All roads lead to San Antonio tonight as Ibiza Rocks steps back in time to the halcyon days of the ‘90s when dance music first took over the charts and Madchester ruled the world. At the height of their powers The Happy Mondays were omnipresent, touching music lovers around the world with down to earth, catchy club tunes that crossed over into the mainstream. As we arrive at Ibiza Rocks Hotel there are rumours of discord amongst the band members and tales of early finishes at Mallorca Rocks the night before. Whichever way it lands, tonight is going to be a night to remember.
The Ibiza Rocks Hotel is buzzing, the anticipation of seeing the band 22 years to the day after their last visit to the island has captured the imagination of those who were about to see it last time round and those who’s acute understanding of the music scene allows them to appreciate what has come before them. The main area in front of the stage is packed, the VIP balcony is attempting to break some kind of people sandwiching world record, remember the good old days of the stand-alone pressroom?
Reverend And The Makers are the support band and could easily be headlining in their own right but their addition to tonight’s line up makes it a stand out of the summer so far. Jon McClure controls the huge crowd effortlessly as they run through their numerous hits; the normally outspoken front man is somewhat subdued tonight as they play the warm up role perfectly. Reverend And The Makers is as tight a band as we have seen at Ibiza Rocks in the past couple of years.
In the calm before the storm, the DJ drops some classic house, taking us back to the ‘90s in anticipation of what is about to happen. As massive Happy Mondays fans we are only too aware that the gig can go one of two ways and with the rumours of a burst up within the band scuppering the usual pre-gig photo shoot, we are not too confident. The DJ stops the music and the MC announces that The Happy Mondays are on their way to the stage. The massive crowd lets out a huge roar of anticipation, which is magnified when Bez appears on stage, announces that tonight marks the official return to the island 22 years after the last visit and then proceeds to introduce the band, who kick proceedings off with a perfect rendition of ‘Loose Fit’.
Sean Ryder is in great form, joking with the rest of the band, engaging the crowd and flirting with Rowena, any concerns that were held previously disappear as they launch into a set crammed full of their numerous massive hits. Albums ‘Bummed’ and ‘Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches’ are well represented with the biggest cheers reserved for ‘Hallelujah’, ‘Wrote For Luck’ and ‘Kinky Afro’, which they dedicate to Paul Oakenfold, inside joke I presume. The crowd are engaged from start to finish, the VIP balcony is rocking, the in-colour for this evening is nostalgia and everyone is wearing it. Sean thanks us all before marching off stage to rapturous applause and before the applause has died down the opening bars of ‘Step On’ begin and the atmosphere kicks up a few notches, resulting in the whole place bouncing in time to the music. If there were any thoughts as to the relevance of this booking, they are long gone, Ibiza Rocks Hotel is shaking to its foundations as melons are twisted and cops are called!
The crowd are cheering and applauding long after the band has disappeared form stage, after delivering a masterclass in live entertainment. It might be twenty odd years since they first made a huge impact on the global music scene and amidst talks of disharmony between the members one thing is irrefutable, The Happy Mondays rock! As Sean Ryder heads to the official after party at Pikes Hotel we are invited to join the rest of the band at a secret villa after party, so without any further adieu we leave you to peruse our review while we fix our kinky afro and get our freaky dancing on!