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Review: Cream Ibiza 20th Anniversary at Amnesia, 31st July

Sophie Ellis Bexter loves The Logical Song.. who knew!

What that party really needed was more time. If techno bass lines can roll their way to 9am at Music On and Cocoon, Cream should be allowed to throw a marathon session for its 20th birthday so that I can see Paul Oakenfold and Eric Prydz play for three hours each with time for a hotdog break in the middle. There was a hell of a lot of talent knocking about the Cream DJ booths on Thursday night, the fantastic party only slightly marred by some unavoidable but soul-crushing overlap between two of my heroes.

Paul Oakenfold took to the main room booth at 2am, joined by an unlikely collection of followers including Sophie Ellis Bexter and Tony Pike (spotted together – could they be the new hot couple?). In honour of the occasion he delved into the classics, blowing the dust off his old hits like Madagascar and his updated version of Café del Mar. There was plenty of “no way - this track!” moments, for example how long since you've heard The Logical Song in a superclub? It was a remix of course, with a gruesome bass drop to balance out the sugary bells of the chorus - Sophie Ellis was all over it. We even heard a taste of Darude, Sandstorm – a track so overplayed throughout the years it's almost become taboo. Whilst his tune selection was great fun, it wasn't the most polished set I've ever heard from Oakenfold, but hey… birthdays!!

As much as I was loving Oakenfold, a little part of me died with every minute that passed that I was missing Eric Prydz. I've been a huge fan of the behatted beatsmith since the formative years of my raving career and yet opportunities to see him have proven rare. Eric Prydz taught me electro could be cool, 12 minute tracks are useful and you can produce mainstream commercial hits whilst still playing unbelievable underground electro and progressive techno sets using three turntables (well maybe not you… but he can). So I switched to the terrace for the last 45 minutes and sorely wished I could have had more. Prydz had the terrace crowd in his thrall, weaving layers and layers of delicate synths into something truly epic. The front row was rocking the barrier and arms were hammering the air as Prydz sent is 2012 hit remix Personal Jesus (originally Depeche mode) out into the laser-soaked room. Closing with Every Day, he gave us a clap and half a smile and then was gone – always leaves us wanting more that Prydz!

Feeling a little bummed about his premature finish, I walked back into the main room to find it bouncing to the '99 classic Thrillseekers Synaesthesia, proving once again there's no sore mood a bit of euphoric trance can't heal. Hot on the Thrillseekers heels was Kyau & Albert's Are You Fine, and later we heard the PVD classic Home, which brought a lot of hoarse voices out of the woodworks for five or so raucous minutes. One of my favourite moments of his set was when he threw John O Callaghan's Big Sky at us – possibly taking the wind out of O Callaghans sails, who was to play the closing set, but nevertheless conducting a golden dance floor chorus. Meanwhile, the Amnesia Main Room lighting stooge, Zeles (or Thor, as I like to call him), was having a field day, the many peaks, troughs and aural earthquakes of the trance genre providing him with ample inspiration for the blank canvass that is an unlit club. And Zeles said, “let there be lasers.” And there were so many lasers. And it was Good.

John O Callaghan took the closing set in the main room and dragged us down into the depths of heavy, fast trance, even poking a toe over the psytrance line at times (don't be scared kids, you don't have to be on shrooms to enjoy psy). A favourite of mine was the manic (and ironically titled) Sunday Afternoon by G&M Project, during which I brought the old swirling trance hands out of six-year hibernation and had it large down the front. I absolutely loved hearing the return of such fast tempo'd trance, the only drawback is it's hard to find a dance move that can easily keep time. I settled for a cyber kids inspired double-speed vogueing.

Around half six my limbs started to feel like jelly and I had to begin the wobble home, satisfied with a solid evening of trance raving with a brief terrace interlude. We ended up sharing a cab home with the lighting guy from DC10 – only to remember the next day that we'd left our scooter in the Amnesia car park. Derp.

WORDS | Jordan Smith PHOTOGRAPHY | James Chapman

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