On 13 July 2002, DJ Fatboy Slim hosted the now infamous Big Beach Boutique II, a free concert on Brighton Beach. 60,000 were expected to attend. Estimates on the final number were over 250,000. This unexpectedly huge audience meant the local authorities were severely underprepared, which led to a great number of incidents including two deaths, over 170 injuries, and six arrests.
A new documentary feature looks at the story that led up to the fateful concert, and its legacy that lives on to this day. “It has been wonderful with the fullness of time and some hindsight, to revisit such a seismic event in both mine and my hometown’s history,” says Fatboy Slim, AKA Norman Cook, on the doc. “Warts and all, the story told in full…. Watch, sleep, rave, repeat”.
Available now on digital, DVD, and Blu-ray from Dazzler Media, Right Here, Right Now is essential watching for music fans. The film is as much a biography of Norman Cook and his incredible rise to fame as the DJ who changed the music industry, as it is a love letter to the rave scene and those whose lives were changed by Fatboy Slim’s music. Here is a film full of love for a bygone era – familiar faces including Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, John Simm, and more crop up throughout to share their fond memories of the era.
But perhaps uniquely for a celebratory documentary of this nature, contrasting interviews with Brighton police and councillors talking about the futile preparation for this colossal concert and the enduring effects of the gig offer the darker side of the story. The gig was utter chaos, resulting in over 170 injuries and 2 deaths – and that side of the story mustn’t be forgotten. Some of the footage and testimony of how out-of-control things became is surprisingly frightening to see, even now. The final act of the film is incredibly sobering, as the aftermath of the concert is discussed in full and Norman Cook candidly speaks about how he feels “somewhat responsible” for those who lost their lives that night.
Right Here, Right Now is packed with incredible archive footage and – unsurprisingly – an absolute belter of a soundtrack. On a technical level this is a superbly put together documentary, with a pounding, kinetic energy fitting of its subject. The film’s brief 90 mins flies by, and tells the fascinating untold story behind one of the biggest and – for better or worse – most memorable concerts in UK history. The chronological retelling of the hours leading up to the gig starting are remarkably tense and compelling, while brief footage of Norman Cook’s process as he remixes All Saints’ Pure Shores is especially memorable.
“This isn’t The Beatles. It’s just a DJ.” one councillor is recounted having said, in response to concerns that the gig was going to be bigger than anyone expected. I don’t think even The Beatles could have put on a show like Fatboy Slim did on that fateful summer day in 2002.
This is an incredible story, expertly told. Essential viewing for Fatboy Slim fans and newcomers alike.
Dazzler Media presents Right Here, Right Now on Blu-ray, DVD and Download-to-Own NOW