Space Ibiza closing 2016

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  • Anyone working at Sunday night's closing party at Space, whether press, crew, staff or artists, made their way into the club via a side entrance. The scene you walked into is what I imagine a Hollywood studio to look like: dozens of people scurrying around in various states of stress, some hauling trolleys stacked with ice, others struggling under the weight of electrical equipment. They darted between small groups of good-looking Europeans, who stood about smoking and chatting, most of them dressed in black. Looming over the scene was a gigantic open-air stage, Flight Area, built in partnership with Ultra Music Festival. The sound of booming beats was deafening. As long as I've been visiting Ibiza, Space's opening and closing parties have been the island's largest events in terms of crowd numbers, DJs and production, more of a festival than a club night. Sunday's 20-hour marathon, the club's swansong after 27 years of operation, felt like the biggest yet, featuring more than a 100 DJs from Space's storied past. When I arrived, around 8:30 PM, the place was busy, though unlike previous years, all five rooms (plus Flight Area) were open from the start, which meant that nowhere was too packed. I made a beeline for the Sunset Terrace—videos circulating on social media indicated that this was where the action was—and entered to the one-two punch of The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" and Kings Of Tomorrow's "Finally." The latter is a favourite of mine; I'd barely been in the club ten minutes and already I was singing my heart out. The hits rolled on from there. I'd wager that across the entire party, every second or third tune was a club classic. Anywhere else, that ratio would be overindulgent, but at Space, where a lot of these tracks were popularised, it felt right. A large portion of these were played in the Sunset Terrace, where the DJs, most of them long-standing Space residents or affiliates, tried to cram as much as possible into their 30- or 45-minute sets. Daniel Klein, a DJ I'd not heard of, rocked the room with Plastikman's "Spastik," Daft Punk's "Da Funk" and Armand Van Helden's "The Funk Phenomenon," while UK duo Blackhall & Bookless mixed lesser-known groovy house cuts into Mood II Swing's "Ohh" and Pete Heller's "Big Love." Alex P & Brandon Block, who together helped launch the world-famous Space Terrace in the early '90s, rescued their set of dodgy mash-ups and modern house (David Zowie's "House Every Weekend") with Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam's "Let The Beat Hit 'Em (Part 2),” one of my favourite selections of the closing. In between mixes, Block danced on the decks and gestured passionately to the floor, while his partner incessantly ran his hands through his hair, seemingly overwhelmed by it all.
    You can understand Alex P's reaction because the atmosphere was like nothing I'd ever felt before in Ibiza. The Sunset Terrace was built in 2007 to replicate the vibe of the old Space Terrace, which, due to new sound laws, had to have a roof put on it. It was a symbolic move as much as anything: the same sound laws applied outside, meaning that the music had be turned down after a certain point. Whenever I've visited Space, the Sunset Terrace has been more of a warm-up and chill-out area; if there is music, it's usually playing at a comically low volume by the time most people have arrived. For whatever reason, those sound restrictions didn't apply on Sunday and Monday, and the Sunset Terrace was transformed. It fit my image of the old Space Terrace: colourful characters of all ages spread across a breezy, sprawling dance floor with various gradients, responding to every new track or drop with screams and a wave of flailing arms. The vibe was loose and insanely feel-good. I saw punters collecting glasses for the cleaning staff in exchange for selfies, while Space die-hards scribbled farewell love notes on the front of the booth. Around 9 AM, during my final stint in there, resident Paul Reynolds threw down jams like Lovebirds' "Want You In My Soul" and Joey Negro's remix of Christopher Cross's "Ride Like The Wind," while the warm morning sun mixed with the cool air from the giant fans. If the Sunset Terrace was a window into Space pre-2007, then Flight Area and the Discoteca represented what the club has become since then. The purpose of both arenas is to create stadium-sized dance floor moments that stick firmly in the mind, achieved via world-class production and sound. Darius Syrossian sculpted the first of many of these outside on Sunday evening, segueing seamlessly from Energy 52's "Cafe Del Mar" into Underworld's "Dark & Long." Later on the same stage, Tale Of Us finished with Robert Miles's "Children," which my gut initially told me was a cheesy move. But by the end I was onboard, won over by the stage's epic, fiery visuals of imploding planets. Watching on from a little paddock off to the side was Space owner Pepe Rosello, surrounded by a gaggle of grey-haired Ibicencos dressed up to the nines.
    At 2 AM, Flight Area's offering shrank considerably, meaning thousands of bodies flocked to the Discoteca. Thankfully, someone had made the smart decision not to ram the room with VIP tables. The atmosphere from 3 AM onwards was electric, as Space veterans Josh Wink and Sasha pummelled the floor with their strands of big room techno. For the final stretch, which lasted from 6 AM through midday, Carl Cox went back-to-back with Nic Fanciulli, mixing abruptly between oversized tech house bangers (Michel De Hey's "Basic Eggs," Tuff London's "Yes") and Space classics (Donna Summer's "I Feel Love," Underworld's "Two Months Off," David Morales's remix of Jamiroquai's "Space Cowboy"). You could see them scrolling through their Traktor playlists, seeking each other's advice on which tracks deserved their place in history. They finished with a 4/4 remix of Angie Stone's "Wish I Didn't Miss You"—undoubtedly a great song, but it might've been more special if they'd chosen a track Cox hadn't played outside earlier in the night. But by that point it was about more than the music. I have to admit I've found Space difficult to love over the years: as impressive as it is, it's always felt too professional, too clinical, too much of a well-oiled machine. The closing, though, was wilder and more euphoric than most parties I've been to in Ibiza, and everyone I spoke to said the same. It was a fitting send off for a club that has meant so much to so many over the years, one that's shaped the careers of countless artists and promoters. During those final moments in the Discoteca, as thousands danced in a tornado of lasers and CO2 spray, something Cox had said earlier suddenly shot into focus. "Ibiza will never be the same again, you know it." Photo credit / Tatiana Chausovsky