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Review: Amnesia Closing Party, 2013

The spirit's on the dance floor.

The Amnesia Closing Party is a distinctive one. For most people that live and work on the island and for those that have made the Ibiza pilgrimage many times before, it is a symbolic right of passage, a point of comparison for season's past and most importantly – an absolute peach of a party.

It began with a hot dog. There we were outside Amnesia at 8:30 in the morning, feeling fresh as a festering bin bag but eager and willing for a long day of rave (hence the tactical hot dog). In previous years Amnesia's Saturday party Matinée had held its 'cierre' until early Sunday morning, at which point the Amnesia Closing Party took over in the Terrace. This season, however, Amnesia closing ran all of Saturday night as well as Sunday, so I was actually only coming in half-way. From all reports the night slot absolutely went off, but one has to pick one's battles wisely and I think I chose the superior session.

Once the dog was down the hole and I felt the white bread and plastic sausage nutrients coursing through my veins we ventured inside. The Main Room was still a dark den of savage techno and my tender morning nerves panicked and ran for the tranquillity of the light filled Terrace (I use the term ‘tranquillity' loosely). Mar-T had just taken control and the music had the bounce I was looking for; I found a choice spot on the steps, got a little swing on and decided to watch ‘em til I was ready to join ‘em. Mar-T played a party set full of classics from the last season and many before it: a remix of Green Velvet's Bigger than Prince, Waff's Love and the ancient Velvet relic Lala Land (extra points if you remember all the words). The Amnesia Closing Party vibe began to spread throughout the room as ridiculous props leaked out from the booth onto the dance floor; toilet paper streamed to my left, wigs bounced to my right and bowler hats flew overhead.

Maceo Plex sunk it deep and dark when he took over mid morning, with moody tracks like Wehbba's Think Tank. His set was the standout - unsurprisingly as Plex has been blowing minds all season - and hearing blast-from-the-past Jaydee Plastic Dreams whilst I was in the toilet and hurdling over obstacles to make it back to the dance floor in time was a moment I won't be forgetting. He slipped into slow and sexy bass lines in his final half hour as Kavinsky's Nightcall (from the Drive soundtrack) robotically oozed its way through the room and later Ross Evan's Cinnamon sent us all into a happy trance as the sun peaked out from behind a cloud and all present applauded the timely moment.

An hour of Marc Antona followed which wasn't really tickling me, so I took it as intermission and went outside to socialise; I had brought a rainbow slinky with me so making friends was a piece of cake. Returning in time for the changeover, I saw Marco Carola take up his post and instantly felt a peak in energy. My thoughts on Carola and Music On this year have been mixed, however Carola's closing set from El Cierre 2012 was so fantastic that I had faith in the Terrace overlord to pull out something equal to the occasion. He started well, in a dark and funky groove which had everyone on the hop with Ex System's Rocksteady standing out from the pack, later sliding into the soulful ‘mms' of Dan Ghenacia's Acid Walk. An hour or so went by in a comfortable dancing groove during which I spotted Seth Troxler wafting about in a vivid purple wig (not entirely unexpected from him). Things were getting silly and I couldn't wait for Carola to take the music somewhere to match the vibe in the final climactic hours of the afternoon…

… but he didn't quite do it. It pains me to say anything bad about one of my favourite fiestas on the island but Carola just didn't hit the spot for me in the end. His set was enjoyable but lacked the ingenuity and diversity of the year before and never hit the musical nirvana I was waiting for. He played it safe – and I know Carola can do more. Luckily for a Musicous Grumpous like myself, the spirit of Amnesia's Closing Party comes first and foremost from the dance floor, even before the booth, and the party was alive and well there. During Carola's set I passed my notebook around to friends and strangers dancing nearby, to see what people might put into writing. Positive vibes all round…

“Happy! Fly!”

“The best party ever. Lovely music and crowd.”

“We love you” [written backwards, to be discovered by reading through a mirror. Surprisingly complex for the circumstances]

“Thank you for being part of something that inspired me to do the same.”

“Where it started and where it ends - Amnesia.”

“Lots of love from Rio, Brazil.”

“If it's not fun anymore, quit.
If there is no passion, there is no point.
Without curiosity, we cease to matter.
Keep searching.”

The others are in a language I can't understand or partly illegible … but I kind of like that too.

Until next time, Ibiza.

Words by Jordan Smith, Photography by James Chapman.

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