Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo: Rap, Rocky Horror and Robbie Williams anthems brought in for Edinburgh Tattoo revamp

Rap, rave, Rocky Horror and Robbie Williams are set to rock Edinburgh Castle like never before over the next three weeks after being brought in as part of a dramatic revolution of the Tattoo.

Friday, 5th August 2022, 10:07 am

A capacity crowd of 8800 packed into the castle esplanade arena for the first performance of the event for three years were treated to renditions of the Williams it Let Me Entertain You, Rocky Horror crowd-pleaser Time Warp and and Rather Be, Clean Bandit’s hit with Jess Glynne.Versions of The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army anthem, Dua Lipa’s hit Don’t Start Now and the Tom Jones classic Delilah were also unveiled at the official curtain-raiser for the event, which has been revamped by the Tattoo’s first creative director, New Zealander Michael Braithwaite.

Traditional elements such as the massed pipes and drums, the lone piper and Scotland the Brave were combined with spectacular sequences set to Gaelic and Hebridean anthems, with tracks by the late Celtic musician Martyn Bennett and festival favourites Skipinnish taking centre stage in the finale of the 90-minute show, Voices, which features a tribute to Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy

New special effects transformed the historic fortress and the esplanade for a Day of the Dead sequence by Mexican performers, a nightclub-style “electro pipes” set complete with a DJ, fire and lasers, Highland dancing displays and dazzling precision drumming.

Members of the US Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team perform on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle at this year's Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

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    Mr Braithwaite said: “This year’s show offers an exhilarating array of tradition and innovation.

    "From the breathtaking power of the massed pipes and drums, and our military performers, the colour and spectacle of our cultural groups, to the excitement and energy of our singers and dancers, Voices is both the Tattoo you know and love, and a bold new step into the future.

    "Putting together a production on this scale is a huge task at the best of times. In this time of global pandemic the challenge has been 10-fold.

    "Despite this I have been struck by the ability of people throughout the world to remain connected in a time of enforced separation.

    Light projections on Edinburgh Castle during the finale at this year's Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

    "Voices is a celebration of the human power of connection. With music, song, dance, images, sound and light, these voices have reached out across the globe.”

    Tattoo chief executive Buster Howes said: “This is an enormously exciting moment for us – it’s dreamlike because it has been imagined for so long.

    "I was swallowing hard during rehearsals the first time the massed pipe and drums cranked up.

    "We’ve fiddled with a sacred artefact. The Tattoo has a lineage of 72 years, it was raised with the other festivals under the flowering of the human spirit after the degradations of the Second World War. Coming out of Covid, there is a sort of similar feel as we live in dark and difficult times.

    The Day of the Dead from Banda Monumental De Mexico during this year's Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

    "We’ve not fiddled with the wonderful things about the Tattoo, like the massed pipes and drums. It would be more than my life’s worth.“But we play some tunes, literally and metaphorically, on other things, there are rappers in the cast and there are things like electro pipes, which I suspect some people will hate, but other people will like them too.

    "There is no commentator this year as we were keen to see if the music, light, dance and all the rest of it could speak for itself.”

    An image of Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy was projected onto Edinburgh Castle during the finale of this year's Tattoo. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
    The Highland Divas perform on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle at this year's Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
    Performers from Mexico, the United States, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and across the UK are starring in this year's Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
    The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is running until 27 August.
    The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is running until 27 August.
    The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is running until 27 August.