The Auckland Festival AK07 started last night with a grand and truly spectacular pyrotechnics event from the French Groupe F, who not so much created a lot of bangs in their fireworks but rather subtle visual atmospherics with a subdued white and gold colour palette in their hurls, gas flames and walking fire sculptures. All with a magnificent sound track, partly played live.
The venue in the city's Domain park was very well chosen, with the natural volcanic amphitheatre landscape of the area giving excellent support to the sometimes violently eruptive displays.
It certainly reminded me of Archaos, a "heavy metal circus", which did similar contemporary updates of the circus cliche. Groupe F update the same-old same-old fireworks displays, the usual colourful big banger stuff trotted out on any occasion.
The beautiful thing about it too was that it was a pure performance where you had to be present. It can't be packaged, commodified and marketed as a product because there is simply nothing to buy - apart from the soundtrack but that's as useless as buying a film soundtrack to get a total film experience. It can't either be put on video because no matter how big your plasma TV is, it just can't cover the grandeur.
Extremely highly recommended if they are ever in your area, and best of all, it's free.