In New York to visit my friend, E, to celebrate his birthday. I’ve known E since 2004 when he moved to California to become a winemaker. The stars weren’t aligned for this to happen, so he returned to NY, and now I head east to see him whenever I can.
On this trip, I rendezvoused with M&M. MC, who is always in the know of a good party, hooked up a good one in Brooklyn, called I Feel Love. When MC first texted the link to me, the first thoughts that came to my mind were the Donna Summer song, my dad and that it happened to be on my L’amour fou playlist. I don’t believe in coincidence, so I took this to be a sign of good fortune.
It turned out I was right. When I had a moment to click on the link, my mouth dropped. Giorgio Moroder, the king of disco, was playing in Brooklyn.
My dad listened to disco, so I grew up on ABBA and yes, Donna Summer. An audiophile, the one thing my dad allowed himself to splurge on were his stereo systems. Growing up, he had speakers that were taller than me. I remember him so clearly flipping through albums, playing records and taking requests from us kids. My top two choices were ABBA and Alvin and the Chipmunks.
My love for music, especially dance music, I owe to my dad.
He gave me two of his turntables, so I could play the vinyl that I’ve hung onto since I could afford to buy my first record. He loved these turntables so much he would tell us not to play with them, because he was afraid my brother and/or his friends would use them for scratching. At the time, the Beastie Boys and Run DMC were all the rage, balanced out by freestyle and New Wave.
Because I was born into disco, I preferred new wave: New Order, Depeche Mode, and the not so dance sounds of The Smiths, The Cure, and a bit of an obscure band from Manchester called The Chameleons. I obviously wasn’t going to scratch, so as soon as I could figure out how to get his system going by turning various knobs on the console until sound came out, I listened to my records over and over in secret whenever I could.
Thus, the opportunity to see Giorgio Moroder live while I happened to be in New York on the day I chiseled out to be in Brooklyn was indeed beyond coincidence.
Fashioned appropriately for the disco, M&M and I made our way to Brooklyn on Lyft. The ride was a bit long, because traffic was everywhere. With Giorgio hitting the stage at 11:30 p.m., it was a little unnerving, but I figured we’d get there when we got there, because it was beyond our control at this point. Why worry.
We made it. And as we waited in line at will-call to get our tickets, I knew we were in for an unforgettable evening when I saw two partygoers decked out in body suits, one with disco pants (the other without pants whatsoever). I don’t mean those cheesy Halloween costumes that people think people wore to the disco. I mean slim, shiny, smooth, slippery things, like the ones Olivia Newton-John wore in Grease when she finally went good-girl-gone-bad pants.
The night did not disappoint. Giorgio Moroder hit all the classics from Blondie’s “Call Me” to Irene Cara’s “What a Feeling” and Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away”, which I didn’t even know he produced. For me, it was all about Donna. He did them all. “On the Radio”, “Hot Stuff”, “Bad Girls”, ending his set with my favorite, “I Feel Love”.
Giorgio Moroder, at 76, is a timeless classic, whose disco soul transcends his physical age. For those of you who don’t think you know who he is, you might be surprised to know he has worked with acts such as David Bowie and Blondie, among others, and the song “Giorgio by Moroder”, by Daft Punk is…well, about and influenced by him.
While I danced the night away, I felt my father with me. He has given me so many gifts– the gift of music, the gift of travel (I fell in love with France on my first trip to Europe with him), the gift of freedom (he bought me my first car), and the gift of shelter (he helped me buy my first home). However, nothing has been more precious than the gift of his unconditional love.