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Ibiza worldwide | ADE special | The Masquerade at AFAS Live

From the Mediterranean to the world stage.

Ibiza's super-clubs are on sabbatical now for winter, but the island's global influence continues elsewhere in the world. During the low season, we bring you club reviews from Ibiza favourites at other party destinations from around the world.

After the Ibiza season finished, the clubbing team could have been forgiven for putting their feet up, but did we do that? Instead, we hightailed it immediately back to the dancefloor.

In autumn/winter 2023-24, we start in the Dutch capital for Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE).

Claptone presents The Masquerade ADE | AFAS Live by Rox Photography

Claptone presents The Masquerade ADE | AFAS live | Friday 20 October

Day three of ADE and the party schedule is really starting to pick up. Tonight's venue, AFAS Live, is a 5,000-capacity arena in the same entertainment hub as Ajax Football Club's home stadium. For context, it's about as close to Amsterdam as the O2 Arena is to central London.

Fortunately, the bumper-to-bumper queue of cars suggests the distance hasn't put fans off.

Down the years, Ajax supporters have been entertained by some magically gifted footballers. To name-check some of the most talented: Dennis Bergkamp, Marco van Basten and three-time Ballon d'Or winner Johann Cruyff, after whom the stadium takes its name.

Tonight, however, the crowds have been drawn to the Zuidoost suburb to marvel in the presence of an altogether different kind of magician. The elusive Claptone is in town for an ADE edition of his masked ball, The Masquerade and we've all been cordially invited.

Claptone presents The Masquerade ADE | AFAS Live by Rox Photography

For a further Ibiza connection, two of Amnesia's Monday night custodians Danny Howard and Sonny Fodera open the show to rapturous scenes. The former handing over to the latter as the crowd swells. Make no mistake, though, nobody is stealing the spotlight from the host.

Earlier in the week, we had been curious onlookers at Felix Meritis where Claptone sat down to talk with Danny Howard. Billed as his first-ever live interview, Claptone used a voicebox to maintain his anonymity.

During the 90-minute session, questions were posed about his age and origin and addressed the rumours there is more than one Claptone. Each answer danced around being straight, raising more questions than confirming any absolutes.

Claptone, the master of avoidance and deflection. Should he ever wish to walk away from dance music, a career in politics might also suit him.

Claptone: First live interview | Felix Meritis by Stephen VB Fotografie

Even the auditorium itself felt very on-brand. Marble columns, entertainers moonlighting as ushers, a transfixed, almost hypnotised audience. Halfway through, we got invited to try some of Claptone's own gin, Spectacle. This was a theatrical production.

All that was missing was the Sock and Buskin hanging from the eaves.

Anybody hoping to learn something new about the mysterious subject might have felt short-changed. This was just another elaborate piece of Claptone showmanship and we, the audience, merely unsuspecting participants in his latest sideshow.

As we walked out of the room, we were handed one final gift: a deck of Claptone playing cards. Had we just been played ourselves?

Claptone presents The Masquerade ADE | AFAS Live by Rox Photography

It feels very much like Claptone is doing to dance music, what The Undertaker did for Pro-American wrestling in the '90s - a supernatural character who's captured the imagination of his audience and has transcended the medium.

Harry Houdini, David Blaine, Derren Brown, Johan Cruyff... The Undertaker - the best entertainers are not meant to be understood but perform purely to be marvelled. Always leave your audience wanting more. At AFAS Live, the always captivating Claptone was doing exactly that.

Merchandise, drink lines, playing cards, comic strips - what's next? A book deal? An animated series? Feature films? The possibilities are endless. In Claptone's world, nothing is impossible.

As for his next trick... well, why ruin the element of surprise? We have our theories, but much better if you pay attention and learn for yourself. What's clear, is nothing will be as it appears.

Claptone presents The Masquerade ADE | AFAS Live by Rox Photography

PHOTOGRAPHY | by Rox Photography and Stephen VB Fotografie

In the interim, we'll bring you more Ibiza worldwide reviews from Amsterdam and beyond over the coming weeks. For a detailed low-down of all our exploits in the Dutch capital, read Lissy Lü takes a trip - the final instalment of this year's dancefloor diary.

For those of you lucky enough to be on Balearic soil, head to our party calendar to cater to your dancing needs.

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