And so the smiles begin, as soon as we touchdown and step out onto that notorious Balearic soil (well concrete actually, because no-one really steps out onto soil these days), and it feels like home. Hello motherland. We’re embarking on the annual end of season pleasure trip to our favourite hedonistic destination to celebrate life, standard. And we’re safe in the knowledge that the soundtrack will be vast, inspiring and provide us with fuel for the months ahead.
As another huge year for Space comes to a close we simply can’t wait to get stuck in. The crew for the expedition is made up of seasoned Ibiza goers and one first timer — which always makes for a good combination, because showing off the island and watching the reaction of Ibiza virgins is a joy in itself.
We’re bundled into an all-inclusive hotel on Playa D’en Bossa, situated in stagger distance from Space and close enough to not have to shell out a fortune on taxis to villas or fancy pants hotels. A cultured, lazy Sunday is spent having lunch and soaking up Ibiza Town, ducking from seasonal showers and bracing ourselves for the night ahead. Ibiza means many things to many people and for this particular journalist it’s all about mixing up the experience of wild abandon and sonic indulgence with the hypnotic beauty of this enchanting island.
Standing outside the iconic Space sign, we gaze up through fresh eyes and take a minute to soak up the experience (again), along with pretty much everyone else. We snap some pics to preserve the moment. After all, once you’re a fan, you’re always a fan. In its twenty or so years the seminal club has wooed and wowed us. It’s famously morphed and cleverly evolved from being an outdoor, camo-clad finca-esque venue, to a multi area site, with an immense arena for some of the most respected DJs the world has to offer. Tonight, the enormous outside space with its impressive stadium, affectionately known as the car park, is all about the likes of Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin and Paco Osuna.
We nuzzle into the cosy red room and Blackhall & Bookless proceed to warm it up nicely alongside Ibiza resident Paul Reynolds, who moved to the White Isle over five years ago — all kicking off with refreshingly funked up sets.
It is possible to stand alone in one place and experience Space, watching the world go by; soaking up the amazing soundsystems, meeting new people, connecting knowing smiles across the dancefloor, and randomly bumping into old friends. But the urge to chase down the immense line-up is strong, and so begins a mission to consume as much of it as possible.
Excitement is bubbling and we’re gearing up and pacing ourselves, revving up for the Cox set, one of two that he’ll perform tonight. Premier Etage is always one of the best places to start — the DJ Mag crew often gravitate here at the beginning of the night — with Balearic stalwart Jonathan Ulysses rocking a classic house session to a packed room of friends and fans. A resident for 16 seasons, Space clearly holds a special place in his heart.
“The owner and director have kept their faith in me for so many years,” he later tells us. “The club has always been forward-thinking and they’re always expanding locally and globally.” He smashes it with tasty mixes of anthems like ‘Good Life’, ‘Flashdance’, ‘House Music’, ‘Generation X’ and ‘Sun Rising Up’. It’s tune-o-rama time and we join his crowd in its Sunday thanksgiving.
Right then, the disco muscles are now fully flexed and we’re ready to head outside. It’s beyond heaving and it’s completely beautiful at the same time. Slipping through the rammed Sunset Terrace, fully in the throes of something that resembles a bite-size dance showcase, we head deep into the throng, gliding and hustling our way to just about as near to the front as we’re likely to get. A clever loop of black and white photographs peels across the main stage and lasers start to pop into view — it’s a visual art attack. From out of nowhere we spy a sea of twinkling light thanks to the sparklers being given out and all seemingly being lit at the same time; we giggle like a bunch of kids because it’s so pretty.
And then the smoke and confetti guns go kapow to Carl Cox’s basslines. In the soundscape that follows he mixes up the summer’s ‘Finder’ anthem with an old school original steel drum track, and the crowd go crazy. It’s all part of the perfect finale to our summer.
Later we catch Nina Kraviz blasting a techno-fuelled and acid-fantastic set in the main room on the back of Nicole Moudaber, Josh Wink and Guti unleashing equally killer techness. Bumping into Nicole she tells us “It all began at Space for me when Carl invited me to play for the first time, and being part of this special moment is quite intense and magical”. And before we know it the night is turning to day and it’s round two on the Terrace with Cox conducting the room again, this time back-to-back with Nic Fanciulli. Eyes down for the ‘all sit down in the breakdown and then all jump up when the music hits’ routine. It’s all so respectful that we’re a bit choked up. And so was Carl Cox. “This has to go down as one of the finest moments in Space Terrace history. I even had a little tear in my eye after playing Joe Smooth’s ‘Promised Land’.” The summer might be over but we’re already hatching a plan to get out here next year. Same again please, with bells on!