Above & Beyond - The Shrine Auditorium - 5/18/12
Matt Oliver OC Weekly
Insomniac events brought their enhanced concert series to the Shrine Auditorium for three nights of trance family magic by UK group Above & Beyond who are currently touring on their second full-length album Group Therapy. The excitement and anticipation was felt by everyone as fans of all ages filled the venue and swarmed the dance floor. At one point, you couldn't go ten feet without seeing a Group Therapy t-shirt or an Anjunabeats logo.
Fellow Anjunabeats label mate Andrew Bayer opened with a 90-minute set filled with progressive house, trance, techno and electro. Playing lots of tracks from his 2011 album It's Artificial , Bayer did a solid job at warming up the crowd for what was one of the most magical Above & Beyond performances ever. When he played "Keep Your Secrets" the crowd went wild with excitement jumping, singing along and dancing the night away.
When Jono Grant and Tony McGuinness took the stage they brought an amazing array of production elements including lasers that resembled the ribbons on the cover of Group Therapy. Above & Beyond really did an amazing job of turning the DJ booth into a full production filled with emotive visuals and live video messaging from the band. They played plenty of their old songs like "Home" and "Far From in Love" for their die hard trance family fans.
Their two-and-a-half hour set was a magical music journey which also included "Sun & Moon," "Prelude" and a "Thing Called Love." It felt as if Above & Beyond was speaking directly to you as they thoughtfully picked their next move. During the show, McGuinness shared his strategy (or lack their of) when it comes to entertaining. "The audience is completely spontaneous so I try to be spontaneous," says McGuinness. "Its a living breathing thing. This thing runs on emotions."
The living, breathing, beautiful "thing" he speaks of was a set that kept the crowd moving, singing along and screaming in delight as confetti blanketed the dance floor. Our favorite tracks included Porter Robinson's "Language," a Depeche Mode remix, and their remix of Kaskade's "Room for Happiness." The group ended their beautiful performance appropriately with the fresh, galloping rhythms of "On a Good Day" in the early morning hours.
Personal Bias: I would have loved to hear "Satellite" or anything from the Tri-State album, but was still thoroughly satisfied with all their song selections.
The Crowd: The crowd was just as amazing as the show with lots of PLUR (peace, love, unity and respect) trance family fans including lots of youngins'.
Overheard in the Crowd: I can't even begin to explain how many times I heard "That was the best experience of my life!" I remember feeling the exact same thing the first time I saw them at EDC.