Saying Goodbye to Nation
“We’ll never see a club quite like this again, and in the interests of evolution and progress we probably don’t need one. But for one more time Nation was again the hot ticket, the ultimate Saturday night.”
Everyone has their first club they fall in love with. My first experience happened in with a hatrick of dalliances at lost Midlands club Mezzanine, and I even squeezed an appearance at Godskitchen which was an overall favourite during my two year love affair with trance and hard dance right at the start of my raving career. But no club gripped me quite like Cream did the first few times I spent there, as I arrived in Liverpool as a wide eyed teenager in Autumn 2000.
It was a weird time to be going to the club. Although those first few Saturdays spent in there in 2000 and early 2001 were mesmerising, the club’s music policy had moved away from the thunderous trance of recent times for a more progressive template, and it was starting to lose its lustre. I can remember working a shift with someone at my part time job who had poured scorn on me for going, saying “everyone in Liverpool got bored of necking tablets at Nation years ago” (newsflash, I don’t think people will ever get bored of necking anything in this city). But that first year of going it was still regularly packed, and fucking amazing week after week.
Cream’s drop off coincided with my own shifting musical tastes, and slowly the nights at Bugged Out! were more appealing. That said I was still proper shocked when it shut, this seemingly impregnable fortress of party time suddenly shutting despite me seeing a packed courtyard go nuts to a lengthy Mauro Picotto set only a few weeks before the announcement. the news was everywhere, across uni it was all a lot of people were talking about, either smirking indie wankers or die hard ravers. Little did they both know they’d be raving together within a year once the 2ManyDJs effect took a hold…
Saturday 17th October I got to relive that magic (read my Skiddle review of the Cream finale event), and it was literally amazing. The venue was the same sweaty, creaky and dark warehouse it always was, once again bossed by supreme sound, fantastic DJs and a superb crowd, albeit one that was well older than it was back in the day. Seb Fontaine stole the show for me, but listening to Paul Oakenfold crank out the classics was still utterly joyous, and the whole thing was pretty much perfect start to finish.
As sad as it made me, and even more so looking back these past few days, Saturday was a really special and lucky thing for everyone involved. My love affair with Cream was one of a few truly special life affirming moments in dance music, from the way electroclash tore the rulebook up a few years later to being part of a partying family around my own small clubnight a few years later. I’ve tasted Balearic heaven a few times and overseas raves too, but very few of these are things that can ever be repeated, particularly with enough of the people that made it special – my own personal friends form the Cream era were sadly not there at the weekend.
But so many people got the chance to relive an experience so special just one more time. They’ve got another bite of the cherry on Boxing Day as well. Just like clubs like Cream don’t come along that often in our lifetime, neither too do these gilt edged gifts. Everyone grows up and moves on but these fleeting opportunities need to be grasped; I’m just glad I got the chance again.