There’s nothing wrong with the Serb and his Gypsies being in party mode. It’s just that the new material is a little uneven, ranging from the pedestrian Mazel Tov to the irrepressible groove of Baila Leila, with its blistering question-and-answer dialogue between the five horns and the wailing singing of Muharem Redzepi.
Another regret was that the use of samples has increased again, so Redzepi spent less time playing percussion, and perhaps the on-stage energy was slightly compromised by the players responding to automated drumming, for instance, rather than a flesh-and-blood participant. Then again, that didn’t hold Kalashnikov back.
Many of the old favourites were wheeled out, including a rousing Bella Ciao. But contrast is vital, and leavening the concert were the gorgeous Tango of the Soul, performed just by Redzepi, Stojan Dimov (clarinet) and Bregovic (whose guitar made a rare appearance in the foreground), and later the beguiling In the Death Car.
Now here’s a plan: what if the next time Bregovic comes, he and his band collaborate with one of our orchestras?