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Cocoon Ibiza comes home

An emotional return to Amnesia, naturally followed by an after party.

Royal coronations, lunar landings and presidential scandals - some events demand you stay up late for. Add Cocoon's homecoming to Amnesia to that list.

Wanting to savour as much of this momentous occasion as possible, on 27 May we headed over to San Rafael soon after the doors opened.

The homecoming

Even on the approach to the venue, we had a feeling in the pit of our stomach. Butterflies. It felt so poignant. The split had only been a year - six months if you only count the summer period - but it felt like an eternity. Cocoon back at Amnesia for 2019 - it's a big deal.

Already Dorian Paic was working the early crowd that had gathered inside. Clearly, we were not the only ones who had made an early pilgrimage for the occasion.

Upon entering the Terrace we were surprised to find Gerd Janson was playing a little techier than usual. However, it wasn't long before he found his way to that funky nu-disco sound.

The other thing that instantly stood out was the glowing animatronic jellyfish hanging from the ceiling. A throwback to the 11th or 12th season, they appeared very lifelike as their tentacles retracted in-and-out. Just like the real thing, their elegance was seductively alluring.

Across in the Club Room, husband and wife duo Adam Beyer & Ida Engberg were playing their second back-to-back in the space of four days.

Thankfully, they kept things fresh by playing a different set to the one we witnessed at Dalt Vila.

With Sven Väth schedule to play at 03:00, we headed back to the Terrace in time to catch Gerd sign off on a track he recently signed to his own Running Back label.

Seemingly most of the venue emptied into the Terrace to catch the prodigal return.

Did it appear as though the pressure of such a high-profile U-turn got to Sven? As if.

Papa Sven seemed to revel in his redemption. After a temporary blip, order has been restored to the universe.

Making another detour to the Club Room to see how that was faring, we found another Cocoon favourite Ilario Alicante ramping up the tempo.

Oscar L's Monster Tube - a big track of his from 2018 - got a welcomed outing, along with this bold production from Adrian Hour.

We couldn't help but gravitate back to Sven on the terrace. Needless to say, the music hit all the right spots. One particular mix saw Johannes Volk's Nevergreen blend seamlessly with Adana Twin's remix of Roar - giving a warm feeling inside.

And still the tunes kept coming.

How much did Amnesia's new sound system upgrade on the Terrace play a part in Cocoon's return? If not a dealbreaker, it undoubtedly made the comeback all the sweeter. That crisp finish would appeal to his meticulous obsession, ever the audiophile.

Reinvigorated, Cocoon at Amnesia felt ripe. Like all relationships, sometimes time apart makes you realise how you took things for granted. The break seems to have allowed both parties to do some soul-searching.

Compatibility isn't about perfection, but a willingness to work on areas that need improving whilst being grateful for what you have. It's a shame we have to wait another two weeks for the next one. With nine dates left this summer, we intend to make the most of this reconciliation.

An afters at Benimussa Park certainly helped to quell those cravings, at least a little...

Spanish Lullaby

“Dancing is a gift.” - Sven Väth

Cocoon didn't invent the after party - it has existed as long as the party has. It merely perfected them. Ain't no after party like a Cocoon after party.

As Cocoon had made the unusual step of announcing the Benimussa leg several days in advance, we had known we were carrying on the day after. Not content with having already played twice since Saturday, Sven dedicated himself to an all-day-long set on Tuesday afternoon.

True to his word, the 55-year-old was ready and waiting at gates open. Few contemporaries can match his unflagging commitment to the party. With the final moments of sunlight, we all sensed a primal change was coming.

Sven was clearly in a playful mood, as was the crowd. One gentleman, regressing into childlike wonder, went for a spin on a mad hatter's ride. Underestimating his own velocity, he spun himself all the way to ground.

Fortunately, instead of broken bones, he only served to amuse himself further, bursting into a fit of self-deprecating laughter. It fit the vibe of the evening. Isolated high jinx aside, the crowds' character was positively altruistic.

Strangers embracing, dancing together and moving as one - the whole vibe was just so typically Cocoon. Friendly, engaging and seriously up for it, we expected nothing less.

After playing several of new remixes on Saturday and Monday, Sven plucked out the original for a bit of nostalgia.

Seemingly fading the night out with Roman Flügel's twinkly Theme VIII, Sven couldn't help but drop guilty pleasure La Isla Bonita as the exclamation point to an immersive 24 hours on Ibiza.

Scenes on the dance floor quickly ensued and a wave of love spread over us.

Ever since it got aired at the Grand Closing in 2017, the track has become an unlikely party anthem. Listening to the lyrics, no matter how cheesy, we can say it definitely ticks all the boxes in being a fitting tribute to the island we love so much.

Tropical the island breeze, all of nature wild and free.
This is where I long to be,
La isla bonita

And when the samba played, the sun would set so high.
Ring through my ears and sting my eyes.
Your Spanish lullaby

It would seem this was a false flag finish, as Sven took to the mic:
"If you want to make a little note or whatever, I'm going to play now downstairs."

And as easily as that, we were sucked down the rabbit hole to continue the adventure...

Disappearing down the rabbit hole

As the crowds from outside drove indoors, Cesar Vinzent was already deep into the groove. Chuggy tracks fit the low ceiling and subterranean-like feel.

Before long, Sven appeared over Cesar's shoulder, drawing whoops from the floor.

We felt a little sympathetic to Cesar that his set was usurped. But this is Sven's party and his appetite to continue playing was plain for all to see.

Never did we think that there was a genuine possibility that he would play inside after outdoors had finished. In one of those "I was there" moments, Papa's passion and desire to play music spilt out of him, creating a truly magical Ibiza memory.

The exclusivity of this small, underground room only added to the state of reverie. As much as Cocoon's return to Amnesia is widely welcomed, these spontaneous and intimate segments are what has turned the 20-year history into the stuff of legend.

How many more after parties - both official and unofficial - will we be treated to over the next four months, who can say? All we know is that between them and the Cocoon faithful, Sven and Johannes will cast the fabled 20th season into the island's folklore.

We haven't just been dancing non-stop since the curtain raiser at Ushuaïa on Saturday, we've been dancin' together since ‘99. Long may the love-affair continue. Forza Cocoon.

There exists a section of the Cocoon fan base - ourselves included - that don't consider 2018's Pacha experiment to be as disastrous as other critics. Yet something wasn't quite right.

Fom their comments at IMS, it's clear that Sven and head promoter Johannes Goller are all too aware that some of the magic was absent last year. After experiencing three parties in four days, we have to admit 2019 is a return to form.

As ever, one of the biggest positives of Cocoon's identity was its endearing underground soundtrack. Once again we eloped with Sven and co's impeccable taste in music.

One of our most popular Spotify playlists last year, our dedicated Cocoon channel is back. Absorb yourself below:

To keep things 100% authentic, only music we've identified at Cocoon events has been and will get added - as with all of our party and venue playlists.

The next confirmed Cocoon party is Monday 10 June - and it's a pretty big one. Solomun joins Sven on the terrace, while Charlotte de Witte makes her party debut alongside ROD and Gregor Tresher live in the Club Room. Bag those tickets underneath.

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