unlike traditional classical concerts, where clapping between pieces is forbidden, in this performance, clapping, photographs, and chat were not only allowed, but they were also encouraged. Laughter filled the air, and fun was the only agenda. Amid the euphoria, some fans let their enthusiasm run wild, transforming the atmosphere from a cool performance into something more akin to a raucous rock show. But can you blame us? When the music is this good, Ray Chan fans will agree that it's hard not to get carried away.


Unlike traditional classical concerts, where clapping between pieces is forbidden, in this performance, clapping, photographs, and chat were not only allowed, but they were also encouraged.

At this concert, not a single pair of underwear was thrown at him (surprisingly!), but in between tunes, he graciously answered questions from the audience. During one of these charming questions, he gave us a glimpse into his life beyond music. One lady, who felt very close to Garrett, dared to ask him about his marital status. Our beloved 40-year-old virtuoso, blushing like a shy teenager, revealed a side of him we hadn't seen before: a charming German bachelor. Many of us had assumed he was married or enjoying some romantic entanglement. However, with typical German formality (and a touch of modesty), he confessed that he was single and looking for that special someone. Imagine our collective surprise when, just a few months later, in Valentine's week no less, our musical crush released an EP entitled VALENTINES CLASSICS.


 

VALENTINES CLASSICS - EP

David Garrett's VALENTINES CLASSICS EP, released in February 2024, is a compilation of his most charming covers that spans from Miley Cyrus to Guns N' Roses, with an unusual sprinkle of the fiery Vivaldi's "Summer"– a peculiar mix for this Valentine's Day gift to fans. But, well, maybe that's just Garrett's special flair. He may speak sweetly in public, but behind closed doors, he is a whirlwind of stormy passion that only Vivaldi and the heavens above can fully comprehend! The EP really captivated me with its mix of covers, including recent hits and romantic gems.



Each track has been carefully chosen to evoke a very special Valentine's Day feeling, plus a little bit of fun, making it a perfect listen for lovers (or anyone looking for reimagined twists of elegance on these timeless hits). But I mean... can you imagine David doing the "Wrecking Ball" swing in true Miley style? Surely that would be a sight to behold... oh yes. Of course, such far-fetched fantasies will only be guests in the realm of the imagination and will never materialise into a sexy flying object. In all seriousness, the EP spans a broader spectrum of musical generations, with songs like Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine", as well as the more recent "Thinking Out Loud", popularised by Ed Sheeran. Each version of these songs was reimagined with a passionate orchestral twist. With six tracks in total, including "Fix You" and "November Rain", VALENTINES CLASSICS is a sweet and heartfelt musical letter for his fans.


It's a pity that it probably won't be released on vinyl, CD, or any physical format. And the marketing of VALENTINES CLASSICS–or lack thereof–was also very interesting to me. It was announced through a single Facebook post by David Garrett himself. This marketing method is noticeably more personal and direct, perhaps aimed specifically at capturing Garrett's most loyal fans. The strategy is also a departure from the promotional tactics used for his previous rock albums, such as Rock Revolution, Rock Symphonies, or Explosive. It's one for the die-hard fans, honey!


 

David Garrett Trio ICONIC Tour 2024

The ICONIC Tour has already been hailed as an extraordinary success, with 77 concerts in 23 countries demonstrating Garrett's ability to captivate audiences around the world. For many of us, this tour is not just concerts; it is also a heartfelt tribute to the legends who shaped the artistic vision of many violinists–those old-time violinists my teachers wanted me to love so much. The concert offers an evocative journey back to a time when these virtuosos captivated audiences with their talent as much as pop artists do today. The tour also follows the release of the ICONIC album by Deutsche Grammophon, which pays homage to the legendary violinists who were considered to be a Beyoncé or Shawn Mendes of their time.



This tour is still ongoing. Garrett just performed in Sicily, and he even has my native Mexico as the next stop in May. So, classical and rock fans can become violin aficionados for this event. The ICONIC World Tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, combining impeccable musicianship and a historical tour with a modern twist. Visit this website to see where the next concerts will take place.


 

Attending David Garrett's ICONIC concert in Auckland made me reflect on my own journey from scepticism to fulfilment in music. Far from being just a path of sacrifice, music has enriched my life. The tour stands out as a show like no other, a testament to David Garrett's extraordinary talent that rises above anything his critics might say.


The VALENTINES CLASSICS EP may seem modest when placed alongside the vibrant and ongoing contributions of other celebrities in popular music. However, for me, there is a poetic charm in releasing such a compilation in February, offering an intimate insight into the artist's fandom. This EP holds a special place in my heart, as it takes me back to my days of uncertainty about music, when I feared that choosing the violin would condemn me to a life of hardship, forcing me to give up relationships, food, and family for my craft. How wrong I was...


Thanks to artists like David Garrett and his contemporaries, who boldly blended the melodies of the past with the moods of today, this type of music is not just a possibility, but it is an irresistible career.


Photo by Kurt Payne. Thank you for joining me, my mate.

Thanks to the violin and music, I've traveled the world, performed on prestigious stages, and made many friends. Music has blessed me with some of the most memorable times and relationships of my life. To my father, who worried about my future in music, look where this path has led me. I'm profoundly grateful to artists like David Garrett, who've inspired me to wholeheartedly embrace the violin in all its forms. This journey has been filled with challenges, joys, and plenty of food. Here's to the art that shapes us and the unexpected journeys it takes us on.


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