Surreal is the best word to explain night one of Above & Beyond’s three shows at the Shrine Auditorium with special guest Andrew Bayer. The second leg of the Group Therapy tour is kicking off with heavy momentum especially since the trance Gods usually play gigs a few times a years, making the experience of seeing the gents in action worthy of price of admission. When the lights dimmed at 11:30 as Andrew Bayer exited the stage, the atmosphere amongst the crowd completely shifted into an indescribable energy. Within seconds the floor crowded with bodies while unison buildup of high pitched yells and screams (including myself) rose to the ultimate level as Jono and Tony hit the stage. Group Therapy official started.
There were infinite highlights and moments to the opening night of the Group Therapy, the magic hit when Above & Beyond started dropping tracks off Group Therapy. When “On My Way To Heaven,” featuring Richard Bedford (Club Mix) dropped my own excitement built up to maximal level that I couldn’t help but scream as the words blasted through the speakers “You always laugh when I cry, I’m always looking to tomorrow as you mourn the days gone by,” the energy raging throughout the crowd can’t be explained in literal terms, it felt quite beautiful to be apart of, indeed. The momentum of the set didn’t end especially when “You Got to Go,” featuring Zoe Johnston played as A&B wrote an inspiration message across the screen: “dreams really do come true.” When “A Thing Called Love,” featuring Richard Bedford played the entire venue started singing in unison which created the biggest smile across Jono and Tony’s faces which was a defining moment. To see Above & Beyond in action is an amazing treat, it’s an experience the entire trance community should have because the love floating throughout that venue created goose bumps on my arms. I’ve never been that amazed by a group, the genuine talent the gents of A&B possess during live shows demonstrates the impact of their growing success. Nothing can compare to the final 30 minutes of the show especially when “Sun & Moon,” featuring Richard Bedford (Club Mix) dropped. Wow! Just recapping on the moment sends chills down my spine. Once that bassline drops and the beat kicked, the venue yelled with happiness. Hands were flying in the arms, girls were twirling in circles, and people were allowing the music to do its job. I, in particular, regained new energy as a tear fell from my eye because it took six years—six years—to finally see Above & Beyond in action. Considering “Sun & Moon” is one my favorite tracks produced by the gents, an overwhelming sensation of emotions hit and I completely lost myself in the music, dancing to the beat in my own world. It didn’t end there. A track I didn’t expect to hear, I ended up hearing, “No One on Earth.” As the crowd and I lifted our hands singing the lyrics “take me home with you, no one on Earth, know me like you do,” and the dropped kicked in, a sea of people started jumping. The best, best, best, best moment of the night. Hearing that track instantly took me back to my teen years in high school, when I listened to “No One on Earth,” religiously day and night, visualizing how I would act when I would hear this track live. Thursday night ended up being that night.
The bittersweet moment hit as Above and Beyond played OceanLab’s beautiful track “On a Good Day” (Acoustic Mix) because as the song faded out, the show ended, the closing chapter to a surreal night that I continue to replay in my thoughts. If this didn’t capture your attention yet, Thursday’s show wasn’t enough. I didn’t retain the right dosage of Above & Beyond to sustain my sanity for the months to come, so, I decided to buy tickets for Saturday night. But May 17 will be a day that I will never forget.