Fantazia @ Eclipse - April 1991 - Review
I had been to a few illegal raves with some mates, but never really got into the experience, probably as I’d never taken anything and they seemed to consist just of strobe light in a very dark warehouse. To be honest it was not a little scary on occasions, but I think that was my paranoia of getting left behind (which I had been before).
Then a girl I worked with said about going to a dance party in Coventry at a place called the Eclipse. The night was called Fantazia and was run by some guys from our home town of Cheltenham who put on a weekly dance night that we all liked to go to now and again. It was there first party as Fantazia.
I drove both of us up and after getting lost for ages eventually found the place after asking a number of suitable rave looking people where to go. First reactions from the outside were mixed with excitement and trepidation, I cant remember there being a queue as it was quite late by this point. Once in the entrance hall we found our selves surrounded by 5-6 of the most massive black security guards I’d ever seen. A little intimidating when your only 18 and from a safe little middle class town. They looked prepared for trouble, but I never saw any all night.
You could hear the music pumping from through some doors and amazing vibrations through the walls.
We went up stairs first and looked down, it all looked amazing, with lasers and lights and loads of dry ice. The place was packed. There was constant banter from an MC, geeing the crowd on. This was more like it. I know people talk about how great the free parties were, but they had nothing on this. We quickly got pointed in the direction of some one by the stairwell and nervously parted with some money for a pill each (cant remember how much they were - does £10 sound to cheap?). Didn’t examine it to see what sort it was, lol, was way to nervous about being caught with it.
The rest of the night is a little dreamy, but wow what an experience. Everyone was so friendly and the music was brilliant, I couldn’t/still cant focus enough to pick out any particular tune, DJ or MC. I remember dancing on the ground floor for ages on one of the many dance podiums. People who I’d never met just turning around smiling and sharing chewing gum and drinks. There were gorgeous girls who I’d never dream of talking to normally rubbing vicks into the back of your neck, head and temples in a really sensual way - and the tingly rush was sensational. None of it was sexual (it couldn't have been, no one mentioned at the strange effect E had down below, lol).
Everyone was dancing around in an amazing way, waving their arms in an intricate patterns and jumping up and down rhythmically in tune to the beat. It was hypnotic and contagious, and you just had to join in and make your own patterns, and create your own style. I laugh now thinking perhaps how daft we may have looked, but I am sure we didn’t at the time. And I was convinced that I was amazing, lol, E for you!
The end of the night seemed to arrive all of a sudden and the lights came up and we both thought, wow where had all the time gone. We walked out of the Eclipse and the sun was up, the surroundings were deserted and my jaw ached like anything from all the chewing. In the daylight the whole area looked a right shit hole though, proper concrete jungle, not a plant or greenery in sight. Perfect for a very loud, massive club.
Fantazia was a brilliant night, perhaps helped by being my first E experience, but also because, of the décor, lights, lasers, Djs, Mcs and the party people. For me, I can say, a Legend truly was born…..I missed very few of there parties from then on…..
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