SYNTHONY @ RAC Arena gets 9/10

Synthony No. 2
@ RAC Arena

Friday, June 17, 2022


Black out. Spotlight on a blonde woman wearing a white jacket and sneakers. Pulsing red lights pump to the sound of a heartbeat. The audience takes up the beat clapping as the musos enter. Stage suddenly awash with red as they pick up their…cello??

Welcome to Synthony No. 2 at RAC Arena-turned-nightclub – a night of dance and trance, performed by a 57-piece Perth Symphony Orchestra (PSO). Strings, percussion, brass – all rocking out to the beats of Avicii, Energy 52, Tiesto and more.

Cassie McIvor

It was amazing to hear how well the electronic music was reproduced by the instruments. Just the opening bars of Sandstorm by Darude played by strings gave everyone chills. The selection of dance music gave the orchestra an opportunity to spotlight particular instruments, such as the marimba played at super speed for Opus (Eric Prydz), while the trumpet section got its moment in Freaks, performed by its original artist Savage: “Ahh the mighty trumpet brings the freaks out to the floor.”

Chris Murphy

Bonus points to the producers for using the home grown Perth talent of PSO, Chris Murphy and Tom Greble, rather than shipping it all in. While the PSO talent would have been more than enough, the audience was treated to a suite of guest performances.

Two powerhouse singers, Cassie McIvor and Emily Williams had solo items, with highlights including Destination Calabria by Alex Gaudino, performed by Williams, as well as awesome high glitz costumes designed to play off the lights perfectly.

Emily Williams

Kiwi rapper Savage had a great cover of Tipsy by J-Kwon, and Perth guitarist Chris Murphy had the crowd screaming with Love Generation.

Next on strolled sexy sax soloist Tom Greble (Mr Im-So-Cool-I-Wear-Aviators-Inside-At-10pm), playing the saxophone like it was the last time he will ever play.


Conductor Sarah-Grace Williams deserves a huge round of applause. Spotlighted in bright white as she led her team, it was fun to watch her with her right hand steady with the baton, and her left hand ready for the dance floor.

The only minor criticism of the night was the stage cameras, switching between performers, never focused their lens on the instruments. It would have added so much to the experience to have a close up on the strings, keys or finger work of the PSO musicians.

Mobin Master

The production values were top notch, with lights, graphics and laser beams building atmosphere with every trick in the party playbook (Highlight: Right Here, Right Now by Fatboy Slim). Props also to DJ Mobin Master who got the crowd pumping beforehand with high quality music and crowd engagement.

Orchestras are constantly trying new things to appeal to a broader audience (think WASO/Harry Potter film hybrids), and Synthony is an outstanding example of an Orchestra-x-Other event. Synthony felt like two genres embracing each other, rather than being squashed together. It celebrated what each can bring to the table – the pulsing energy of dance music and the skills of the orchestra.

Not only successful cross-genre, but also cross-generation, Synthony had something for everyone. From the 20 year olds in front, to the 40ish couple beside us, to the 50-60 grey haired group on my right, and this 30 something reviewer in-between, it was an eclectic audience! Taking the opportunity to relive their clubbing days, everyone was on their feet and dancing from the first note to the final song (Daft Punk’s One More Time), proving you are never too old to party.

If you have friends in Adelaide, Sydney or Hobart, be a good mate and give them the heads up that the biggest music party is coming their way in 2022. For all the Perth readers, this was a one night only opportunity, so keep your fingers crossed it returns with Synthony No. 3 in 2023.


Photos by Linda Dunjey


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