Ibiza is in the middle of a huge debate about the importance of live music, for some it’s the soul of the White Isle for others it’s a noisy nuisance. Live music has played a massive part in the evolution of the island over the last 40 years as this list of 10 Iconic performances clearly shows.
1. Bob Marley & Wailers at the Bull Ring, Ibiza Town – 28 June 1978
Ibiza welcomed a 33 year old Bob Marley at the very height of his popularity, this became the only concert he ever gave in Spain but curiously it wasn’t a full house as many locals still didn’t know who he was and the 1000 pesetas entrance fee was very expensive for the time. A performance that is still talked about to this day especially as 3 years later Marley would be dead from skin cancer aged only 36.
2. Robert Plant at Amnesia – 13 August 1978
After Led Zeppelin’s 1977 world tour, Robert Plant made his first public performance in a spontaneous jam session in Ibiza playing a number of rock and roll classics such as Johnny B Goode with Phil Carson on bass and a local band called the Feelgoods. Robert Plant and Jimmy Page would return to Ibiza in August 1984, performing a set with Phil May and various members of The Pretty Things at Heartbreak Hotel in Port des Torrent, a club run by Carson.
3. Spandau Ballet at Ku – 10 July 1981
As the New Romantic movement started to take over the world Spandau played a one-off gig at Ku as part of a mini European tour to promote their new single. When the band visited the club the night before the gig they found 3,000 fans waiting for them including the new Basque owners, who released a bull in the club to mark the occasion which ended up in the pool. “We couldn’t believe it, I guess it fitted in with the idea of a club where anything could happen.” said Gary Kemp.
4. Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé at Ku – 30 May 1987
After Queen emerged triumphant from Live Aid their lead singer took a major left turn and teamed up with one of his heroines to record an operatic number. The song was performed live for the very first time in Ibiza with footage being used for the extravagant video. The song would go on to become an anthem for a city and the 1992 Olympic Games.
5. Kylie Minogue at Privilege – Summer 1995
In 1994, as the rave scene faded, the legendary Ku re-opened its doors once again but this time re-naming itself as Privilege. As Manumission and Cream changed the clubbing landscape, Privilege also hosted some live performances including Kylie Minogue in summer ’95 (who had reinvented herself with Deconstruction Records) doing her little sexy stuff on a round stage in the middle of the swimming pool. Unbelievably it fell to the the diminutive Australian to put live performances back on the Ibiza map.
6. MTV at Sa Pedrera Quarry, San Antonio – Summer 1999
In the summer of ’99 as the world was gripped by the prospect of a new Millenium, MTV threw a massive party at an old disused quarry in San Antonio with Paul Oakenfold, David Morales, Faithless, Orbital, the Jungle Brothers and Chicane providing the entertainment for the all-night party. Footage from the night subsequently became an hour-long special for the channel showing raving on the White Isle in all it’s sweaty, blissed-out glory. MTV would return to the quarry for a 2-day festival in 2000 but the 2001 edition was moved to Privilege at the 11th hour after San Antonio Town Hall refused to issue a licence due to noise complaints from local residents (sound familiar?).
7. Artic Monkeys at Ibiza Rocks – 01 September 2007
The Ibiza Rocks product was still in its relative infancy when this gig made the world stand up and take notice. The Monkeys were arguably the worlds coolest band in the world when they performed this intimate gig in front of a thousand people with their mates the Reverend and the Makers as support. As the crowd, including Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson, Zane Lowe and Fatboy Slim, looked on a new live music dawn engulfed the White Isle.
8. Lady Gaga at Eden, San Antonio – 24 July 2009
Gaga was at the very top of the tree when it was announced that she would play a one-off promo gig at Eden Nightclub in San Antonio as part of their Wonderland production. Some of the largest queues ever seen in the town saw the club packed to the rafters as her ladyship performed many songs from her debut album. An unforgettable occasion for all those lucky enough to get in.
9. Ibiza 123 Festival with Sting, Elton John, Lenny Kravitz, Labrinth, David Guetta, Fatboy Slim, Tiësto, Tinie Tempah, Steve Angello, Luciano and others – 1/2/3 July 2012
The biggest live music event ever to be staged on the White Isle saw the waste ground next to Cafe Mambo transformed into an amazing venue as promotors ‘Live Nation’ delivered a defining weekend of live music with 3 world superstars as headlining acts. Unfortunately Ibiza’s answer to Glastonbury wasn’t particularly well marketed and met with some local opposition meaning this became a one off event rather than the promised annual occurrence. Ibiza shooting itself in the foot yet again.
10. Avicii at Ushuaia – 28 August 2016
When multi award winning Tim Bergling, better known by his stage name of Avicii, announced his retirement from live shows citing health problems nobody realised that this would in fact be his final ever performance. Tragically one of EDM’s brightest stars took his own life in April 2018, an unbelievably sad end to a glittering career at the age of only 28.