Above & Beyond have always been a uniting force. Their shows manage to bring together total strangers, like few others, in warm embraces, dancing and even tears. So it would only make sense that they pay homage to their uniting spirit with their new album Common Ground. They made sure to continue that spirit on their current tour for the album and brought it to one of their biggest venues yet for a solo show yet, Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The night got under way with Yotto, who attempted to fill the arena with his melodic brand of deep house. It was the right opener music from an Anjuna family favorite, but all the same it was odd seeing him stoically mixing for an hour with music clearly not designed for the space.
Next up was the superhuman Andrew Bayer, who was decidedly more energetic with his set, blasting out bursts of Anjunabeats electro-trance with soaring melodies. As one of the best pure producers on the label, hearing songs like his collaborations with Arty & ilan Bluestone, his remix for Push “Strange World” and “Superhuman” on a large system amplified their impact.
However once 10 p.m. rolled around, it was time for the main event. The arena was quite full even for Yotto and close to 75-80% there for Bayer, but by the time Above & Beyond hit the stage, you would have had a hard time finding an empty seat around the venue. With people packing staircases to get as close as possible, the place looked like it was overflowing with people in a sea of waving arms and swaying bodies.
With a new album not even 48 hours old, the group did not hesitate to dive right into their freshly released material. There were a few selections from those on the label, but this was a night for Above & Beyond and they took it.
The peak moments came early and often with back to back plays of “Northern Soul” and “Naked,” who seem like early contenders for the live anthems from the new album and potential push the button songs.
Jono and Tony took turns selecting songs and cheering on the crowd, occasionally putting messages on the screen behind them of love and unity. As big drops kicked in for some unreleased songs and club mixes, lasers would fire, pyro would go off, and lights would flash around the arena.
Four albums in (six if you count the acoustic records) and the trio (pair on the night) have not lost a step. Common Ground is their best album since Group therapy and it made sense they would cap off the night with two songs from that seminal record. “Sun & Moon” was reprised for a push the button moment and the always poignant and emotional club mix of “Thing Called Love” helped cap off the night. As the clock turned towards midnight, the pair finished the show with the soft “Always” from Common Ground as the breathless evening finally came to a close – together as one.