Released on November 1, 2013, Last Vegas is a film starring Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Kevin Kline, and Morgan Freeman as a group of sexa and septu-generians throwing a bachelor party in Las Vegas for last remaining bachelor in the group. What makes the film hilarious is that wild nights in Las Vegas are typically connected to a much younger crowd these days, so the idea of these legendary actors engaging in fun typically had by kids 1/3 their age is a spectacle. Of course, when you consider that 73-year-old disco legend Giorgio Moroder recently revealed to Billboard that he is “talking to a hotel in [Las] Vegas [about] a disco-themed club show,” that he intends to possibly do “once or twice or three times a week,” then what was once a ridiculous premise for a film has become real life and we really need to stop and consider if this is the best possible way to monetize this producer’s legacy in the modern age. If not, then what can be done to ensure that we protect, preserve and enjoy the sound and style of Moroder, at this likely over-indulgent point in pop and dance’s creative dalliance?
It’s certainly not money that’s driving Moroder at this point. Royalties from his work with Donna Summer, as well as soundtracks for Scarface, Midnight Express, American Gigolo and Cat People alone would leave him with sizable paychecks for any given year, but it’s his work with Daft Punk on Random Access Memories‘ “Giorgio by Moroder” and more that have driven his resurrected massive earning potential. However, is putting Moroder in the booth (again) taking things too far?
The magic of Moroder’s first-ever DJ set for Red Bull Music Academy‘s massive New York takeover in March 2013 was that it was so completely unexpected. Yes, we were all aware that he was once again relevant. However, the idea that he was going to come down from the Mount Olympus of grooves and, as disco god-turned-man grace us with his physical presence, was amazing. Giorgio Moroder is the architect of modern dance music. In said role, there is a certain mystique that must be protected, a certain inaccessibility that he has earned. Seeing his name on a marquee, then driving another few blocks and seeing A-Trak‘s name on another marquee, then taking a few more steps to see Tiesto or Afrojack as well in many ways creates a bizarre commingling that makes a legend into a mere contemporary. In many ways that’s not okay, and ultimately disrespectful. But, for Giorgio, the drive to place himself in a contemporary context may come from a place that supersedes any potential level of disrespect.
Moroder himself reveals to Billboard that he too is amazed by his potentially increasing schedule. “The traveling I am already doing is quite demanding: Tokyo, Berlin, Paris. I am 73.” However, in contemplating how his own family considers his legacy, a huge piece in understanding the puzzling idea of Girogio rocking peak hour in Vegas. “Kids: They are not too easy to impress. Growing up, [my son] was heavy, heavy into Korn and Linkin Park, and I didn’t do too much in the last 20 years. But he loves the Dafts so much. For him, I grew in his esteem enormously.” It’s entirely possible that Moroder, upon seeing his esteem grow with his own progeny, is willing to take his renaissance a step further.
However, Moroder is still 73, and as much as DJ sets from him would be incredible, there are ways to make Moroder’s legacy far more timeless than a series of fleeting moments on a dance floor in Vegas. Moroder is fan of the rise of EDM: “It’s interesting to see [the rise of EDM].” He continues, “obviously the movement of the past five, six, seven years took a lot from “I Feel Love.” When I speak to David Guetta or Avicii or Tiësto, that’s the first thing they tell me. Then they tell me about soundtracks like Scarface. I don’t know how many samples they took from that.” As well, he says, “I was surprised when I first saw the movie Drive. I said, ‘Oh, God. It sounds great—I love it. Wow, this could be the soundtrack from American Gigolo or Cat People.” All that being said, it would be amazing if Red Bull, or say a Vegas mega-club like Hakkasan, were to invest in Moroder doing a series of YouTube tutorials on sound design and production.
Moroder in the booth is cool, but Moroder’s legacy influencing generations of DJs in perpetuity could be amazing. If Moroder is okay with playing his music live three nights a week, then someone, somewhere should consider the idea that given his advanced age, this is not a sustainable use of Girogio Moroder’s considerable talents. The idea that Giorgio Moroder YouTube videos could easily eventually rival the number of views of Psy’s “Gangnam Style” (which is currently at nearly two billion plays) isn’t crazy, it’s actually possible. The key to making Moroder ubiquitous forever is not to make him a Vegas act, but rather to give his legacy a digital reach and scope only possible with the aid of modern technology.
Prior to 2013, Giorgio Moroder’s time was spent playing golf in Italy, a legend of legends in deserved repose. Daft Punk paid him respect, and Red Bull found a way to allow for him to have an amazing moment. However, in our industry’s rush to over-commodify everything and get rich instead of dying trying, we’re forgetting that legacies deserve to be paid tribute instead of paychecks. Giorgio Moroder is 73-years-old and about to DJ in Vegas. That’s just not right. Suggestions have now been made as to what ideally should be done. With hope, these words will be paid heed, and change will be imminent.