Queues stretched both ways down the Playa d'en Bossa strip from the moment doors opened on Tuesday night, as Ibiza roused itself for the grand finale of Cox's residency. Outside, ticket touts preyed on people's fears of not getting in, offering entrance for €150. (The actual door price, €55, was reasonable considering the occasion—entry to Space's closing party next week will cost nearly double that.) Cox played all night in the Discoteca, Space's vast main room, starting at 11 PM and finishing up nine hours later. By the time I got there, just after midnight, the place was already swarming with bodies, to the extent that you couldn't so much dance as bob about in the melee. A remix of Stardust's "Music Sounds Better With You" was sharpening into focus, the first of many classics Cox would roll out across the night.
Despite the crush, which at times extended across every inch of the club, the atmosphere was warm and exuberant. Because this is the thing: buried beneath all the branding and profit-driving is Carl Cox himself, a one-of-a-kind entertainer with an extraordinary ability to make people happy. He radiates love and goodwill, not only through the music he plays, but also by smiling or getting on the mic or doing one of his signature jigs in the booth. I found myself grinning uncontrollably several times on Tuesday night, intoxicated by his feel-good aura. There can't be many industries where the man at the top is so universally adored—everyone, even the most die-hard purist, has a soft spot for Cox.
This intimate relationship with Space and its patrons means Cox can get away with anything. Between 2 and 5 AM, he was in tech house banger mode, dropping tracks with epic breakdowns and oversized drops. It's not music I'd usually listen to, but in the moment, with the lights and the canons and the cries of "Oh yes, Oh yes," it made total sense. Even hits like Ninetoes' "Finder," a slightly cheesy smash from summer 2014, sounded great.
A little after 6 AM, Cox got on the mic and delivered a wordy, heartfelt speech, thanking everyone from Space's cleaning staff to Phil the visuals guy. Then out poured the classics, starting with old favourites like Slam's remix of Jack Master's "Bang The Box," Deetron's "Photon" and a house remix of Stevie Wonder's "As." As 8 AM loomed, the crowd began treating every new track as the potential last. People wailed along to Joe Smooth's "Promised Land," and raised both arms aloft for Ce Ce Rogers' "Someday," which, if you don't count the ten-second outro of The Doors' "The End," was Cox's final song. The moments that followed were fleeting but full of emotion: Cox hugged friends and colleagues with one arm, while waving and blowing kisses to the crowd with the other. Down below, thousands of his most ardent followers stamped their feet and roared their goodbyes, struggling to process that it was, in fact, all over.
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