above-and-beyond-01

After the devastating report of Above & Beyond’s show cancellation at UMass Amherst, the only remaining consolation was to immediately purchase a ticket to the Connecticut show at Foxwood’s club, The Shrine. Molly took Electric Zoo away from me; no way I was letting Above & Beyond slip through my fingers.

I work in corporate, but am not a coffee drinker; I know, shocking. Instead, every morning I sit in my cubicle and envelop myself in the scintillating, revitalizing euphony that is Group Therapy by A&B. Starting my day off right was habit, but having the opportunity to close my eyes, throw back my head and lose myself in the ethereal trance of A&B’s music to end my day was going to be privilege – so I thought.

a&bDon’t get me wrong, the show shattered all expectations, but it was less trance and more it’s-going-to-be-a-rough-morning-tomorrow ragers. The relatively smaller venue allowed me easy access to the front row to watch 2/3 of the group – masterminds Paavo Siljamäki and Jono Grant (where was Tony McGuinness?) – conduct the crowd into a full night of synchronized anarchy. The set was well balanced. Weaved into A&B sing-along classics such as “Thing Called Love” and “Alchemy” were a menagerie of dance favorites such as Daft Punk’s “One More Time” and Andrew Bayer’s “Need Your Love” sprinkled with shout outs to Audien and W.W.

At one point, in a mental tug-of-war between ogling over Paavo’s dorky, yet overwhelmingly charming demeanor and being mesmerized by time-lapsed footage of a blooming dandelion, something happened. An instant cooling sensation, engulfment in dense, pitch-white smoke, and an odd feeling of solidarity, I thought I was swimming through a blanket of clouds. Everyone emerged through the fog euphoric.

a&b2A&B do a lot of things right, but they do two things in particular epically: communication and confetti. Their signature onscreen messaging adds additional stimuli, never failing to wield the crowd in a rollercoaster of emotions – from stilled pensiveness to an apogee of exhilaration. “Close your eyes, open your minds,” the words appeared. “It’s our time. We are the electronic music generation,” they said, catalyzing a roar of agreement. And just as the crowd was pouring out its heart singing “On a Good Day,” an overwhelming sigh of white confetti subsumed the air, creating a breathtaking sense of hushed awe and a perfect draw to a close. It’s small moments like these…

Bravo. Until we meet again: Lights All Night.