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Fantazia Return of a Legend

G-Mex Centre, 31st October 1997, Manchester.  12,000 people


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"After the heady days of rave, many thought the era of one nation under one roof was long gone.  1997 proved everyone wrong with a series of packed one-off parties incorporating house, drum n'bass and underground garage.   Clubbers flocked in their thousands to Fantazia....... the boys are back in town...." Mixmag

A Rave Review

Twelve hours in club? That isn't so much a night out as a short break!! NickyV was there, in the thick of the action, reporting fearlessly for Scrapie on what may go down as THE night of the year.

I'm not a raver. I'm too young really, the original raves, held in Warehouses and fields and all that malarkey were kicking off when I was still wearing chequered dresses to primary school. However, although I wasn't - The Fantazia organisation were there at the forefront of the whole 'scene' when the order of the day was smiley faces, white gloves, speed, and Adidas. The world has changed, and to both its and our enormous benefit, Fantazia has changed with it.

So then, in a set-up so radically different from the early days how has Fantazia managed to survive as a force to be reckoned with? Well, they entered a sponsorship deal with Lynx, (causing the inevitable sell-out criticisms), and started putting birds with their tits out on their CD boxes. Whether it was these sexist images or the fact that they were rammed with TUUUUNES, they still sell by the bucket-load. So they had the old image and the capital to put together something really huge. (Mind you though, the ticket-price was what you'd expect to pay on New Year's Eve rather than just a random Friday night, but this didn't seem to deter anyone as touts were selling 2 for £75 when we arrived.)

On the basis that not even Superman can dance for a full twelve hours we decided to take the late-shift and arrived at about midnight. After an hour of standing in the harsh Manchester chilliness, we were tempted to sack it off and go home, but it was the hypnotic bass coming from inside which kept me in the queue. So the mood of our party, when we finally managed to get in, was very much "f*!% it -we've queued for this long if it's s*** we'll just go home". Not altogether conducive to the best night out.

However, having got in we were immediately subject to a sensory assault which pushed these niggles from our minds as we went to explore. The G-Mex itself is massive - It looks like a kind of aircraft hangar (it's actually a converted station - but I've never seen a train that would need that much headroom!!) It was decorated like a circus big top, with huge brightly coloured swathes of material draped from the ceiling. A huge TV screen had images projected onto it throughout the night, (some a little bit cheesy and predictable) and which also doubled up as an information board, announcing the DJs as they came and went. But enough on the interior decorations - I don't think that the majority of the people in there were really there for the view. (oh good, I wondered when the music would get a mention - Music Ed)


Basically, what made it such a mega night for me was purely the standard of the music, which gave the crowd something to really get excited about and was therefore fundamental in creating the wicked atmosphere. I don't want to go into too much detail about every DJ and their set, but here are some of the highlight for me, CJ Boland on the main stage played a predictable greatest-hits kind of set, but then again why the f*!& not if your greatest hits are as great as his? In fact, when he played his most famous tune "The Prophet" all 12,000 people in the room were dancing hard and fast and going absolutely mental. He was followed by Carl Cox, without a doubt the best-three deck mixer in the country, fresh from playing Oxford Ice-rink earlier in the evening. Carl Cox's set was proof that he is mega, and that all that whinging about radio DJ's and their ability to mix DOES NOT APPLY. (I think Pete Tong gives them all bad name.)

For me, though, and I know it's a cliché and a half, but the V.I.P room was the one which, for me really kicked ass. What was on display in there was simply the finest funky house and garage I think I have ever heard. I NEED to be V.I.P more often!!! (OK Vinton, I get the hint! -Music Ed). Still V.I.P or not, there were certainly more V.F.Ps (very f***ed people) staggering with me into the greyness of the Manchester morning. And d'you know what? I would have done it all again. What a night! 25/10.   NickyV

Event CDs

Main Stage Stage 2 - Garage Nation Chemical Lab
  1. Carl Cox
  2. Allister Whitehead
  3. Luv Dup
  4. Taul Paul
  5. Mike Cosford
  6. Jeremy Healy
  7. Phil Chillum
  8. Paul Van Dyk
  1. Lisa Unique
  2. Dream Team - Mikee B
  3. Dream Team - Timmi Magic
  4. Jason Kaye
  5. Ramzi + Fenn
  6. Mike "Ruffcut" Lloyd
  7. Andy Jay
  1. Cut La Roc
  2. Johnny Moy part 1
  3. Johnny Moy part 2
  4. Freestylers
  5. Dan & Jon Kahuna Burger
  6. Hard Knox

To buy click here


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