Above & Beyond's 100th Group Therapy Was A Dream Come True
For Above & Beyond’s milestone 100th episode of their radio show Group Therapy, A&B members Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness, and Paavo Siljamaki united trance addicts from around the globe at the infamous Madison Square Garden in New York City. Accompanied by other Anjunabeats stars Mat Zo, Andrew Bayer, and Ilan Bluestone, the trio performed to a sold-out 18,000 person crowd and countless additional Group Therapy fans listening to or watching the official live stream.
Here are some of our favorite moments from ABGT100:
Above & Beyond Showed Its Deeper Side
With Above & Beyond’s deep house label, Anjunadeep becoming more and more prominent, the group kicked off ABGT100 with a special one hour deep set from the studio behind the scenes at Madison Square Garden. The deep tunes continued later in the evening with an after party at Pacha, featuring performances from Lane 8, 16 Bit Lolitas, Beckwith, Dom Donelly, and a surprise back to back set featuring James and Jono Grant.
Ilan Bluestone’s Big Year
Less than a week ago, Above & Beyond mentioned in their Google Hangout Q&A that Ilan Bluestone has "had a banner year." On Saturday night, the London-based producer played hit after hit to kick off the live show. In fact, #UnderMySkin was trending worldwide as Bluestone played a mashup of the #1 trance track produced with Jerome Isma-Ae. Ilan’s mother even made an appearance at ABGT100, with many fans posting online, saying they met and danced with her throughout the evening.
Andrew Bayer’s Return to ABGT
Andrew Bayer delivered an astounding performance at ABGT050 in London last year, and he was gladly welcomed back for an encore performance at this year’s Group Therapy milestone show. All of Madison Square Garden was singing along when he played a mashup of Above & Beyond’s “Alchemy” with Axwell & Sebastian Ingrosso’s “We Come, We Rave, We Love,” early in his performance. Throughout the entire set, Bayer had the entire crowd hooked playing tracks of his own, including “Bullet Catch,” “Need Your Love,” and the unreleased “Superhuman.” As the only U.S. native to perform in ABGT100, Bayer undoubtedly set the bar very high for the rest of the evening.
Mat Zo’s Diverse Set
Shortly after admitting to having ghost mixers produce his radio show for the last few months, Mat Zo came out firing on all cylinders to warm the crowd up with a live performance before Above & Beyond’s set. Opening with one of his more recent tracks, “Get Down 2 Get Up,” Mat Zo set the tone for a funky set. However, he soon began to play songs from the likes of Cirez D and Knife Party, showcasing a range of deep house, progressive house, and trance tunes before ending his electrifying set with a crowd favorite, Kaskade’s mashup of “Something Something Champs.”
Above & Beyond Debuted Their New Single: “We Are All We Need”
Following the announcement of their new album earlier in the week and a public release party for the music video in New York City’s Times Square, the group opened their 100th session of Group Therapy by debuting their album’s title track featuring Zoë Johnston, “We Are All We Need.” The performance included impressive visuals featuring fans’ names fading in and out, similar to the concept of the artwork for the new album, which features a handprint composed of the names of their fans.
Unfurling of the Ribbon
Throughout their musical career Above & Beyond have set out to create a deep, connected relationship with their fans. The ribbons from the Group Therapy album artwork have had an iconic impact on the fans since its release in 2011. As the ribbons themselves are a metaphor of everyone coming together from all strands of life, fans have taken it upon themselves to create custom-made outfits featuring ribbons for Above & Beyond performances around the world. The display of ribbons was incredibly prominent at ABGT100; in fact, one of the most profound moments of the evening took place when a fan unfurled a long Group Therapy ribbon that stretched across the crowd.
Push The Button
It has been a long-lasting tradition for the group to use its hit track “Sun & Moon” to push the button. For those who are unfamiliar with this practice, Above & Beyond invite lucky fans onstage to “push the button” and resume the paused track just before the drop occurs. About halfway through the show, an acapella version of "Sun & Moon" was played over Andrew Bayer’s “Once Lydian” and to our surprise, was not paused for the pushing of the button. Instead, towards the end of the set, the music was paused during one of the group’s newest singles, “Blue Sky Action,” where two lucky fans were able to join vocalist Alex Vargas (who made an appearance onstage during the song) to push the button. By potentially phasing out “Sun & Moon” in favor of “Blue Sky Action” to push the button, it is truly symbolic of the group’s commitment to their new era of music.
Written by Sam Haghgoo